Mathcamp Math Jam

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Marisa Debowsky, Cananda/USA Mathcamp's Executive Director, describes the Mathcamp summer program for high school math students.

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Facilitator: Marisa Debowsky

vapodaca 2021-02-23 19:30:26
Hello and welcome to the Canada/USA Mathcamp Math Jam!
Jonathan1 2021-02-23 19:30:45
PeachesAndPlums1 2021-02-23 19:30:45
PeachesAndPlums1 2021-02-23 19:30:45
neutrinopuppy 2021-02-23 19:30:45
Jonathan1 2021-02-23 19:30:45
mnair797 2021-02-23 19:30:45
PeachesAndPlums1 2021-02-23 19:30:45
Jonathan1 2021-02-23 19:30:45
mathy88 2021-02-23 19:30:45
vapodaca 2021-02-23 19:31:13
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
vapodaca 2021-02-23 19:31:23
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!
vapodaca 2021-02-23 19:31:41
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.
judgefan99 2021-02-23 19:32:01
Hi MarisaD!
eagle702 2021-02-23 19:32:01
Hello MarisaD!!
vapodaca 2021-02-23 19:32:05
Mira Bernstein (MiraBernstein) has been a core organizer and instructor at Mathcamp since 1997. She loves teaching Bayesian Statistics and reading plays with campers. She, too, is on the admissions committee every year!
eagle702 2021-02-23 19:32:14
Hello MiraBernstein!!
flashomatic 2021-02-23 19:32:14
Hi Mira!
dolphindesigner 2021-02-23 19:32:14
Hi MiraBernstein!
mnair797 2021-02-23 19:32:14
hi MiraBernstein!
vapodaca 2021-02-23 19:32:32
Thank you for tuning into this Math Jam! I'll turn the room over to Marisa now!
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:32:38
Hi, everybody, and welcome to the annual Mathcamp Q&A! Thanks as always to @rrusczyk, @vapodaca, and the AoPS team for hosting us.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:32:44
Mira and I are here to talk about Mathcamp 2021, 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.)
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:32:50
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.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:33:02
So, Mathcamp: it's a 5-week immersive math summer program. This year, Mathcamp will take place online, from Saturday, July 3 to Sunday, August 8, 2021, on our "Virtual Mathcampus." (We’ll tell you a lot more about that later.)
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:33:09
Really really frequently asked questions (RRFAQ), to get them out of the way:
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:33:17
Who comes to Mathcamp? We have 120 students per year, from all over the world. It's about 65 new campers and 55 returning alumni per year. (This is the same at our traditional residential program and our COVID-era online program.) The student body is about 50% girls and nonbinary students, and 50% boys.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:33:24
What kind of math? All kinds. A cool thing about Mathcamp is that we offer 100+ classes and projects over the course of a single summer, and you have complete freedom to design your own curriculum.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:33:31
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.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:33:35
That flexibility and creativity – academic and nonacademic – are the defining characteristics of Mathcamp.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:33:43
How do I get in? Admission is competitive. (We typically 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 and
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:33:56
When do I apply? The deadline to apply is a few weeks away: March 18th, 2021. (All applications received by the deadline get equal consideration, so there's no advantage to applying early.)
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:34:04
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 provide laptops, tablets, internet access, and any other tools you need to participate in Mathcamp online.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:34:13
What is VMC? We use "VMC" to stand for "Virtual Mathcamp," which is the online version of the summer program.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:34:36
Alrighty, let's shift gears! Too much of my typing going on. We want to get to as many of your questions as possible.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:34:47
Mira 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:
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:34:51
Name / Age / Location: Question
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:34:55

Kathy/ 15 / San Antonio: Do we celebrate birthdays during Mathcamp?


Jax / Parent / Toronto: How do you handle students in multiple time zones?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:34:59
(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.)
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:35:06
Okay, ready? Let's spend about 7:45 – 8:15 ET on questions about the program itself: mathematical and social life at Mathcamp; the people; the online campus; the "during" and "after" of Mathcamp. (And then we'll switch over to discussing the "before": the next topic will be the application process and financial aid. But hold off on those questions for a few minutes.)
SparklyFlowers 2021-02-23 19:35:46
What is the math level? Like grade level/class.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:36:24
We teach math that is not part of the typical high school curriculum - it's more like the math you'll meet in college (or even grad school), but it's made accessible to students with just a background up through Precalculus.
eagle702 2021-02-23 19:36:51
Are the classes through video, such as Zoom?
xuehan24 2021-02-23 19:36:51
Maggie/15/Toronto: So, I'm pretty sure everyone's asking this question but how would interacting on the online campus work?
HappyUniverse 2021-02-23 19:36:51
What type of online program is math camp using for 2021? Like zoom, gotowebinar, etc.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:37:09
Yup, we figured this would be a very common question. Let me tell you a little about our format for this summer:
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:37:33
We didn't want camp to be a pile of Zoom links, so when we decided to go online last spring in light of COVID-19, we built our own virtual world for hanging out together.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:37:45
Our initial goals were to evoke familiar spaces, so that students and staff would intuitively know how to use the digital space; to make the campus interactive (e.g., everybody can post signs on our virtual walls), so we could all contribute to building camp together; and to make the website immersive, to capture our attention and keep us involved. We hired an architect to design us an imaginary campus, and watercolor artists to bring it to life, and did all the coding in-house. The result is both beautiful and quirky and very, very Mathcamp.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:37:55
Here's what the bird's-eye view looks like:
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:38:03
Access to everything on campus—classrooms, lounges, virtual green spaces—is centralized, and the navigation mimics the layout of an idealized college campus. It also (ahem) has some puzzles embedded (no spoilers).
SparklyFlowers 2021-02-23 19:38:12
CrystalFlower 2021-02-23 19:38:12
SparklyFlowers 2021-02-23 19:38:12
That's pretty
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:38:17
Thank you
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:38:24
Lots more info here:
GeronimoStilton 2021-02-23 19:38:31
are we allowed to jump on the trampoline?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:38:33
polarys 2021-02-23 19:38:47
Marc / Parent / British Columbia: Follow up question to "math level" - is there a minimum grade you recommend? If our son is currently in grade 8, is he too young to apply?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:39:13
The relevant question is mathematical maturity, rather than age or grade; we're looking for students who are ready for proof-based classes.
Catherineyaya 2021-02-23 19:39:29
DaniPITT 2021-02-23 19:39:29
what is the age range of participants?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:39:36
Ages 13–18, typically.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:39:44
On the first day of Mathcamp 2020, there were:

