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Marisa Debowsky, Canada/USA Mathcamp's Executive Director, describes the Mathcamp summer program for high school math students.
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Facilitator: Marisa Debowsky
Hello and welcome to the Canada/USA Mathcamp Math Jam!
Canada/USA Mathcamp is an intensive five-week-long summer program for high-school students interested in mathematics, designed to expose students to the beauty of advanced mathematical ideas and to new ways of thinking. You can learn more about Canada/USA Mathcamp at http://www.mathcamp.org.
In this Math Jam, Canada/USA Mathcamp staff will lead a discussion about their outstanding program. Many AoPS instructors, assistants, and students are alumni of Mathcamp, including me! (I went to Mathcamp three times, from 2007 to 2009 )
For the moment, please hold your questions – they'll let you know when you can start asking questions. Also, due to the number of people attending tonight, they may not be able to get to every question.
And now let me introduce our guests!
Marisa Debowsky (MarisaD) is the Executive Director of Mathcamp. She's been teaching Topological Graph Theory and singing pop songs at Mathcamp every summer since 2006.
Kevin Carde (KevinCarde) is the Assistant Director and CTO of Mathcamp. He's been teaching Algebraic Combinatorics and playing piano at Mathcamp every summer since 2011.
I'll turn the room over to Marisa now!
Hi, everybody, and welcome to the annual Mathcamp Q&A! Thanks as always to @LauraZed, @rrusczyk, and the AoPS team for hosting us.
Kevin and I are here to talk about Mathcamp 2019, both the program and the application process. (You've got a captive audience with admissions officers, so this is a great chance to get ready for application season.)
First, I'll say in a few short sentences what Mathcamp is. Then we'll spend about 30 minutes discussing the program, and 30 minutes discussing the application process, and then we'll wrap up around 9pm ET.
So, Mathcamp: it's a 5-week residential math summer program. This year, it runs Sunday, June 23rd through Sunday, July 28th, and takes place at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
Really really frequently asked questions, to get them out of the way:
Who comes to Mathcamp? We have 120 students per year, from all over the world. It's about 65-75 new campers and 45-55 returning alumni per year. The last few years have been 40 - 45% girls, 55 - 60% boys, with a few non-binary students.
What kind of math? Seriously, all kinds. A cool thing about Mathcamp is that our course catalog has about 150 classes per summer, and you have complete freedom to design your own curriculum.
What else happens? During the evenings and on the weekends, there are a zillion (ish) activities happening, and you choose how to spend your time.
That flexibility and creativity -- academic and nonacademic -- are the defining characteristics of Mathcamp.
How do I get in? Admission is competitive. (We expect to admit 10 - 15% of the applicants.) The two main ingredients are the Qualifying Quiz and your personal essay. You'll also submit recommendation letters and some short answers about your math background. For more info, see https://www.mathcamp.org/quiz/ and https://www.mathcamp.org/essay/ .
When do I apply? The deadline to apply is a few weeks away: March 15th, 2019. (All applications received by the deadline get equal consideration, so there's no advantage to applying early.)
Scholarships? Yes! Every student (US, Canadian, & International; new and returning) is eligible for financial aid, and we have a large scholarship budget: everybody who needs financial aid will receive it. About 25% of our students receive full scholarships, and we can even buy you a plane ticket.
Okay, I think it's time for me to stop monologuing: we want to get to as many of your questions as possible.
Kevin and I would like to meet *you* along with your question (we talk to students and families a lot by email, and this is a chance for us to talk with you in realtime!), so here's a suggested format:
Name / Age / Location: Question
Travis / 15 / Newport: Do we celebrate birthdays during Mathcamp?
Joan / Parent / Minnesota: Where can we mail care packages?
(But that format is not mandatory - in keeping with the spirit of Mathcamp, just about everything is optional, and we'll do our best to answer your questions in any format.)
Okay, ready? Let's spend about 7:35 - 8:15 on questions about the program itself: mathematical and residential life at Mathcamp; the people; the campus; the "during" and "after" of Mathcamp. (And then we'll switch over to discussing the "before": the application process and financial aid.)
Shreyas / 13 / Virginia: Where is this year's Mathcamp?
It's at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.
his high school only?
Sofia/12/US: is coming 7th grader acceptable?
It's both middle and high school! The eligibility criterion is about age, not grade in school: students ages 13 - 18 are eligible to apply. (If you're 12 or 19 but have very special circumstances, talk to us about exceptions.)
will there be food supplyed?
