Recommendation Letters

In your Mathcamp application, you will need to include two recommendation letters: one academic letter and one personal letter.

Who writes the letters?

The academic letter should be from a mathematical mentor who knows you personally, preferably (but not necessarily) a mathematics teacher. The letter should comment on your creativity, initiative, and ability to work with others, as well as on your academic achievements. You might submit an academic recommendation letter from:

  • an instructor from another math enrichment program
  • your current math teacher
  • a math teacher you had last year, if she/he knows you better than your current instructor
  • your math team coach
  • an instructor at a Math Circle you attend

If you have attended another mathematics summer program recently (e.g.: BEAM, CTY, Hampshire, MathPath, PROMYS, Ross, Texas Honors...), we strongly encourage you to have an instructor from your summer experience write your academic recommendation letter. It doesn't have to be the program's director: choose someone with whom you've talked about math so that they can comment directly on your preparation for Mathcamp.

The personal letter should be from another adult who knows you personally, but is not a relative (and preferably not a teacher, unless you've worked with them in an unusual context - we're looking for someone who knows you outside the classroom). You might submit a personal recommendation letter from:

  • an employer or volunteer supervisor
  • a sports coach
  • a scouting or outdoor activity mentor
  • a choir, band, orchestra director
  • the faculty supervisor of a club you're active in
  • a leader in your faith community (e.g.: Pastor, Rabbi, Imam)

You can even ask a friend of your family to write the recommendation: pick any adult (other than a relative) who knows you well in a context outside of the classroom. This letter should address your maturity, independence, social and personal qualities. We are looking for students who are not only good at math, but who will thrive in the atmosphere of freedom and responsibility that characterizes Mathcamp, and who will make a positive contribution to the camp community. Do take the personal recommendation letter seriously! We have lots of ways to learn about your mathematical chops; this is our window into your character.

Who should not be your recommender?

We cannot accept letters of recommendation from relatives. (This is true even for homeschooled students.) We also need the letters to come from adults who have mentored you rather than peers (even peers who are slightly older, or peers who have already turned 18): the letter writer's distance helps them to write a thorough, thoughtful evaluation.

If you need help identifying the right choice for a letter-writer, feel free to contact us.

How do recommenders send us their letters?

In the online application, you will be able to simply enter each recommender's name and email address, and we will send them instructions for submitting the letter. (If you haven't started your application yet, get started here: You don't have to do it all in one sitting.)

If your recommender does not have access to email, you can give them an instruction sheet. (The instructions below are suitable for printing.) This sheet will tell the recommender the deadline and what we're looking for in the recommendations, as well as how to submit by fax or postal mail.

Here are instructions for your recommenders for 2018:

Point your recommenders to for centralized information.