1 camper aged 13

2 campers aged 14

22 campers aged 15

32 campers aged 16

39 campers aged 17

19 campers aged 18

5 campers aged 19
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:39:48
(That's pretty typical for the number of students on the younger side, and slightly more older students than usual; we happened to have a bunch of returning alums who had just turned 19.)
pyz18 2021-02-23 19:40:08
huh? what trampoline
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:40:09
eagle702 2021-02-23 19:40:15
What percentage of campers do you estimate are also AoPSers?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:40:18
Excellent question; no idea!
CrystalFlower 2021-02-23 19:40:28
Can I see a map of Math Camp?
dolphindesigner 2021-02-23 19:40:28
is there a dining hall?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:40:49
I don't think I have a full map image online, but I'll add one to the website sometime.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:40:58
There is a kitchen and a vegetable garden.
hh99754539 2021-02-23 19:41:08
Does this program cost money?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:41:25
Yes, but there is also financial aid available:
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:41:29
The cost for our 2021 program will be between $0 and $1,500, depending on financial aid.
dxs2016 2021-02-23 19:41:54
how much will mathcamp help with contest prep?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:42:00
A little bit, but that's not our main focus.
justin6688 2021-02-23 19:42:04
What would we learn in these classes?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:42:25
Every Mathcamp has a different class schedule, but the classes always come from a range of topics appropriate to a range of different mathematical backgrounds. Many classes will have no prerequisites (other than high-school algebra or precalculus); others will require some pretty intense knowledge of advanced mathematics. (Though almost always, the appropriate prerequisites will be offered as Mathcamp classes earlier in camp!) The result is that you can fill a schedule that works for you and your math background, whatever it may be. To get a sense of the variety of class offerings, take a look at last year's class schedule and descriptions:
mutyala2006 2021-02-23 19:42:41
how long(weeks/days/hrs) will be the camp
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:43:01
Camp runs for Saturday, July 3 to Sunday, August 8, 2021 this year.
ingmom 2021-02-23 19:43:27
Joy/parent/Michigan: Daughter participated in Mathpath for the past 2 summers, how does Mathcamp compare?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:44:03
Mathcamp is similar in some ways to MathPath, but with a lot more flexibility in both academic and social time, and a much higher ceiling of challenging math classes.
CrystalFlower 2021-02-23 19:44:10
what is the max age level?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:44:25
We always invite applications up to age 18. We have made exceptions for admitting 19-year-old before.
SparklyFlowers 2021-02-23 19:44:27
What's the min age level?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:44:44
The minimum age is 13 (and we have only once ever made an exception to that; we're firm on the minimum).
eagle702 2021-02-23 19:44:55
Is there a curfew?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:45:07
Definitely not for VMC, since participants are all over the world.
kavitabafana 2021-02-23 19:45:12
This cammp runs for 5 weeks, but since it is virtual, wha will the times be each day?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:45:36
Here's a detailed look at the day-to-day calendar: We're still open to making adjustments to this summer's schedule, but it'll be similar to last year's. Our core "academic day" is 9am - 3pm Pacific Time: that's when classes and office hours are scheduled. Before and after that, there are both mathematical and social activities happening all the time. (And since we're distributed across so many time zones at Virtual Mathcamp, there really are people awake around the clock!)
eagle702 2021-02-23 19:45:40
Yes, sorry. For the normal Mathcamp is there a curfew?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:46:00
Ah, I see. When camp is residential, there's an "everybody in the dorm by 11pm" rule, but we don't enforce a bedtime or a lights-out.
rkallu 2021-02-23 19:46:22
Is diversity encouraged at mathcamp? From which country other than US do most participants come?
spike2015 2021-02-23 19:46:22
What percentage of girls are there at the camp?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:46:40
The overall student body for the last three years has been about 45–50% girls, 50–55% boys, with a handful of nonbinary students every summer.

