We publish the Qualifying Quiz for Mathcamp 2017 in January, and that's a good time to get started.
The Quiz problems are meant to be considered at your leisure, and we hope that they're the sorts of problems that will stick with you. Think about a problem while you're waiting in line for the bus, have a breakthrough in the shower, wake up with a new idea and scribble it in a bedside notebook. Then sit down on a weekend, after a good night's sleep, and start shaping your ideas into airtight solutions. We've chosen to make the Quiz untimed (and to publish it months before the deadline) because the experience should be more like doing research than like cramming before a deadline; you'll enjoy it much more if you take your time.
When we select applicants for Mathcamp, we use every piece of data we collect: the Quiz, the personal essay, letters of recommendation, and mathematical background. We evaluate not only mathematical strength, but a much broader question: which applicants are the best fit for Mathcamp. As you're getting started with your application, we encourage you to think of the personal essay as an opportunity to help us get to know you. Similarly, when you're selecting recommendors, pick adults who can vouch for your credentials and help us to understand the ways in which you'll contribute to the Mathcamp community.
In recent years, Mathcamp has exploded in popularity, but our number of spots remains the same (and we don't have plans to open a second site). To select our students, we do read every single essay! Make yours count.