Yes! The program is residential, and we live in the dorms at Lewis & Clark and have our meals in the college dining hall.
Bradley/14/Mexico: do the dorms have AC?
No, but we'll provide a fan for each dorm room. (And the weather in Oregon is pretty great over the summers.)
no they have fans im pretty sure
Daniel/15/Washington: Are there field trips? If so can you give an estimate of how frequent they are?
Yes! We take campers on field trips every weekend. Mathcamp's "week" is Tuesday through Saturday, so field trips run on Sundays and Mondays.
Bohyun/14/Portland: Is Mathcamp similar to MathPath?
In some ways, yes - for example, they also run on a Tues-Sat week, I believe! But Mathcamp is designed for older students, so it's much more flexible in its structure. You have a lot of choice about how you spend your time.
coolak/14/Earth do you ever do stuff like hiking, etc. as a field trip or is it mostly like visiting museums, etc.? (also, can I put a question mark after a period?)
We run ALL kinds of field trips. There are always a handful of hiking trips, especially when we're in the Pacific Northwest.
Some more examples: http://mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/residentiallife/fieldtrips.php
should i bring a swimsuit?
Sure! There are pools (indoor and outdoor) on campus, and some field trips have swimming opportunities.
Amy/14/Kentucky: How many people per dorm room or do we each get our own?
We have both singles and doubles in our dorm this year.
Is there allergy-friendly food? specifically, gluten and peanut free.
Lewis & Clark has a very responsive culinary team and they can work with individual students on a case-by-case basis to handle any food allergies. In the past, we've been able to accommodate students with strict allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, gluten -- even strictly kosher and halal. (And of course there are vegetarian, vegan, and plain options.)
Amy/14/Kentucky: Also if like I wanted to practice an instrument or a sport, will there be the proper equipment and time for me to do so?
In terms of music, we have already set up access for students and staff to music practice rooms, including some with pianos. The music building at L&C is very nice: https://college.lclark.edu/departments/music/facilities/
In terms of sports, there's a fancy sports center on campus: https://www.lcpioneers.com/about/sportsfacilities/sports_facilities (in particular, we have access to both indoor and outdoor pools and the fitness center).
how long will we be gone?
The program is five weeks long.
What is geographic composition of students attending the camp?
Students come from all over! About 75-80% of our students are from the U.S.; 5-10% from Canada; and 15% from everywhere else. We've had students from all fifty U.S. states! And here is where our international students have come from: https://www.mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/eligibility.php
Bradley/14/Mexico: Are there organized sports during camp?
Informally, yes, often.
Bradley/14/Mexico: are we allowed off campus?
Is it a must that we have to stay in campus.
Students are indeed allowed off-campus. (You just have to tell us where you're going and when you'll be back.)
how early can we wake up?
We don't have an official camp wake-up time; like everything else at camp, you decide when you want to wake up. At 9am, breakfast in the dining hall ends and the first classes of the day begin, so those are good times to keep in mind when figuring out your own schedule.
Bradley/14/Mexico: how late can we stay up
We don't have an official camp curfew; like everything else at camp, you decide when you're ready to go to sleep. We do, however, have some systems set up to make sure everybody gets the sleep they need. Half of the dorm has quiet hours beginning at 10pm; the other half has quiet hours beginning at midnight. To help you support you in making good decisions about when to go to sleep: on weeknights, lounges close at midnight (at which point you need to be in a dorm room rather than a common space).
Viraj/13/India: is there any need to know higher topics like calculus and stuff for math camp for the courses
will we have access to the swimpool at 4am?
@Veer: We need all students to have completed Precalculus, but Calculus is optional.
@Sky: Almost surely not. I assume the pool is closed at night.
can i learn how to play my harmonica? or in a more general sense, will there be instrumint lessons if you so choose?
We don't usually teach instruments, but you might find a friend who knows how to play and will help!
Brayden/15/Indiana: Do some students at Mathcamp form musical groups?
Yes, all the time!!
We also have some groups that happen every summer: there's a camp choir (The Contrapositones) and a camp a cappella group (The Kernel).
In general, what is the age distribution like?
On the first day of Mathcamp 2018, there were:
3 campers age 13
9 campers age 14
17 campers age 15
39 campers age 16
35 campers age 17
14 campers age 18
3 campers age 19
Is there a string ensemble?