Overall, the demographic has been slowly shifting towards gender parity over the last decade.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:46:48
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:
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:47:04
Diversity is very much encouraged!
HappyUniverse 2021-02-23 19:47:29
What would you say differentiates mathcamp from other elite math summer camps?
neutrinopuppy 2021-02-23 19:47:29
How does this compare to other camps? Promys, Ross, MathILy?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:47:57
All of the summer math enrichment programs are places where you get to dive into interesting math and meet like-minded peers. You might think of these programs as sorting into three categories – competition programs (like AwesomeMath), single-focus programs (like PROMYS and Ross, which have a Number Theory curriculum), and broader programs (like HCSSiM and MathILy). Mathcamp is in the 'broad' category. Here's a big list of summer programs (of all sorts):
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:48:03
What makes Mathcamp unusual is the extraordinary amount of academic and personal freedom that students have. You design your own curriculum, you decide how to spend your time.
Cynical 2021-02-23 19:48:10
ChiChi/ 15/ New York: What do the peppers on the schedule mean?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:48:50
This is a spiciness rating! It's meant to describe the pace/difficulty of a class: one chili is mild, so every student should be able to follow; four chilis are very spicy, so even the strongest student should be challenged. 2-3 are in between.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:49:13
You can see examples here:
Zorger74 2021-02-23 19:49:32
Are there "bunks" or other sorts of groupings of people? (both this year and in the past) How do people get to know each other at VMC?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:49:55
Yes! There are RA groups at VMC, just like at residential camp. Your residential advisor is your default point of contact on the staff, and your RA group will be the first students you get to know in the camp community. If you want, you can even have a "Zoommate." (At Mathcamp 2020, some campers called their Zoommate every night before bed to say hi!)
star32 2021-02-23 19:50:22
How much of a time commitment is it per day?(sorry if this has been asked before)
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:51:10
Here's a sense of the day:
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:51:24
But that only gives a glimpse – the idea is that everybody designs their own schedule.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:51:43
So, you decide how many hours a day you want to be doing VMC stuff. (For most people last year, it was a lot!)
zeeshan12 2021-02-23 19:51:50
what % of students are retuning students?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:52:02
It's typically about 65 new students + 55 returning = 120 total students.
GeronimoStilton 2021-02-23 19:52:29
mathcamp has an incredible variety of new classes every summer
dxs2016 2021-02-23 19:52:29
could you give us examples of what cool classes are available?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:52:44
Yeah! Definitely. Let's see –
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:53:34
Some core classes are pretty consistent from year to year. There's always one class that covers basic Proof Techniques, and others will cover core introductory material that other Mathcamp classes often use as prerequisites, like Graph Theory, Group Theory, Linear Algebra, and Number Theory. These introductory classes are often the starting point for what we call "clusters," collections of courses on core topics in pure math, like Algebra, Analysis, Combinatorics, and Topology.
Zorger74 2021-02-23 19:53:52
What are the typical "starting courses" for someone who has taken precalc but nothing more advanced?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:54:03
Those I was just mentioning are pretty typical, I'd say.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:54:22
But then there are all kinds of other cool classes, too. Here are a few spicier examples from last year: Homotopy colimits, Classifying complex semisimple Lie algebras, and How not to prove the Continuum Hypothesis.
JamesSohigian 2021-02-23 19:54:40
What are some of the more advanced classes?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:54:52
Those last few are very very spicy.
HamstPan38825 2021-02-23 19:54:57
Are there other competition math-oriented courses?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:55:08
A few, yes. We try to run one problem-solving class a week.
Jonathan1 2021-02-23 19:55:22
are there any competitions in camp?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:55:38
There are two weekly problem-solving competitions at camp, and both are team competitions. (Participation, like everything else at camp, is optional!) More about problem solving at camp:
iscoconut 2021-02-23 19:56:05
Isaac/16/Illinois: what will Time Academic Unscheduled for VMC look like?
rkallu 2021-02-23 19:56:05
Is it compulsory to attend TAU? Asking because the time zone difference makes it very difficult to attend from India
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:57:00
So, the office hours at camp are called, as some folks have noted, TAU – Time, Academic, Unscheduled. It's not required to come to TAU, but most people do: it's when you can find instructors and fellow students to talk about your classes or projects.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:57:40
We try to make VMC TAU look a little like residential-camp TAU: you can mill around, find folks to work with, and collaborate (online!) with peers and teachers.
PizzaPerson 2021-02-23 19:57:52
how can you fit in all of the classes that you do?
Zorger74 2021-02-23 19:58:15
How many classes do students take at a time (and how much time a day does each class take up)? Sorry if this has been answered already.
CoolCarsOnTheRun 2021-02-23 19:58:21
Are classes more of a "drop in once and learn and then take a different one the next day" kind of thing, or do you sign up for a fixed set of classes at the start of camp and then stick with those classes throughout the 5 weeks?
JamesSohigian 2021-02-23 19:58:27
Are the classes spanning over a week or weeks? Can you change courses?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:58:47
All good questions! Let's see if I can answer them together:
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:59:13
Before each week starts, you'll get a schedule and descriptions of all the upcoming classes: usually it's 5 options per hour, in each of the 3 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 - see to discuss what you want to take. Every week, you get to repeat this process: reflect on the previous week, decide what you want to do for the upcoming week, and pick the classes you think you'll want to take.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 19:59:37
You get to decide how many classes to take, and there's no min or max.
Infomath 2021-02-23 19:59:49
How big are the classes typically? meaning how many students are there in a classroom?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:00:31
That varies widely, because you don't have to register for classes - you just show up. So, a small class might just be a handful of students, and a big class might be 40 campers.
JamesSohigian 2021-02-23 20:01:04
Is there a performance based aspect in choosing classes?
firebolt360 2021-02-23 20:01:04
Theoretically, would it be possible to take 2 classes at the same time? What about every class?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:01:24
I'm not sure what performance-based means, but perhaps you mean style?
Infomath 2021-02-23 20:01:30
So classes are more lecture style than interactive?
PizzaPerson 2021-02-23 20:01:30
how many classes can you take at a time?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:01:54
So, addressing all of these: hypothetically, you *could* take a class every hour (e.g. 9 - 9:50, 10 - 10:50...), and some campers choose to. Generally, though, we encourage you to take a break at some point so you don't get overloaded (and to have some time to think about and absorb the math in the classes you do take).
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:02:36
The style really varies. Our faculty get to pick not just their course topics, but also their approach to teaching: some give more traditionally-structured classes, with a presentation by the instructor every day, and others might not involve any lecture at all! Lots of our classes focus on inquiry-based learning, where the students themselves are the ones discovering concepts, solving problems, and presenting proofs. Some students really like these interactive classes and some don't, so we make sure to offer classes in a variety of different styles.
Malu_2020 2021-02-23 20:02:49
Do you have any personal favorite classes?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:03:04
Mira's Information Theory class is wildly popular for a good reason.
mathy88 2021-02-23 20:03:21
When will doing math projects take place? does it replace classes in the schedule?
iscoconut 2021-02-23 20:03:21
what do projects look like?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:03:37
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. Occasionally, these projects become the basis for papers or STS/Davidson/etc. submissions (but only when a student is very motivated!). Here's more about projects:
imimaginary 2021-02-23 20:03:54
Stephen/16/NJ: Are classes recorded if I'd like to watch some lectures that I didn't sign up?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:04:02
Generally, no. An individual instructor might decide to record a portion for their students, or ask their students about recording a part of their class session for some reason, but that would be unusual. We believe that students feel more free to participate fully when they're not being recorded for posterity.
rench23sugar 2021-02-23 20:04:29
How is the food? lol
imimaginary 2021-02-23 20:04:29
Stephen/16/Chatham, NJ: What are some social activities at VMC?
PizzaPerson 2021-02-23 20:04:29
do you have field trips?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:04:49
There are tons of social activities at camp, and the baking ones have particularly good food.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:04:57
The JCs (those are the undergrads who are camp counselors at Mathcamp) invented all manner of virtual "field trips" last year – they were incredibly creative, from an on-campus scavenger hunt to a role-playing mystery game. I've been reading in counselors' job applications about the new ideas folks have for 2021, and they're definitely planning to step it up yet again for this year. But we'll be preserving my favorite tradition: the annual Puzzle Hunt (
iscoconut 2021-02-23 20:05:12
Do you have classes that involve graph theory?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:05:15
bobcats4thewin 2021-02-23 20:05:23
About how much time a day is there to spend time with friends and yourself?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:05:41
There's a lot of flexibility in the schedule; you can spend as much time with friends and solo as you would like.
AmSo132 2021-02-23 20:05:44
Just so I know I got it right, this year will be online?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:05:47
Yep, definitely.
dh9889 2021-02-23 20:05:56
The majority of your 2020 class is in the 16-17 age groups. Is it because that's the time or grade levels the prerequisites have been completed in high school?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:06:14
That's typically the case, yes.
PizzaPerson 2021-02-23 20:06:18
do you have hikes or anything?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:06:36
At residential Mathcamp, yes. In this era when camp is online, we have to get a little more creative.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:06:57
Last year, there was a running group, which was especially awesome; the goal was, as a group, to run from Portland, Oregon (site of Mathcamp 2019) to Golden, Colorado (site of Mathcamp 2018). We kept a spreadsheet in which everybody logged their runs (or hikes, or treadmill walks, or wheelchair rolls… the agreement was "any time you moved somewhere under your own motor power"), in kilometers or miles as was appropriate in your region, and optional hilarious commentary ("i saw a little boy with a water gun"; "Night runs hit different (a few bugs got in my mouth but it was worth it)").
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:07:09
Here is a picture of a part-way point:

(Maybe you can't tell, but that's our running route on the left and that's the landmark we have currently reached on the right. This was a snapshot from Slack. Anyway.)
HappyUniverse 2021-02-23 20:07:15
Do you think mathcamp will continue VMC alongside its in-person camp perhaps next year and the year after that
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:07:36
We plan to return to in-person camp as soon as we can, and I don't think we'll have the bandwidth to run VMC in parallel, but one never knows.
AmSo132 2021-02-23 20:07:41
How many teachers are there aprox?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:07:53
About 20.
NoSignOfTheta 2021-02-23 20:08:01
is it free?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:08:27
The cost for our 2021 program will be between $0 and $1,500, depending on financial aid. 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.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:08:35
We give lots of partial and full scholarships, as well as technology grants, to both US and international students.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:08:43
The bottom line: don't let money prevent you from applying. For lots of details about scholarships:
neutrinopuppy 2021-02-23 20:09:01
How do you meet people if you don’t know anyone?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:09:32
That's a great question. Everybody at Mathcamp is smart and cool and interesting to talk to. Campers and staff all tell us that the community is the best part, and that was even true last summer at VMC. Of course it’s harder on Zoom, but we held lots of events that let students interact in small groups, and gradually people did get to know each other. Everyone was surprised at how well it worked, but it really worked!
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:09:55
We also helped students get to know each other in the weeks leading up to camp, which helped us foster a sense of community from the start.
rkallu 2021-02-23 20:09:59
Are any JC's younger than undergrads?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:10:14
You have to be at least a year out of high school to be a JC.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:10:18
(And also a Mathcamp alum.)
themathboi101 2021-02-23 20:10:21
Is finnancial aid given based on mathematical ability or financial situation of the family? Does it affect your chances of getting in?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:10:48
Financial aid is need-based, and has no impact on your chances of getting in. (The admissions committee can't even see whether you have requested a scholarship.)
bobcats4thewin 2021-02-23 20:10:55
In general, what percent of campers return the next year?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:11:29
Hmm, that's a stat I actually don't know off the top of my head. I would guess 40%.
zeeshan12 2021-02-23 20:11:53
How can students prepare (from math point of view) for the camp?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:12:04
If you're thinking about preparation for the application process, your best preparation is to take a look at past Qualifying Quizzes. We've discussed the solutions to many of the problems in previous Math Jams, so you can get some insight into the kinds of solutions that we're looking for. 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! Here's a link to past Quizzes:
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:12:16
In terms of preparing for Mathcamp's classes: aside from getting very comfortable with the concepts from high school math, the best preparation is diving into whatever math is exciting to you right now.
bobcats4thewin 2021-02-23 20:12:21
How are the returning campers determined? Is it their choice or is there some type of a test they need to pass?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:12:40
Nope, you just sign up to return. Once you become an alum, you don't have to reapply.
CoolCarsOnTheRun 2021-02-23 20:12:43
How does this simulation of physical spaces work at VMC? I'm reading the website:

