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

Who Applies to MathPath?

Most students who apply to MathPath are enrolled in grades 6, 7, or 8 at the time of application, unless they are homeschooled. Only the age requirement applies.

The Age Requirement: Students should be in the age range of 11-14 years. Assuming that the first birthday of a person is the day they complete the age of one year, the student should not be 15 before the end of the camp, whereas the student should be 11 by the start date of camp. Since the camp begins on either the last Sunday of June or the first Sunday of July and ends on the fourth Sunday after, we use the following formula as the age requirement: The applicant's birthdate must fall on a date from July 30, Y-15, to June 30, Y-11, where Y means the year of the camp. The birthdate can fall exactly on July 30, Y-15, or June 30, Y-11. Exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis, but no exception will be granted for students born earlier than July 30, Y-15.

Once you satisfy the age requirement, you must complete a number of problems on the Qualifying Test. See the How to Apply page for details.

Students from anywhere in the world are eligible to apply. Over 80% of the student body is from US schools, the next group is Canadian, and the remainder made up of other nationalities.

Would I qualify?

The students we are looking for possess three mental attributes – they are smart, they love math, and they are tenacious. How do we find out if you love math, and are smart and tenacious? We find out through your performance on the current year MathPath Qualifying Test (available through the How to Apply page) and your teacher's recommendation letter. In deciding admissions, we do not consider standardized tests like the SAT, nor do we consider national contest scores.

So start working on this year's Qualifying Test. Most students need to think about the test on and off for some time, maybe even a month, before they have done all they can do. So take some time. Do not submit your test until you have tried hard to answer every question you can understand, and try to understand every question. If you do 3 or 4 problems really well, you may be admitted, though most students get admitted by getting some credit on almost every problem. Papers where several problems are omitted entirely rarely result in admission.

Am I overqualified? Should I apply to MathPath or to a high school math summer program?

We receive many applications from students who are already taking all of their math at the high school or college level. These students or their parents wonder if it is better to send them to a program for gifted high school students because their youngster has "skipped" lower level math courses and, similarly, skipping to a older age group summer program might be more beneficial. Generally these students find that MathPath is the right program after all. Prof. Thomas, who is the founder of both MathPath and the Canada/USA Mathcamp (a high school camp) has this to say:

After establishing and running a high school summer program, I started MathPath for the highly gifted middle school students. The distribution curve of student ages in high school camps is a bell curve skewed to the right, with the median at 16 years. This means, there will be far more 18-year-olds than 14-year-olds at high school camps, and even fewer 13-year-olds. A scenario could be two 13-year-olds, five 14-year-olds, twenty 15-year-olds, forty 16-year-olds, thirty 17-year-olds, twenty 18-year-olds, and eight 19-year-olds, which makes it uncomfortable for the two youngest groups. At MathPath, the middle school students will have peers in the age range of 11 to 14 years. Secondly, while the highly gifted student benefits from the acceleration provided by skipping of middle school math courses, MathPath instruction should not be skipped by these highly gifted students. MathPath is not acceleration but enrichment for the very gifted.

In short, even if a student has already done all the standard math courses in high school and early college, he or she will not have done most of the topics covered at MathPath, and will be challenged and enriched by studying them.

Families who are concerned whether MathPath is at the right level, either too high or too low, are welcome to inquire with us. The first step in helping you make a decision is almost always for you to submit the Qualifying Test. If a student thinks s/he has done very well on it and we agree, and the student has already had a lot of enrichment, then sometimes we do recommend application to a high school camp as well as to MathPath. We say as well because the most advanced high school camps have become extremely selective about admitting students of middle school age; you have a better chance of admission to MathPath. Also, students often overestimate how well they have done on our QT. For instance, they think they aced it. No one has ever gotten a perfect score on our QT.

MathPath encourages applications from girls and minority students. Whereas the US/Canada national population figures show that girls should comprise 50% of the camp enrollment and minorities – other than of oriental descent – at least 25%, the current figures at MathPath are only about 33% and 2%, respectively. We are very pleased that since MathPath was founded our percentage of females has risen from 20% to 33% and sometimes higher; but this is not enough. While every student at MathPath must qualify based solely on merit, we encourage teachers to ensure that their female and minority students also receive the information on MathPath.


Page last updated September 20, 2015
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