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

How One Applied – 2017

New applications for 2017 are no longer being accepted – the online application form has been taken down. Recommendation forms and the QT will be taken down in a week. This page is here for informational purposes for those eager to apply next year. The application procedure for 2018 is likely to be the same.


We do rolling admissions, as explained farther down this page.

There are 4 parts to the application process, listed below. Exception: If you have been admitted to MathPath before click here.)

  1. Complete the online application. Do this as soon as you know you are interested, not weeks later when you are about to submit your Qualifying Test. Fill it out even if you are not 100% certain you want to go to MathPath or that you will be available for those 4 weeks. It takes only a few minutes to fill this form out, there is no cost, and it gets you on our radar. Either the applicant or a parent or guardian may fill out this form.

    At the very latest, submit your online application at least 48 hours before doing any of the steps below, or else the other things may get misplaced.

  2. Ask a math teacher, or math coach, or someone else who knows you through math to complete the confidential online academic recommendation form. This recommender cannot be a parent of the applicant, or other close relative, except by special permission from Prof Maurer. Give your recommender the URL of this page you are reading now, or the URL of the recommendation form itself, which is Also, give your recommender your code number (explained below).

    Please make clear to your recommender that we are not asking for a letter. We are asking him/her to fill out a form, with boxes to click and a few short answers to give, taking at most 15 minutes. The recommender should look at the form before drafting any responses; otherwise s/he is likely to waste time preparing the wrong sort of recommendation. You are welcome to look at the form as well, so you can explain to the recommender what's involved in your own words.

  3. Ask a different adult who knows you well in a non-academic capacity to complete the confidential online non-academic recommendation form. This might be a family friend, music teacher, athletic coach, scout leader, chess coach, pastor, etc. The recommender cannot be a parent of the applicant, or other close relative, except by special permission. Again, it must be a different person from your academic (math) recommender. Give your recommender the URL of this page, or the URL of the recommendation form itself, which is Make sure your recommender goes to the non-academic form. Also, give your recommender your code number (explained below).

    As with #2, please make clear to your recommender that we are not asking for a letter. We are asking him/her to fill out a form.

  4. Submit your work on the 2017 Qualifying Test, aka QT. The test packet includes detailed instructions about how you must work by yourself and how to submit your work.

    Importance of the Qualifying Test. By far the most important part of your application is the Qualifying Test. It is the only mathematics work we consider in deciding admission. On the online application form there are boxes where you can tell us about your accomplishments in mathematics competitions, but those tests tend to be very different from our Qualifying Test. Your results on those tests may result in merit scholarships if you are admitted, but they are not taken into account in deciding admission.

    So, do as well as you can on our QT, and do not rush. It is better to take a few more days to think and write good solutions than to rush through the Test and submit sloppy incomplete solutions.

    Rolling Admissions. For most of the application year, we have no fixed closing date for applications. We either accept applications or decline them in the order students complete them, deferring very few. For us a full program is 105 students. When we have enough completed applications to register around 80 students, (typically in early March) we switch over to a due date system. On our homepage we will announce two dates, 1) the last date up to which completed applications are guaranteed to get full consideration, and 2) a final closing date, after which the online application is removed and we will not consider any applications that are not already complete. Applications completed between the two dates form a cushion for us; we look at them if it turns out we still have seats, and to create a waiting list. Between the time we announce the closing date and the closing date, only the strongest and weakest applications will be decided on a rolling basis. The rest will be deferred until we have read all the applications completed before the guarantee date.

    At this last stage, there are typically many applications chasing only a few seats, so admission is particularly selective. In general, your chances are better if you complete your application much earlier.

    Code Number. As part of submitting your online application form, you will be asked to make up a 4-digit code number, which you will then give to your recommenders. This will help us verify submissions and link them to you. Please make a record of your number, so you won't forget it.

    Registration. If you are admitted, we will email you a Registration Form along with your admissions decision. To reserve a place, you must return the Registration Form in a timely manner, along with your payment. Many families pay in full within days of admission. This also has the advantage of a fee reduction; the earlier you pay the more the reduction. However, all that is necessary to reserve a place is a deposit of $1000, so long as full payment is completed by May 31.

    If you are eligible for financial aid, with the admission notice we will send you information about determining the amount. Your situation may affect when you pay as well as how much.

    How to Submit Materials. All hardcopy submissions should go to our Executive Director, Prof Stephen B Maurer of Swarthmore College. All electronic submissions should go to our Academic Assistant, Henry Zhang, a senior at Swarthmore College and former MathPath counselor. Acknowledgments may come from either person.

    Except for payments, where we prefer hardcopy checks, we prefer all submissions to be electronic, typically as attachments to email. Prof Maurer's email address is Henry Zhang's email address is For hardcopy mailings, we now usually ask you to use Prof Maurer's home address:

    MathPath c/o Prof Maurer
    206 Benjamin West Ave
    Swarthmore PA 19081-1421

    If you must send hardcopy, there is no need to use express mail or priority mail, unless you are very close to a deadline or outside the USA; regular first class mail is almost as fast and much less expensive. Save your money for activities at camp! In particular, do not use Cerftified Mail or any other service that requires a signature. If we are not home when such mail arrives, the post office takes it back and it requires a lot of extra work to get it redelivered. We will acknowledge all received mail, or you can get tracking by sending it as a first class package or as priority mail.

    Canadians: regular mail between Canada and the US is improving. What you call Lettermail and the US calls first-class mail generally gets from anywhere in Canada to Swarthmore in a week.

    If you are close to a deadline, please confer with Prof Maurer by email before mailing anything.

    Confirmations. Each time we receive an item for your file (online application, recommendation, QT, registration, forms required of attendees) we send you an email acknowledgement. If you are expecting a confirmation, wait 2 days, and if it has still not arrived check with our Academic Assistant.

    We will also inform you by email when you file is complete and give you an estimate of how long it may take to give you a decision. Last year it sometimes took 2 months.

    Page last updated April 1, 2017
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    The MathPath Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.