"Around the campus, you'll find many "outdoor" spaces, complete with a quad, swings, playing fields, an orchard, and a garden. We have two major 'buildings' on campus: the classroom building (where your online classes will meet) and the dorm"

and I'm slightly confused by what this means by "quad, swings," etc. Are there things like separate Zoom links for different rooms, or does it somehow work differently? Thanks!
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:13:21
Ah, this is an interesting question. Let me give you an example. Last year, there was "caffeine time" every morning in the kitchen:
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:13:38
And in the kitchen, there was a link to an embedded Zoom room.
AmSo132 2021-02-23 20:13:46
Can students from any country apply (for example chile) or the ones listed on the website?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:13:54
Students from everywhere are welcome to apply!
shruti26 2021-02-23 20:14:15
What are some of the nonacademic activities offered?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:14:48
Oh, wow, where to start. We ran so many events this summer! Singing, dancing, collaborative solitaire....
AmSo132 2021-02-23 20:14:56
That is really imaginative!
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:14:59
Hey, thanks!
rkallu 2021-02-23 20:15:03
Does the cost depend on the number of classes you take?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:15:09
Nope, not at all; the tuition is all-inclusive.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:15:32
OK! Thanks for all the questions about the program, everybody.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:15:36
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.)
bobcats4thewin 2021-02-23 20:16:02
About how many applicants are there a year?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:16:10
It varies from year to year, but several hundred.
gordonhero 2021-02-23 20:16:21
How many people get in a year?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:16:26
We take about 65 new students.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:16:34
(It depends on how many returning alums there are.)
star32 2021-02-23 20:16:40
Does being a USAMO qualifier help with admissions?(along with the admission test?)
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:16:59
In terms of admissions, contest scores are not a significant criterion for us—we use our own Qualifying Quiz instead—so we don't keep track of statistics on our campers.
eagle702 2021-02-23 20:17:09
If you are a returning student, do you have to reapply?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:17:24
Nope, alumni can just sign up to return without reapplying.
cadg0q 2021-02-23 20:17:29
Is the number of accepted applicants larger because it is virtual?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:17:35
No, we are keeping camp the same size.
Zorger74 2021-02-23 20:17:47
Is it necessary to do all of the problems on the QQ to be accepted?
look4pilot 2021-02-23 20:17:47
About how many questions should we aim for on the qualifying quiz?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:18:03
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.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:18:25
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.
bobcats4thewin 2021-02-23 20:18:30
Do you think there will be more or less applicants because this year is virtual?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:18:41
I do not know the answer to this question and am terrifically curious to find out.
mathy88 2021-02-23 20:18:45
Do you start looking at applications before the due date (i.e. rolling process, the earlier submitted the better)?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:19:02
Nope: we start reviewing all the applications at the same time. All applications received by the deadline get equal consideration.
Cynical 2021-02-23 20:19:20
Is it too late to start the qualifying quiz?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:19:26
No, not at all!
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:19:44
The problems are meant to be thought-provoking and they'll take some time, but there are still several weeks before the deadline.
dxs2016 2021-02-23 20:19:47
do we need a full solution for a problem or can we write up a partial one/our ideas?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:19:59
You can write up partial solutions, too! Everything counts.
AmSo132 2021-02-23 20:20:02
Is the financial aid need-based or need-blind?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:20:18
Financial aid is entirely need-based. Admission is need-blind.
fidgetboss_4000 2021-02-23 20:20:36
How long should our essays be?
AmSo132 2021-02-23 20:20:36
What does the application essay require?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:21:19
The essay is really a flexible space – you can write as much as you like (but keep in mind the patience of the reader). It's your opportunity to speak directly with the admissions committee, and tell us about yourself and your interests.
kidcrumb10 2021-02-23 20:21:32
On average, how many questions on the qualifying quiz are answered (from accepted students)?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:22:06
It really varies from year to year, but successful applicants usually solve at least half the problems.
Supernova45 2021-02-23 20:22:08
Do you grade the quiz using a point-based system?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:22:28
No, it's a little more complicated than that. What we're trying to read out of the Quiz is a little bit between the lines of the actual solutions: it's an understanding of the author's mathematical maturity. So that's hard to write in a number of points.
kakalidas 2021-02-23 20:22:33
Is March 18th the deadline for recommendations as well?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:22:36
Yes, indeed.
Zorger74 2021-02-23 20:22:38
How do recommendation letters work?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:22:48
Academic recommendations should be written by a teacher, and personal recommendations by an adult who knows you in another context. Here's a page with lots more details and suggestions: If you have an unusual recommendation situation not covered by that page, email us at and we'll discuss individually what's right for you.
dh9889 2021-02-23 20:22:53
Do you have many applicants who were rejected in prior years?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:23:12
Yes! Lots of people apply more than once, and we give special consideration to students who apply multiple times. It shows tenacity.
rkallu 2021-02-23 20:23:16
Is there a word limit on any of the question prompts?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:23:32
No, just keep in mind that brevity is nice.
HappyUniverse 2021-02-23 20:23:35
What are some repetitive topics you get on personal essays a lot?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:24:19
A lot of applicants write stories about math competitions failures and successes. This can be very moving or fun, of course! But it is definitely a common theme.
mathy88 2021-02-23 20:24:28
How many people look at each application?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:25:01
Interesting question! A lot, actually: there are about 20 first-pass readers and typically about 10 people on the admissions committee.
bobcats4thewin 2021-02-23 20:25:07