So people at the camps can do other stuff than math?
Are freshman allowed to come if we have taken the required clases?
Yes; the criterion is age, not grade in school.
coolak/14/Earth if i were to fly in, would you pick me up at the baggage claim or do i have to get to L&C myself?
Yes, we pick students up at baggage claim.
Bradley/14/Mexico: are there places to practice instruments?
Daniel/15/Washington: How structured is the camp itself eg. sleep schedule, class schedule, etc.?
Mohith/14/Pennsylvania: What will the regular day look like at Mathcamp?
Your schedule is your own at Mathcamp! Classes will be scheduled during the morning and afternoon, and it's up to you how many classes (and which ones) you want to go to. There's no set time to wake up or go to bed; that's up to you to decide (though you'll get a lot more out of Mathcamp if you make sure to get enough sleep!).
Aditya/15/Ohio: How much time per week would you spend doing math?
That similarly varies a LOT! Most students go to 2-4 hours of class and do 2-4 hours of homework a day; it really depends on the camper, though.
Can rising freshman apply? I'm currently at 8th grade.
is there a limit on number of students accepted from each state?
Paul/13/NYC: Will we get transportation from the Portland Airport to the campus?
Are there grades?
Raj(parent) what is the average number of classes are taken by students per day
There are four regular classes plus a colloquium on most days of camp, so you can attend up to five classes. You *could* take a class every hour (e.g. 9 - 9:50, 10 - 10:50...), but we encourage students to take a break at some point so you don't get overloaded (and to have some time think about and absorb the classes you do take).
Nathan/13/Maryland: Are there tests?
Is the camp a good first step to achieving enlightenment?
Are there any restrictions on electronics usage?
No, although we encourage you to do fun Mathcamp things rather than fun video game things while you are at Mathcamp.
Samuel/15/Virginia where do you normally get the most applicants from?
I think California has recently been winning for most popular home state.
coolak/14/earth are we allowed laptops and stuff unlike ross?
Yes, we encourage students to bring laptops if they have them.
Bradley/14/Mexico: Has anyone ever gotten lost before?
What is the medical care like? For example, what will Mathcamp do if someone gets sick?
We have a camp nurse on staff, and if someone is really ill or injured and needs more serious medical attention, we have access to nearby Urgent Care and hospitals.
(The hospital this year is OHSU, which is very good.)
Bradley/14/Mexico: Can relatives visit during camp?
Of course! (But we can't host overnight guests.)
Mohith/14/Pennsylvania: What will the average day at camp look like?
It really varies from student to student, but here's the basic framework: http://mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/atypicalday.php
Aditya/15/Ohio: Are there any prerequisites in terms of math knowledge?
coolak/14/Earth do the classes tend to be accessible to those who know basic (BC) calculus or would many of them require more advanced mathematical knowledge? Also can I access the course catalog before applying, or is it not decided?
what math level you recommend?
Do we need to be a specific skill level to get in?
We expect students to have completed Precalculus before coming to camp. That's the only official prerequisite.
Have some people who did not complete Precalculus gotten in?
Sidharth/13/Washington So we just need to have prior knowledge up until calculus
serena/14/New York: what areas in math do we have to be familiar with to enter?
Bradley/14/Mexico: does aops precalc count as a precalc class?
AoPS Precalc definitely counts!
Viraj/13/India: Are there any specific topics you should be knowing before you take math camp such as calculus.
There will be lots of students who come to camp having completed Calculus (and beyond!), but there are also lots of classes at camp that you'll be able to take that don't rely on Calculus at all.
Srinivas/12/CO: what are some math topics covered at mathcamp?
What is the difficulty level of the courses?
Where can I look at the classes offered?
The class schedule every year is unique, but we always fill it with a range of topics catering to a range of different mathematical backgrounds. There will be classes that require no background beyond high-school algebra or precalculus, and there will be classes with a list of heavy-duty prerequisites. No matter your background, though, you'll be able to fill a schedule that works for you! To get a sense of the kinds of offerings available, you can learn lots about last year's classes from the schedules and descriptions: https://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/academics/classes.php
Hello, Is it accelerated math or math outside of school curriculum that’s studied?
It's generally math outside of the school curriculum.
srinivas/12/CO: what are some math topics that have been covered at mathcamp in the past?
