Advanced Summer Program for students age 11-14
who show high promise and love mathematics


Questions & Answers

The MathPath Experience – Competing Interests

1. My son loves AoPS online courses. He will take an AoPS class from Feb. to July every Wednesday. Will he be able to use a computer to finish the course at MathPath will for me will for me puts among the sofa over there thank you as you look at some, including some time to do the homework?

A. The answer to your question is not a simple Yes or No. We are fans of AoPS and they are fans of us. In particular we have a statement from Richard Rusczyk, AoPS president and founder, that he would not want their online courses to get in the way of personal mathematical interaction among the students at MathPath or similar programs. When kids have the opportunity to have high level interaction in person they should choose it over online courses.

MathPath is pretty intensive; it requires concentration most of the day. Therefore we discourage participation at camp in competing activities that also require long periods of concentration over many days. Fortunately, generally we find that taking one AoPS course during MathPath is not a time conflict with time needed for MathPath work. However, we don't allow a student to take two or more AoPS courses, and we never allow a student to attend an AoPS online session while some required MathPath activity is going on (which is much of the day; see our daily schedule online).

Fortunately AoPS archives class meetings and understands that MathPathers may have to leave the class halfway through, or join halfway into it, or miss it entirely - and study the archive later.

On the issue of computer use to take an AoPS course, starting in summer 2018 we have had our own portable lab of chromebooks for computer purposes, so students don't need to bring their own computers and in general are not allowed to. Again the issue is, when your child wants to take the AoPS course is the lab already booked for a MathPath course homework session and if so will there be a free computer that can be dedicated to your child?

Bottom line: there are a lot of impediments to taking an AoPS course at MathPath, and so we mildly discourage it, but generally, if a student is already committed it can be worked out. If your son applies, is accepted, and enrolls, promptly contact the Camp Director, who will let you know what can be done, or will point you to someone else who can.

2. My child is a serious competitive swimmer. She practices at least an hour each day. Will she be able to do this at MathPath?

Note: We have gotten the same question with "swimmer" substituted out for "figure skater", "cross country runner", "pianist", "violinist", etc.

A. The guiding principle is the same as for AoPS courses above: MathPath requires concentration most of the day. Therefore we discourage participation at camp in competing activities that also require long periods of concentration over many days, and we forbid participation in activities that take place at the same time as required MathPath activities.

There is a further consideration when the activity requires physical facilities such as a swimming pool with lifeguards, or a practice room with a high-quality piano. At colleges over the summer such facilities may have limited hours, hours that conflict with required MathPath activities.

Bottom Line: for your most important activity we can probably arrange a few shortened practice sessions each week. Think of it as basic maintenance, not intense training. Exception: If your activity can be carried out in your dorm room (e.g., violin practice), you can practice whenever you have free time.

if you apply to MathPath, are admitted, and enroll, to see about setting up a practice schedule contact Camp Director April Verser.

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