When you said that successful applicants usually solve at least half the problems, did you mean full problems or parts of each problem?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:25:17
I mean a complete or mostly-complete solution.
dxs2016 2021-02-23 20:25:21
so emphasizing our own personality and interests is more important than contest results, etc
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:25:58
Contest results can indeed be part of your mathematical biography, and that can be very helpful for us. But your personality and interests are more likely to help us figure out if Mathcamp is a good fit for you.
AmSo132 2021-02-23 20:26:05
What do you recomend that we put in the essay. (As your personal opinion)
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:26:12
I want to know what you care about!
Clapatron7568 2021-02-23 20:26:16
Can middle schoolers get scholarships?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:26:38
Yes, all students are eligible for financial aid – all ages, new and returning, US and Canadian and international.
bluesky0117 2021-02-23 20:26:51
How much math should we know or what classes should we have taken?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:27:18
We expect applicants to have finished Precalculus by the time camp starts. (It can be self-study, or an AoPS class, or a school class.)
AmSo132 2021-02-23 20:27:24
So in the future, if I don't get in, until what point can I apply? Until I graduate from high school or until I'm 18?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:27:37
Students can apply up to the summer after they finish high school.
zxcvasdf 2021-02-23 20:27:41
how much is re-using recommendations frowned upon
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:28:06
It's not a big deal; people regularly reuse recs. But keep in mind that new letters can be an opportunity to share with us what's new for you.
dh9889 2021-02-23 20:28:10
Do you interview applicants?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:28:43
Only on rare occasion, if we really need to learn something we can't get from the written application. (We unfortunately don't have the bandwidth to interview all the candidates.)
WLongtin 2021-02-23 20:28:58
Is it okay to use math past pre-calculus on the quiz?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:29:00
Definitely yes.
gordonhero 2021-02-23 20:29:20
Has the recommendation letter have to be before the deadline?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:29:22
firebolt360 2021-02-23 20:29:24
How can we check what status our recs are at? Like, it only shows if we provided the email
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:29:38
The system should indicate when your letters are received. Feel free to email techsupport if you have questions.
adh9889 2021-02-23 20:29:46
How do you re-use recommendations?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:30:02
If you have applied before, the system should recognize you and offer you the option to reuse a letter. (Again, email techsupport if not.)
fidgetboss_4000 2021-02-23 20:30:04
How much is re-using past essays (or parts of past essays) frowned upon?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:30:22
You certainly can, but I encourage you to use the essay to update us.
zeeshan12 2021-02-23 20:30:30
do recommendations have to be from current math teacher?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:31:11
No, there are lots of options for your academic rec letter writer! A teacher, a coach, an instructor from a summer math program- any mathematical mentor who can speak to your skills and background.
Zorger74 2021-02-23 20:31:16
When should we submit the email addresses of the recommenders, before or with the rest of the application? (And where?)
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:31:24
This is part of the online application.
zeeshan12 2021-02-23 20:31:27
what is the typical size (word count) of an essay? Apologies if this was asked previously.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:31:31
I'd say about a page.
iepstein25 2021-02-23 20:31:36
when will you notify students if they are accepted?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:31:50
We will announce admissions decisions on April 21st.
SundayMorning 2021-02-23 20:32:27
Ethan/13/Hamilton, Canada: Who can write me a reference letter?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:33:07
Here's some advice about rec letter writers:
jupiter314 2021-02-23 20:33:45
What do you recommend we learn before applying
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:34:09
We expect all Mathcamp students to be comfortable with high-school math through Precalculus. (Many applicants have already seen lots of Calculus, but others have not, and there are plenty of classes that do not require this.) Beyond that, the sky's the limit – there will be classes that you can jump into with no other math experience, as well as advanced topics that you might not expect to see outside of a graduate seminar.
rkallu 2021-02-23 20:34:22
How long do we get to accept or reject coming to the camp(assumung we are admitted)?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:34:44
After we release admissions decisions (on April 21st), the deadline to register will be May 21st.
firebolt360 2021-02-23 20:34:51
What do you look for in the personal statement?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:35:05
We're just looking to get to know you!
bobcats4thewin 2021-02-23 20:35:12
About how long are successful applicants' documents/work of the qualifying quiz?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:35:37
Oh, wow, that varies a lot. Sometimes, very sophisticated solutions are very short. Other times, they're very long.
zeeshan12 2021-02-23 20:35:47
what are the attributes you are looking for in a successful applicant?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:36:26
We're looking for students who are a good fit with the style of our program – who will make the most of the opportunities at camp and contribute to the camp community.
pschydlo 2021-02-23 20:36:56
What kind of qualities do you look for in a camper? Curiosity and/or mathematical maturity in terms of proofs?
xuehan24 2021-02-23 20:36:56
what do you mean by "mathematical maturity"?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:37:22
So, when you apply to Mathcamp, we don't ask for transcripts or standardized test scores (because we don't think they will help us to predict which applicants are ready for Mathcamp classes). Instead, we use the Quiz and your academic recommendation letter to give us a picture of your preparation.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:38:04
The Quiz is untimed because we've designed it to be more like a research project than like a competition, so we don't grade it like a competition. You can think of it as something to work on slowly. We're hoping your solutions will show us whether you're ready for Mathcamp's classes- that's what we mean by maturity.
nitwitty 2021-02-23 20:38:25
Is it okay to ask a humanities teacher or school-associated advisor for a personal letter of recommendation? (considering that the pandemic has prevented a lot of extracurricular socialization with adults)
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:38:41
Sure, as long as that person has gotten to interact with you outside of the classroom.
firebolt360 2021-02-23 20:38:45
