FAQ About the Mathcamp Application Process

How the admissions calendar works

Can I apply now?

We are no longer accepting applications for Mathcamp 2024. Stay tuned for 2025!

What is the deadline for applications to Mathcamp 2024? Are applications considered on a rolling or equal basis?

The deadline to apply is March 6, 2024. We consider all applications received by the deadline on an equal basis. Learn more about dates and deadlines.

When do I need to apply for financial aid? When will we hear about scholarships?

Candidates who would like to be considered for financial aid should please submit completed financial aid applications at the same time as the application for admission (even though we review those components independently). After we have admitted a student, we will immediately review their scholarship application. We will do our best to make financial aid offers contemporaneously with offers of admission (or shortly thereafter, if we need any additional information from your family to put together the aid package).

I'm on the waitlist. When will I find out?

We invite students to attend Mathcamp off the waitlist one by one, as space becomes available. The waitlist is unordered, and we cannot tell you how high you are on the list: choosing the next student admitted depends on lots of factors, including overall composition of the camp. We will let everybody know no later than May 31st. Thank you for your patience!

What does a successful application look like?

How many problems from the Qualifying Quiz do I need to answer?

Most students who are admitted have given at least partially correct solutions to at least half the problems on the quiz. This does not mean that once you're done with a few problems, you should stop working! Not only is there a danger that some of your solutions may be incorrect, but, more importantly, the Qualifying Quiz is your chance to show us that you are really serious in your desire to explore new mathematics, and are willing to think hard about challenging topics. What we're looking for in the Quiz is for you to demonstrate that you are passionate and curious about mathematics. The Quiz is our chance to get to know your thought process, communication style, and the approach you take when you meet a challenging math problem. The "how" is at least as important as the "how many."

Will my amazing/terrible AMC/AIME/USAMO scores help/hurt my application?

Math competitions can be fun! And they can be an important part of your mathematical story, and the way you engage with math in your daily life. We will be happy to high-five you for your successes and take into account this evidence for your mathematical qualification. That said, competitions are not a substitute for the Qualifying Quiz. Furthermore, the students (and staff!) at Mathcamp run the gamut with respect to competitions: some are IMO gold medalists, and others have never taken an AMC in their lives. In the application process, success on the competition circuit doesn't guarantee your admission, and not getting very far in competition settings won't hold you back from getting into Mathcamp. It's not a strong correlation either way.

How do you select students?

First, we're looking for evidence in the application that a student is mathematically prepared for our curriculum. (If you aren't ready for Mathcamp's classes, then you won't have a good time at the program.) We learn about your mathematical preparation via several avenues in the application, but primarily from your Qualifying Quiz solutions. Once we've established that baseline and we're convinced that a student is mathematically prepared, we're looking for fit between applicants and the program. Your "About You" section is the primary way for us to learn more about you as a person and to understand what moves you to apply to Mathcamp. We're looking for students who will really benefit from Mathcamp, academically and personally.

Applying over multiple years

I applied to Mathcamp last year. May I re-use my recommendation letters this year?

Starting in 2024, recommendation letters are no longer part of the Mathcamp application! But you may list your previous recommender's contact information to serve as your reference. Just be sure to check with them first.

I was admitted to Mathcamp in a previous year, but did not attend. Do I have to reapply?

Yes, you do need to reapply. (And we would be excited to see another application from you!) We suggest that you mention your earlier admission in your personal statement, just to jog our memories, and use the "About You" section as an opportunity to share what you've been up to (e.g. how you spent the summer instead of coming to Mathcamp) and why you're applying again this year.

We have made occasional exceptions to this policy, such as offering deferred admission for international students whose visa applications were impacted by Covid-related embassy closures. If you are in this situation, we will contact you in the spring to invite you to claim your spot if you wish.

I attended Mathcamp last year, and I want to come back again this year. Do I have to reapply?

Hi, alum! Except in unusual circumstances, if you have already completed your first summer at Mathcamp, you are automatically welcome to return to camp in future years. Visit the alumni page for more information.

Common last-minute questions

What time is the deadline?

The deadline is officially 11:59 pm Eastern Time (UTC -5). We strongly encourage you not to submit at the very last minute; if everybody does this, the server will slow down considerably.

I just found out about Mathcamp / I have been very busy / I had computer issues. Can I have an extension?

No, we are unable to accept late applications; we will do the setup for review on the day immediately following the deadline, and do our first review of applications on the first weekend. (We have to keep to a tight schedule in order to return our decisions in a timely manner.) If your circumstances are truly extraordinatry, you may contact us to discuss.

After the Application

I have already submitted my application, but since then, I have won an award. Can I add information to my application after it's submitted?

Unfortunately, we do not have the staff capacity to update any applications after the submission deadline. (Sorry!) Please be assured that the work you've already done on the Qualifying Quiz and your "About You" section are the important components of your application, and that's what's important to us. In particular, no contest results in March or April, even making USAMO, will have any impact on your admissions decision, so even if you hear very good news, you do not need to update us.

How and when do you announce your admissions decisions?

We begin reviewing applications immediately after the submission deadline, and make our offers of admission on April 18th. At that same time, we place a small number of candidates on the waitlist, and notify all of the students who have not been selected for this year's program of their decisions.

All decisions are announced via email; please be sure that emails from mathcamp.org will be delivered to your inbox (and not to spam). (Need help? See our tutorial on how to whitelist emails.) You will also be able to see the full text of your decision by logging into appsys.mathcamp.org.

What if I need an early decision?

First: if you have another summer offer pending and have been asked to return a decision before the Mathcamp decision day, please start by contacting the other program and ask them if they would grant you an extension to make your decision. Only contact us after you have made a good-faith effort to secure an extension.

If you need a decision earlier than April 18th, you may contact us. Please include your application ID number (automatically created when you begin your online application), the date by which you need an early decision, and the specific reason for the request.

Please keep in mind that we are reviewing many hundreds of applications, and "it would be helpful to know sooner" is not a compelling reason; nor is "my parents would like to buy plane tickets for a family trip if I am not admitted, and airfare will get more expensive in April." On the other hand, "I have been accepted to Summer Program X and would need to place a non-refundable deposit on or before April 15th in order to secure my spot, but Mathcamp is my top choice. Receiving an admissions decision from Mathcamp by April 14th would take the gambling out of my summer planning." is a reasonable request, and one we would try to honor.

When reviewing candidates for early decision, we will give you a 'yes' or 'no' answer only if it's clear what the decision will be; if your application is in the middle of the bell curve, we may be unable to give you a final answer until decision day, in which case we'll let you know that you're still in the running, but that we cannot offer you early admission (and you can proceed accordingly). Note that it is very, very uncommon for us to offer early admission, but it has happened once or twice.

What if I submitted an application, but have since accepted another offer for the summer / decided to prioritize time with my family / been selected for my country's IMO team?

If, at any point during the application season, you have made other plans for your summer, you may withdraw your Mathcamp application from consideration – just email us to let us know. In fact, we find that very helpful.

Note that as of 2023, in order to reduce the possibility of introducing Covid-19 to camp through high-risk events, Mathcamp students and staff will not be permitted to come to camp within 7 days of attending an international olympiad (e.g. the IMO, ILO, etc). This effectively means that participants must choose between attending Mathcamp and representing their country in olympiad competitions over the summer.

What about late applications? If I missed the deadline, can I still apply?

Due to the large number of candidates, we are not able to accept late applications, as we begin reviewing applications immediately following the deadline and have a very tight turnaround. We publish a list of other programs we recommend whose deadlines are later than ours, and if you're still eligible next year, we encourage you to apply in 2025.