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

Getting There, Getting Home, 2017

Arrival day is Sunday June 25, with a specific window of hours for arrival. Departure day is Sunday July 23, again with a window.

Arrivals and departures on other days are almost never permitted. Arrivals and departures on the specified day but outside the window are sometimes permitted, but only by special permission. This permission is never automatic, even for foreign students. Permission is never considered except for problems caused by difficulties in arranging travel. Anyone reading this page to plan travel for an admitted student has already signed the registration form, which contractually commits you to send your MathPather to attend for the full 4 weeks, no exceptions. If you must request an exception due to difficulty arranging travel, go immediately to the section Exceptions below.

Everyone must provide us a travel itinerary by May 15 as explained in the section Reporting at the bottom of this page.

For MathPath 2017 at Mount Holyoke College, there are 3 recommended ways to travel: car, train, and plane. Whichever way you come and go, please take into account that the first meal at MathPath will be the evening meal on Sunday, June 25; and the last meal at MathPath will be breakfast on Sunday, July 23 and will probably be a box breakfast for all (as many will eat it on the bus to the airport).

Travel by Car

We recommend that anyone living from New York City through New England come by car (and then maybe parents will want to stay a day or two to see what MathPath is like). Families from as far south as Washington DC, west through New York State, or north into Quebec should consider driving as well. People coming by car on June 25 should arrive between noon and 5pm. We recommend arrival in the early afternoon, after a good family lunch. Arrival before supper is important for social reasons. Our residence halls are the linked pair Abbey and Buckland. You can click on their names to find them on this campus map. There is limited short-term parking for drop offs in back of the dorms and overnight parking farther away. For driving directions to campus, and much more transportation information, click here.

People departing by car on July 23 may do so any time between 8am and noon. We recommend earlier rather than later. Why? See below.

Travel by Train

Our location is 20 minutes from Amtrak's Springfield MA station, where it is easy to find people and there are no security lines. Springfield has about 8 daily north-south trains each way (from Washington, New York and New Haven) and one east-west train each way (from Boston on the east and Chicago, Cleveland, and upstate New York on the west).

Like the airlines, Amtrak runs an Unaccompanied Minors (UM) program. Unlike with airlines it is free, but it is also restrictive. For details, click here. In particular, any UM 14 or under must participate in it, cannot change trains, and must travel entirely between 6am and 9pm. You also cannot buy UM tickets online. Caution: Several of the scheduled trains to Springfield from the south involve a change to a shuttle train at New Haven. You cannot book these as a UM. You must travel on one of the occasional Northeast Regional trains that go to Springfield, or the Vermonter.

However, up to 2 kids traveling with an adult travel for half price, so the price of 2 kids and an adult is the same as the price of 2 kids, and then the UM restrictions don't apply. Furthermore, train prices are much lower than airfare (if bought well in advance) and travel is much more comfortable. Check out Amtrak's website.

Please only schedule trains that arrive in Springfield on June 25 between noon and 5pm, and that depart on July 23 between 8am and noon, with closer to 8am preferred. (Why? See below.) We will pick up MathPathers at the station on June 25 and take them there on July 23, at no cost.

Travel by Plane

Our airport is Bradley International (flight code BDL) in Windsor Locks CT, halfway between Springfield MA and Hartford CT. This is the closest big airport to us, 45 minutes away. On some travel websites it is referred to as the Hartford airport.

Do not schedule flights to any other airport. Only schedule flights that arrive at Bradley on June 25 between 11am and 6pm. Those who arrive by 4pm, maybe 5pm, will get to MathPath in time for dinner. We allow arrivals as late at 6pm because, with time zone changes, only a few connecting fights from the west coast arrive before 5pm. But please don't book a flight which arrives at Bradley between 5pm and 6pm if another option arrives before 5pm; you'll miss dinner. We will have a box dinner for you, but you miss out on the initial socializing.

Departures on Sunday July 23: Please schedule flights that depart from Bradley between 6am and 10am.

Why so early?

Turns out kids have a thing about the last night of our program. They want to stay up all night, running around playing games with their friends from whom they will shortly have to leave. The MathPath staff does not encourage this behavior, but we allow it as harmless, and counselors supervise it. In any event most kids stay up. The best we can do is make the night shorter by leaving for the airport early. The first bus to the airport will probably leave by 4am. if your children are going to the airport early they should fly out early rather than wait around. You'll get to see them sooner too. Depending on how much sleep they get on their flight, they may still zonk out when they get home, but by dinnertime they will probably be coherent again – and happy.

So unless you are certain that your child really needs sleep, knows it, and wouldn't think of staying up all night, book him or her on the very first flight out of Bradley to your home airport.

It is always best to book nonstop flights if you can. However, there are no nonstops to Bradley from any international cities except Toronto, Montreal and Dublin. Also, there is only one daily nonstop round-trip from the West Coast (from LA) and currently only the westbound part is within our window. So, west coast and international families, please read this special west-coast/international information about booking connecting flights to Bradley.

Safe and Easy Travel

It is not necessary for parents to spend money to accompany their children. Parents are welcome to travel along, if they want to make a holiday out of a visit to western Massachusetts, or if they wish to attend MathPath for a day or two – short visits at the start or end of our program are welcome. (More information about visiting MathPath will be in the 2017 Pre-Program Briefing.) Any parent wishing to accompany his or her child from Bradley to campus on the MathPath shuttle may do so, room permitting, with prior notification, at a cost of $30 each way. Likewise, parents who want to accompany MathPathers on our shuttle from Amtrak's Springfield Station may do so, room permitting, with prior notification, for $15 each way. Except on arrival/departure day, or if there is no room in the shuttle, parents should plan to get to/from campus by public transportation or rental vehicle; see Mount Holyoke College's own travel page – scroll down it.

The first reason MathPathers may travel alone is the proven efficiency of our greeting procedure. Once again see our 2017 Pre-Program Briefing for more detail.

The second reason is the special supervision that airlines provide to youngsters when you have them travel with Unaccompanied Minor Status. For details about this, click here. UM status is a mixed blessing. It adds security but it also adds cost and sometimes severely restricts the flights that are available.


If you absolutely cannot schedule your arrival and/or your departure in the window, then do not schedule anything. Don't book a flight and do not plan your car trip. Instead, consult the Managing Director, Kip Sumner, at and explain your problem. Book only after you and Kip have agreed on a plan, which may be a very different plan than you originally propose.

Note: Give Kip 8 hours to respond, as he is in England. Then there may be the need for some emailing back and forth. Also, the only way to reach him is through the email just given. Other MathPath email addresses and phone numbers reach other people who do not make arrival/departure decisions for Kip. Therefore, if you think there may be a problem fitting in our windows, start planning early.

Reporting the Itinerary to Us

Logistically, the two travel days are the most complicated days of our program. For the safety of your child, we must have clear, correct and current information about his or her itinerary, even if you are traveling by car.

So once you set your itinerary, you need to tell us. Please use our online form for student travel (new this year; don't send email the way you did in previous years), at

You have until May 15 (or at this point a few days later) to complete this form.

Page last updated May 17, 2017
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