How heavily are the AMC scores weighed? (Since the 10a will probably be released before the due date)
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:39:09
Competition scores aren't a big deal for us. 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.
sapphire1 2021-02-23 20:39:19
If an applicant is accepted this year but can't make it, do they have to apply again next year if they plan to join?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:39:30
Yes, generally speaking.
Anthony0512 2021-02-23 20:39:34
What is the average age for campers?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:39:43
I believe that the mean, median, and mode are all 16.
RedFireTruck 2021-02-23 20:40:03
if im a middle schooler will reccomendations be less important?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:40:13
Recommendations are important for everyone!
WorldPeace 2021-02-23 20:40:19
My math teacher does not write letters this year. Also none of my teachers this year have interacted with me outside of school. Can I ask an old math teacher (from a couple of years ago), to write a letter of rec?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:40:50
As long as you think they can accurately represent you, that's just fine.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:41:05
(A teacher from 3rd grade, probably not such a good pick. Last year, totally good.)
sapphire1 2021-02-23 20:41:18
What is a typical background of an admitted student - academics, extracurricular, etc.?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:41:38
Oh, this varies SO much, and that's part of what makes Mathcamp interesting: the community is incredibly broad and made up of all kinds of people.
thaemag 2021-02-23 20:41:44
When is the deadline
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:41:53
The deadline to apply is March 18th – about a month away!
Trigon10 2021-02-23 20:42:05
For the Qualifying Quizzes, is there a certain score that needs to be met?
look4pilot 2021-02-23 20:42:05
About how many questions should we aim for on the admission quiz?
dxs2016 2021-02-23 20:42:05
is there a certain number of questions one has to solve to get in?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:42:30
There's no minimum score. But we encourage you to try all the problems!
AmSo132 2021-02-23 20:42:37
Do you have a fixed percentage of international vs US and Canada students or does it change year to year?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:42:51
It changes a little from year to year; there are no quotas.
helenyeung 2021-02-23 20:42:56
It seems that the only a couple of 13 to 14 years old students got accepted into the program. Would you mind sharing some of their special talents or unique qualities?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:43:13
When younger students qualify for Mathcamp, it's because they're just as prepared as their older peers who are applying.
neutrinopuppy 2021-02-23 20:43:20
Do you have to do proofs (if you’re bad at them)? How formal do the proofs have to be? Also, if you are close to an answer but not completely done, is that ok to submit?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:44:15
Lots of us feel like we're bad at proofs sometimes. Your proofs for the Mathcamp Quiz don't have to be in the most formal language you can muster; they just need to be clear, precise, and as complete as you can make them.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:44:46
You're welcome to submit partial progress, and I encourage you to say what you do and don't know about a problem.
sapphire1 2021-02-23 20:44:53
Thank you for giving such a good description of the camp. You have truly been very detailed and descriptive. I am excited to apply.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:44:57
Wow, thank you so much!
WLongtin 2021-02-23 20:45:01
What is the typical acceptance rate?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:45:15
It's usually around 10-15%, but it varies from year to year based on the # of applications.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:45:19
(And the # of open spots.)
Anthony0512 2021-02-23 20:45:23
and just thanks to all the mods they really never get a shoutout.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:45:29
I know, right?? Yay team.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:45:47
Okay! Thanks, everybody, for all the questions about the application process.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:45:53
The field is open for *any* questions you have about Mathcamp, and we'll wrap up at 9pm ET.
bobcats4thewin 2021-02-23 20:46:04
If for some reason, you can't make it to class one day, what do you do?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:46:26
That's not a big deal; you can talk with your instructor and they'll help you catch up. (TAU is often a good time to catch them.)
polarys 2021-02-23 20:46:34
how are new students to the program introduced and welcomed? I imagine it can be intimidating and potentially overwhelming for new students, especially if they don't know anyone..
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:47:43
That's such a great question. One thing we do is introduce students (and staff) to one another first in the spring, via our Slack workspace. (Slack is like Discord but with message threads.) The campers organized lots of pre-camp activities to get to know people with similar interests.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:47:56
That way, by day 1, you already know lots of familiar faces.
mathy88 2021-02-23 20:48:38
Can we directly pick from the vegetable garden and eat the vegetables that we can eat raw whenever we are hungry?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:48:41
Trigon10 2021-02-23 20:48:44
What if I picked a class and want to change to another one later? Is that possible?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:48:46
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:48:56
You don't have to formally register for classes, so if you decide after the first day of a class that you'd rather do something else, you can just go to a different class on the next day. It's a little like how add/drop works in college: you can test out classes and see what you like. The instructors will be happy to chat with you in office hours if you missed the first day of a class but want to catch up and then join on the second day.
bobcats4thewin 2021-02-23 20:49:07
Of the age groups and how many campers were in each age group, what were the girl/boy ratios in the age groups?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:49:19
I think that gender ratios are pretty balanced across the age groups.
rench23sugar 2021-02-23 20:49:33
Is there an end of the year project/test, or is it a series of classes?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:49:42
There are no tests at all
Infomath 2021-02-23 20:49:46
Are most participants extremely talented in math?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:50:13
I usually think of it as: most participants are extremely passionate about math! But they're talented, too.
dxs2016 2021-02-23 20:50:22
how experienced are the teachers?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:51:09
The teachers are awesome. Many of them have been at Mathcamp for 10-20 years, and some of them are brand-new each year, and everybody is really experienced at communicating interesting math.
mathy88 2021-02-23 20:51:16