Here's a great big (and not exhuastive) list: http://mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/academics/topics.php
alumni dropping by to say that mathcamp is awesome
Arnav/13/Chicago Can we choose whichever courses we want?
Yes! So, here's how choosing classes works. Before each week starts, you'll get a schedule and descriptions of all the upcoming classes, usually 4-5 options in each of the 4-5 hour-long class blocks of the day. You'll then have a chance to meet with your Academic Advisor (a staff member with whom you're paired at the start of camp) to discuss what you want to take. (And the instructors of the classes are always around to chat if you want to learn more about their class to see if you're interested.)
If you've only completed precalculus, how challenged would you be?
Preston/13/Portland, OR: Can you give a brief overview of some of the topics that the classes will include?
Some core topics are run (in some form) every year: we'll teach one class that covers basic Proof Techniques, and others will cover introductory material in some core subjects that will be prerequisite for many future classes, like Graph Theory, Number Theory, Group Theory, and Linear Algebra.
We also teach collections of courses on core topics in pure math (often described as "clusters" or "tracks" of classes on related themes): Algebra, Analysis, Topology, Combinatorics, Geometry, and lots more.
Since the classes change from year to year, returning students always have something new to explore!
Kevin/13/Maryland: How difficult would the classes be to a middle schooler?
It depends on the math background of the middle schooler!
Is there a minimum age?
13 is our minimum age.
Can students teach a class?
Yes, actually! This is considered a Project, and we have a handful of students teaching classes each summer.
What happens if we are unable to complete the homework?
The homework at Mathcamp is just for your own learning, so if you only get through some of the problems, that's just fine.
Are there classes combining math and basic physics?
Yes, we often teach some math/physics classes!
How hard are the classes?
It reeeeeeeally varies widely. Some classes are very relaxed, and others are very fast-paced and sophisticated.
Kailash/Parent/Irvine: Do you get visiting professors from MIT/Caltech or other similar colleges?
Brayden/15/Indiana: Who are the visiting speakers this summer?
Visiting speakers for 2019 haven't been announced yet.
What is topological graph theory?
Come to camp and find out!
Max / 16 / Pennsylvania : Are the classes each one week long, like at MathPath? How many can you take per week? Are there plenaries?
Yes, a lot of classes are in a one-week format. (But some run across multiple weeks, and others are shorter.) There are colloquia, which are like MathPath's plenaries.
Are there any introductory courses on quantum physics?
Often, yes! (But not every year.)
coolak/14/earth if you start a class and find out its way above your head, can you drop out?
Yes! You don't have to formally sign up for classes, so you can go to whatever class you want on whatever day (though if you're joining a class in the middle of the week, you might want to chat with the instructor so you know what you're getting into!).
Bradley/14/Mexico: Can we visit other students in their dorms?
is there some way for someone who is under 13 to join MathCamp?
Sorry, we're pretty firm about the lower age limit, but talk to us if you have a very, very unusual situation.
Paul/13/NYC: Are there any projects or courses that require the use of a computer?
Some courses will indeed have a computer component; they'll take place in a computer classroom.
are textbooks or relevant material provided during the camp or do we need to bring it to camp
We provide all the relevant material at camp, yes.
Is there an empty work with really big whiteboards for us to work on?
Will we be able to solve the millennium prize problems after this camp?
Another alum just confirming that Mathcamp is truly an unforgettable experience!
Bradley/14/Mexico: Are there office hours?
Yes! Instructors hold office hours on weekday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm. It's called TAU, which stands for "Time: Academic, Unscheduled."
What is your hardest class?
It varies from year to year, but three examples from last year: Galois Theory, proving the independence of the Continuum Hypothesis, and Cohomology via Sheaves.
Is there a lot of homework?
Bradley/14/Mexico: How hard is the homework?
Jack/14/Connecticut: Is there a lot of online work, or is it mostly paper?
Most classes do give problem sets so that you have a chance to work through the material (often doing math is the best way to learn math!). The amount varies a lot from class to class! It's mostly on paper, unless the course is in the computer lab.
Brayden/15/Indiana: Does Lewis and Clark use whiteboards or chalkboards?
We'll have a mix.
Paul/13/NYC: Can I pick any class I want or is there limited enrollment?
You can pick any class!
Do you have courses that teach/use Math software like Matlab?
Bradley/14/Mexico: How many people are there per class?
It varies a lot! Some classes will have 5 students, others will have 50. But most classes have 12 - 20 students.
