Personal Essay

Tell us a little more about yourself, your interest in math, and why you want to come to Mathcamp.

Most applicants answer in a few paragraphs, but there is neither a minimum nor a maximum word count for the personal statement: you can feel free to express your ideas at their natural length. Here are some examples of things you could talk about:

  • Tell us a little about yourself! What's important to you about who you are or what you do? What has shaped who you are today?
  • What do you hope to gain from a summer at Mathcamp? Do you have any specific goals for the summer, mathematical or otherwise?
  • What do you like about math? Are you interested in math for its own sake, or for its applications to other fields, or both? Are there specific areas or kinds of math that you enjoy, or that you are particularly curious about?
  • Tell us a little about your mathematical environment. What do you like about your school and community mathematical resources? What would you change if you could?
  • What have been some of the most satisfying / unsatisfying / horrible / inspiring / amusing events in your mathematical biography in the last few years?
  • Tell us about a really beautiful or compelling mathematical idea that you have recently encountered. What's so amazing about it?
  • Which of the problems on our quiz did you enjoy most, and why? Did you learn anything interesting from working on them? What were your least favorite problems, and what didn't you like about them? (Don't worry, we won't take it personally.)
  • In addition to being a place to study, Mathcamp is a community. How will you make Mathcamp a more fun, stimulating, welcoming place to be for everybody?
  • Is there anything unusual about your background that we should keep in mind when reading your application?

It goes without saying that there are no "right answers" to any of these questions: they're just here to give you an idea of the kinds of things we're curious about. You should definitely not feel obligated to talk about all of these topics, or any of them. Feel free to write about anything that could give us some sense of who you are – as a person, a mathematician, and someone with whom we might get to spend five weeks this summer.