Do returning students go to the same classes as first timers?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:51:36
There's no stratification by age or new/alum status at camp, academically or socially: each student gets to decide which classes and events they attend, and we don't impose any restrictions for who can participate in what (based on age, or anything else).
pschydlo 2021-02-23 20:52:02
Do you expect that it will be more difficult to keep children engaged with long hours of computer rather than in person interactive classes? What has your experience between in the last edition?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:52:50
We definitely think a lot about Zoom fatigue. Five weeks is a long time to be participating in an immersive online program, and it's definitely possible to get burned out. (And we're all tired of looking at screens!) That's why the Mathcamp schedule is very flexible: you choose how much time to spend on Zoom. In my experience, people's choices varied a lot last summer and each student struck the balance that worked for them.
fidgetboss_4000 2021-02-23 20:53:00
what does the homework load usually look like for classes?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:53:14
Since doing math is often the best way to learn math, many classes will hand out problems at the end of each day. Sometimes, these problems will introduce new definitions or concepts, and you absolutely need to keep up with the homework to keep up with the class. For most classes, though, the homework falls somewhere on the scale between optional and recommended: it's a good way to reinforce the material, but not necessarily mission-critical. (Each class will indicate how important the homework is to understanding the material, so you'll get to take this into account when designing your class schedule.)
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:53:27
Homework at camp is not like typical high-school math homework: it's never boring! So hopefully you will want to work on your problem sets outside of class, regardless of whether it's necessary to keep up.
fidgetboss_4000 2021-02-23 20:53:35
is there still gonna be a talent show in online mathcamp?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:53:37
vsar0406 2021-02-23 20:53:39
Is prior success with competitive math (AMCs) a prerequisite for applying?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:53:41
bobcats4thewin 2021-02-23 20:53:44
About how old are the JC's?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:53:49
They're college-aged.
imimaginary 2021-02-23 20:53:53
Stephen/16/NJ: Do you have campers continue a project with your instructors after the camp? Do your instructors write rec letters for colleges or other programs?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:54:17
Sometimes projects do continue after camp, yes. And we do write a zillion recommendations.
Malu_2020 2021-02-23 20:54:20
This is a high school and middle school camp, correct?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:54:23
That's right.
cadg0q 2021-02-23 20:54:37
For VMC, is the number of accepted people the same or different compared to previous years when it was in person?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:54:44
It was about the same last year as in a typical year.
HappyUniverse 2021-02-23 20:54:49
Would VMC this year allow a student to, for instance, attend sports practice every evening or is the time commitment just too much?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:55:20
Yes and no. On the one hand, students always design their own schedule at Mathcamp, and it’s completely up to you how you spend your time. Technically, you can fit in other commitments as well, and there’s no reason to stop, say, your weekly piano lessons or nightly sports practice.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:55:45
On the other hand, Mathcamp is meant to be a full-time, immersive experience, even when it’s virtual. This is really really important to us, and our students last summer confirmed that it really worked! So we are asking every student at least to give Mathcamp a chance to be truly a full-time commitment.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:56:08
But if you fill your days with other commitments from the start, then you are really not giving Mathcamp a chance! You are basically deciding in advance that you will miss out on some of the most important aspects of Mathcamp: the friendships and the sense of community (not to mention all the interesting, wacky, and fun things that are happening at every hour of the day and night).
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:56:16
But as long as you think of Mathcamp as full-time in spirit, then continuing your regular daily and weekly commitments to music, sports, etc. is totally fine. Students practice their instruments and do sports at residential Mathcamp as well.
shruti26 2021-02-23 20:56:33
are there classes for subjects besides math?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:56:40
Our instructors are primarily mathematicians, but we have lots of other interests as well, and you're likely to see a handful of classes on connections between math and related fields, like computer science and physics. Last year, for example, we had classes on Markov chains and random walks, Math and literature, Complexity theory, Quantum mechanics, Voting theory 101, and "Let's reverse-engineer photoshop." (Here's a big list: )
rkallu 2021-02-23 20:56:45
Being online, will it be possible to attend 2 math summer programs in the same summer and did anyone do that last year?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:57:02
No, that's not really possible with Mathcamp; it really is a full-time commitment for the five weeks of camp.
ingmom 2021-02-23 20:57:15
Joy/parent/Michigan: Can you give me some examples of the optional (non maths) activities that were popular in 2020?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:58:15
Yes! Let's see. Campers and staff organized lots of ways to stay active, separately-but-together. There was, among other things, a ton of hip-hop cardio. There were tons of music events: campers and staff often organize musicals / Disney / Taylor Swift / etc singalongs (zoom karaoke, it's a choice), and we did some recording together last year of choral music (less goofy more dignified). I also ran a weekly singing-around-the-campfire activity where people brought guitars and ukuleles and played songs for one another.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:58:27
There were lots of cooking/baking events, where people voted on a recipe to make together, cooked/baked while hanging out on Zoom, and posted instagram-worthy photos of their creations on Slack afterwards.
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:59:43
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There were board game groups, philosophy discussion groups, anti-racism book groups, people taking walks separately-but-together, pancake making, blue tape bowling...
MarisaD 2021-02-23 20:59:52
The best part of camp is the creativity of the community.
rkallu 2021-02-23 20:59:57
How old is mathcamp?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 21:00:04
Our first summer was 1993.
WorldPeace 2021-02-23 21:00:10
If we have any specific questions to ask, where is a good place to contact/message on AOPS or on Mathcamp Website?
MarisaD 2021-02-23 21:00:30
You can email us here:

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