Are the classes more competition math based or more olympiad math based
Neither of the above; our focus is not really on competition math at all. (Though we do teach a handful of problem-solving classes.)
When are the classes held?
In classrooms at Lewis & Clark! (They're really close to our dorms this year.)
Paul/13/NYC: Will there be fields and equipment for sports such as soccer?
Are going to be able to go on hikes or do some outdoors activities?
Bradley/14/Mexico: What if we need to go to IMO during camp? Can we still come?
Yes, that happens for a few people each year. We generally recommend that students come for the whole summer, but we make exceptions for the IMO.
OK! Thanks for all the questions about the program, everybody. (I didn't get to all of them, but I'll try to circle back later.)
Let's spend about 8:15 - 8:45 on questions about applications and financial aid: eligibility, the application process, scholarships. (And then we'll open up to any kinds of questions before we wrap up.)
Landon/12/Mississippi How much does it cost?
How much does this camp cost?
15/Slovenia How much does Mathcamp cost?
The full cost will be between 0 and \$4,500, depending on financial aid.
what is the financial aid mainly based on: family income or student potential or something else?
All of our financial aid is need-based.
How much does financial aid usually shave off of the full cost?
It varies! Mathcamp is completely free for US and Canadian families with household incomes of $65,000 and below, and tuition is on a sliding scale for middle-income and international families.
When do you apply for financial aid?
You submit the request at the same time as your application for admission, and then we review it after you've been admitted.
(The admissions process is entirely need-blind.)
Elinaleeguo/13/How about transportation?
We do offer travel grants!
how much money would we have to bring?
For spending money, you mean? We suggest that students bring \$100 - \$150 for incidentals; if that poses a problem, Mathcamp can help.
Does applying for financial aid reduce your chance of being accepted?
Not at all. We won't even know whether or not you have applied for financial aid when we are reviewing your application for admission.
Bradley/14/Mexico: Will you take age/race/gender into account for the applications process?
Yes, indeed! We try to create a balanced student body.
You've probably received way too many questions of this sort, but could you let us know what an estimate of the average number of problems answered to get admitted is?
How many people are accepted into mathcamp in total?
how hard is it to get in? if you are younger is it harder?
It's indeed pretty competitive; we have 65 - 75 spots for new campers (depending on how many alum sign up to return), and we expect 500+ applicants.
what competition scores are used in admission? like AMC10/12?
We don't particularly prioritize competition scores.
Bradley/14/Mexico: If you've qualified for IMO, will you take that into account?
Sure, we take everything into account. The Mathcamp application has an optional box for you to tell us about your competition background, but it's not a major part of the application. (There are plenty of Mathcampers who left that box blank when they applied!) It's just one more way for us to learn about the kinds of math that you do.
are there any scholarships based on AMCs?
What score on the AMC 12 or AIME would a successful applicant have?
Contest scores are not a really relevant criterion for us. Some of our campers are IMO gold medalists; other have never done a math competition in their lives. We don't keep track of averages at all.
How much of an effect does being a returning applicant have?
That's a good question! Lots of students do apply several times; we think it demonstrates persistence.
Elinaleeguo/14/Mexico: if you don't make it the first time, can you appeal to go?
You can definitely apply the next year!
What is the cutoff for AIME this year
This is not a criterion we use, because....
is there an entrance test?
Yes! We design our own entrance test, and it's really fun: it's called the Qualifying Quiz.
When in the entrance test due?
Along with the rest of your application, it's due 3/15 this year.
Kevin/14/maryland: How many questions of the quiz on average are solved by people who make it in?
StellarG/13/NH: How does the qualifying quiz work? When do we submit it?
Bradley/14/Mexico: How many problems should we do on the admissions test?
How many questions on the Qualifying Quiz do you normally have to get right to be accepted
Did admitted students typically solve all the problems on the Q Quiz?
what is the min score needed
What is the average # of problems solved on the qq for accepted applicants?
It's hard to say "you need to answer this many questions", because when we look at the entire Quiz taken as a whole, we're looking for more abstract qualities: persistence; creativity; sound reasoning.
There's no minimum score (especially since there aren't actually scores).
In broad strokes: most successful applicants do try every or almost every question, and make significant progress on several. But you'll find anecdotal evidence on all of the extremes: we have admitted students who solved only a few Quiz problems, and not admitted students with very strong Quizzes.
Elinaleeguo/14/Mexico: can you answer just 1
We strongly recommend that you try lots of questions! Don't just stop after one.
are later questions in the quiz weighted more than earlier questions?
Not really, no.
Can we see past entrance tests?
Yes! Here you go: http://mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/quiz/pastquizzes.php
Brayden/15/Indiana: What is the average number of pages that applicants use for the Qualifying Quiz?
Huh, a data question I don't know the answer to! A wild guess – maybe the average is one page per problem?
But it reeeeally varies.
out of a scale of one to ten how hard do you think it is to get a spot?
We usually admit 10 - 15% of our applicants.
Kevin/13/Maryland when will qq solutions be posted?
We'll do a Math Jam (here!) to discuss the Quiz solutions in May.
How hard is the quiz?
will there be a time limit to the test?
The Quiz is untimed because we've designed it to be more like a research project than like a competition (and so we don't grade it like a competition, by the way). You should think of it as something to work on slowly, and at the end of the process, we look forward to reading what you've learned in solving the Quiz problems!
Do you prefer to get solutions that show our trial and error/reasoning/thoughts or ones with direct elegant solutions?
Bradley/14/Mexico: Will doing really badly, and I mean really really badly, on a question be worse than not doing it?
Do you want us to show, for example, tables that we made to find a pattern but that are not part of our solution/proof? Basically, do you want us to show just solutions/proofs, or also the work we put in to figure out how we were going to solve the problem?
You're welcome to share your partial progress!
As long as we do the work ourselves, can we get help on how we write our proofs?
That's an important question, and the answer is no: we want to learn about how you communicate mathematics.
Are we allowed to ask clarification questions right now?
You can always email email@example.com for clarifications.
Or use the contact form on our website: http://mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/quiz/quiz_contact.php
Bradley/14/Mexico: What if we fail a question? Do we get partial credit?
We do take partial progress into account!
If you have an incomplete proof, but you don't know how to finish, should you add an explanation/reasoning as to why the proof is incomplete, or just mention that we do not know how to progress from there?
Yes! Tell us what you think is missing.
are there multiple ways to solve each problem, or are you looking for specific ways?
There are lots of ways to solve a problem!
Has anyone ever gotten a perfect score on a quiz before?
We do sometimes see complete, correct solutions to the Quizzes, but it's very unsual.
For proofs, how do citations work?
You can cite your sources in any way that is easy for the reader to understand.
is the quiz online?
Yes! The problems are here: http://mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/quiz/index.php
Brayden/15/Indiana: Is it okay to have a lot of pictures that take up some space on our solutions?
Daniel/15/Washington: What do you look for in a personal statement? Would it be recommended to just answer the questions one by one?
That's totally up to you! Some students write one-by-one answers to every prompt; others take one prompt that resonates with them and write a longer answer to that; still others write something totally different.
Once, we got a puzzle as an essay.
How is this graded? What's the minimum score for entry?
How hard is it for a 13 year old to make it
To be honest, there are so many great applicants that it's hard for everybody! But it's not especially harder for younger applicants. The biggest thing to keep in mind is just that older applicants might have more mathematical experience.
Bradley/14/Mexico: How will you stop cheating on the quiz?
It's hard to do, but we try to catch postings in online forums and have them removed. We also ask each student to sign an honesty pledge.
Here's the policy on getting help (and cheating): http://mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/quiz/honesty.php
Kevin/14/Maryland: On the quiz, will long and inelegant solutions still be ok?
Sure, but I sure do prefer reading elegant solutions if you can find one.
what's your favorite problem on the qq?
I like the combinatorial game theory question, myself!
I'm guessing that cheating is an automatic failure, does it bar you from ever applying again?
Does location factor into the application process? For example, if we know of other people applying from the same school, could that work against us?
There are no quotas for locations (and we do sometimes have multiple students from the same school).
Brayden/15/Indiana: How important are the recommendations?
Recommendations are important! They give us a wide-angle lens to learn more about you, and help prove to us that you're ready.
Elinaleeguo/14/Mexico: what if we don't have a visa
Every year, we help our international students get visas to come to Mathcamp!
has anybody from san diego every gotten in
(I can even think of one off the top of my head.)
Anastasia/16/CT Is it fine if I use a graphics calculator for the quiz?
Yes, that's fine.
If we can find more than one way to solve a problem, can we put them all down, or should we just but the more elegant one?
Most students submit only one solution to each problem. (But two would be okay.)
a couple of questions on how qqs are graded:
If I "extended" a question would you take that into account, or do you only care about answers to the questions listed?
If I solved problems 4,5,6 would I "do better" than if I solved problems 1,2,3?
Sure, we'd love to hear if you thought about an extension of a question!
There's no 'ranking' of the problems. You should try all of them.
Can I apply if I did not make aime?
Yes! Competition scores aren't a big factor here.
so other than the quiz, what else do we need
The big components of the application are the Qualifying Quiz and the essay. We'll also ask for two recommendation letters (one mathematical, one personal) and some short responses about your math background.
If you find another interesting related problem, can you submit the solution to that, too?
Sure, but keep in mind that graders are busy people.
are we allowed to search up things without reference for typing the qq in latex?
Yes! As long as you're not searching for solutions to the problems themselves.
We also have a short LaTeX tutorial to get you started: http://mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/quiz/latex_tutorial.php
Okay! Thanks, everybody, for all the questions about the application process.
The field is open for *any* questions you have about Mathcamp, and we'll wrap up at 9pm ET.
charley/9/florida where will we live if we go to the camp
Our dorm is Copeland Hall: https://college.lclark.edu/student_life/campus_living/residence_halls/platt-howard/
It has a really lovely (octagonal) main lounge with a grand piano and a fireplace and a pool table.
from your previous answer it appears that recommendation letters aren't (relatively) as big of a component as the Quiz and Essay. Is that a reasonable conclusion, or are the recommendation letters as important as the other 2 components?
I think of the Quiz and the Essay as the parts that you work on the most, but all the components are important!
Charley/69/Florida When is the qualifying test due again? Also, do we need to show motivation on the questions?
The application is due March 15th.
Motivation? Sure, if you feel motivated to share. But mostly we're interested in your proofs: you need to convince the reader of your solutions.
Eddie/14/California How many people are we rooming with?
We'll have singles and doubles this summer.
Is there a real chance being admitted if an applicant does not have solutions to all 6 Quiz-2019 problems, or this rarely happens?
Yes! Most applicants will not fully solve every Quiz question.
Kiran / 13 / South Carolina/ How many people (on average) don't get in their first year but reapply and get in another year.
Hmm, good question. It definitely happens for at least a dozen applicants each year that they're getting in on their second or third try.
what about mexico?
Our name is officially Canada/USA Mathcamp, but we definitely welcome students from Mexico!
How good does attending Mathcamp look for colleges?
Jonathan/14/US: How much will it help on the college application?
does this camp help for college admissions?
Doing anything that you're passionate about - like Mathcamp - will help you in college admissions!
Sahaja/Illinois/16/Rising Junior - test scores required?
Nope, we don't ask for test scores at all.
How does the waitlist system work?
We will announce admissions decisions on April 17th. At that time, we'll also place a few applicants on our waitlist, and hope to admit some students from the waitlist as spots open up in May. Everybody's status will be finalized by May 31st.
Bradly/14/Mexico Can we pick our roomates?
We will honor mutual roommate requests!
can we get in if we're from egypt
Yes! We have students from all over the world.
Elinaleeguo/13/can we buy stuff in nearby stores?
What's the age range of kids that usually get accepted?
We usually have a full range from 13 to 18.
do you need any parental supervision to come with you?
No, you'll be supervised by camp staff during the program.
will mathcamp return to the eastcoast sometime? its been on the west for 3 years in a row now.
Where will MathCamp be located next year?
We do intend to be on the east coast in 2020.
Brayden/15/Indiana: I do not know very much group theory. If I were to take a course that lists group theory as a prerequisite, would the group theory courses at Mathcamp get me up-to-speed?
Yes! That's why we offer core classes like Group Theory each year - to help you get up to speed for classes with prerequisites.
Jack/14/Connecticut: What's the food like? Is it good?
You know, L&C has my personal favorite food of any college campus we've been to. (It's still a college dining hall, though.)
Brayden/15/Indiana: On the subject of projects, how often do students write papers with faculty?
Sometimes! I'd say less than once a year, though. It depends how motivated the student is to publish a paper.
How does the food system work?
Dining hours are: breakfast 7:30-9am, lunch 11:30-1, dinner 5-6:30pm. (And it's all-you-care-to-eat, as they say.)
Do you have to be there for all 5/6 weeks or can you just go for a week or two?
Students come for the whole time.
Can we do research?
is mathcamp more like a research project/research camp or is it more like classes and learning about new things camp
You can do both research and classes!
Some classes might touch on open problems in research mathematics, and there's also the opportunity to pursue a topic in depth. These could be reading projects in a particular field or original research projects on a topic (or a variety of lighter options!).
You'll certainly have access to instructors and faculty who can talk with you at great lengths about research, but overall, research is not the primary focus of Mathcamp, and it's relatively rare for these projects to become the basis for papers or Intel/Siemens/Davidson/etc. submissions (though it does happen sometimes!).
Here's more about projects: https://www.mathcamp.org/gettoknowmathcamp/academics/projects.php
What if I'm too young to take a flight alone?
You can travel to Mathcamp as an unaccompanied minor if that is what suits your situation best. Here's a little more about that: http://mathcamp.org/parents/unaccompaniedminors.php
Brayden/15/Indiana: When you guys are pairing up roommates, what do you guys consider?
First, you're matched by age and gender. Then we use a questionnaire for admitted students to give us information about second-order considerations: how neat do you like to keep your room? Do you like to have friends hang out in your room in the evenings, or use your room as quiet study space? What time do you like to go to bed and get up? You also have the option to request to have specific roommates (which we'll honor if they request you in return!) or to avoid specific roommates (which we'll always honor).
Do you have a ping pong table?
Also a pool table.
do we bring our own technology?
Students are welcome to bring phones/tablets/laptops, and there's good wifi and cell service on campus. If you're not bringing a phone to camp, there is a "Call Your Parents" phone in the office that you can check out for an hour at a time.
is it possible somebody rooms with somebody a grade older if they know the other person welll
Of course, yes.
would you recommend bringing a computer
Yes, if you have one, it's helpful to bring it.
Eddie/14/Florida What can we include in our math accomplishments? Can we write having a 1850 rating in ftw as a math accomplishment?
You can share anything that's meaningful for you!
Will there be a lot of teamwork involved in Mathcamp or more individual work?
Like almost everything at Mathcamp, it's up to you how to go about doing your homework. You can work on it on your own, or with classmates, or even with your teachers. A lot of math (both at camp and in real-life research) is done collaboratively, and for good reason -- it helps to talk through problems, and it can be a lot of fun! So if you want to work together with others on your homework, you'll definitely be able to find collaborators.
Elina/12/Mexico: are there lots of alumni?
Yes!! There are 45 - 55 alums each year at camp. (And 1000+ alums out there in the world; the program has been around since 1993.)
sriraamster/13/california: can we start application now? if we have already been accepted into another camp, can we still apply?
Yes! Applications are now open.
You can check the details of our admissions calendar here: http://mathcamp.org/prospectiveapplicants/deadlines.php
Any advice for writing the essay?
Just be yourself.
is there a maximum age?
Officially 18, though we have made exceptions for 19-year-old before.
(And we usually have an alum or three who are 19.)
Bradley/14/Mexico What are the backgrounds of the camp staff?
Here's a broad summary: http://mathcamp.org/currentstudents/thestaff.php
We're hiring our summer 2019 staff now! So stay tuned for more specifics.
Nathan/13/Maryland: can we request to be roommates with people of other genders?
The floors are generally separated by gender, so usually no. (But nonbinary students can email us to talk about specific requests.)
Whats usually the required background for math in order to succeed at this camp
If you're thinking about preparation for the application process, your best preparation is to take a look at past Qualifying Quizzes.
In terms of content, we only expect you to use the math you learned in high school (up through Precalculus)... plus, of course, a lot of creative thinking!
Nashan/0/Maryland can I apply again If I get rejected the year before
Absolutely! We encourage students to apply more than once if they're really excited about the program.
Okay, everybody - time to wrap up. Thanks for spending your evening with us!
If we didn't get to your question, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to continue the conversation. You can also post questions in the Mathcamp forum here on AoPS; the Mathcamp staff will post replies, and you'll get student opinions, too. Here's the forum: http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/community/c135_mathcamp
Thank you, it helped me a lot!
I'm so glad! Thanks for coming.
Thank you! Have a great night!
Thank you so much!
Have a good night, everybody.
Thank you all for joining us, and a big thanks to Marisa and Kevin!
If you joined late, or want to review this Math Jam sometime in the future, a transcript of it will be posted soon here: http://www.aops.com/school/mathjams-transcripts
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