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

Questions & Answers

The MathPath Experience – Campus Life

1. May we visit our daughter while she is at MathPath?

A. We welcome visits of a day or two. These are especially common at the start and end of camp, but parents who live within driving distance may visit at other times as well. Sometimes our host institution has a guest house or recommends nearby lodging. We encourage parents to attend plenaries (all-camp lectures), and with permission of the instructor to attend breakouts (small classes). On weekends (Sunday and Monday for us) you may even take your youngster off-campus overnight. There is also a form where parents may grant permission for friends or relatives to take your son or daughter off campus, although be mindful that MathPathers often don't want to be drawn away too much from activities with their new friends.

For further details, see our Precamp Briefing. This and various forms that parents of admitted students fill out can be viewed here. If the current year's Precamp Briefing is not available yet, the former year's Briefing will be shown.

2. What is the mix of work and play at MathPath? What sort of play is allowed? In particular, are games allowed on computers, cellphones, gameboys and the like?

A. For the mix of work and play, click on the link to the left for A MathPath Day. Keep in mind that math itself is a form of play for our students. As for what sort of play, the sort of electronic games you mention are not allowed. For a full answer,see the MathPath Recreation Philosophy.

3. Will the campers be grouped in some ways to work together or play together? If so, how will they be grouped?

A. The only official groups at MathPath are the counselor groups. Each counselor typically has 10 campers that s/he lives near in the dorm. Campers do some things in counselor group, e.g., walk from meals to class if this involves crossing a major street.

Other than that, the camp is quite fluid about grouping; people form and reform groups (by signing up) to participate in various interests, or to take various classes. For instance, students sign up for weekly breakout courses, daily athletic activities and weekend trips to attractions.

Also, we do a fair number of things all together, e.g., the 4 plenary academic sessions each weekday.

4. What are dorm-room arrangements? How many kids will share a room? Will boys and girls be in different parts of one dorm building or are they going to be in different dorms?

A. We have found that single rooms generally work best for students this age; they are not distracted by the issues of getting along with roommates. Usually we have one dorm and the girls have separate wings or floors. However, each host institution is different is terms of what is available and the cost. Counselors live in the general area of their counselees, and counselor groups are usually single sex and of roughly the same age.

5. I noted that the advisor to student ratio is 10:1. Are these advisors with the students throughout the day? Who are the advisors, and how are they chosen? If a student is uncomfortable with an advisor's actions and/or attitudes is there easy access to another adult?

A. The advisors (counselors, really) are with the students throughout the day in a non-intrusive manner and it is their responsibility to ensure that each student in their group is safe throughout the day, involved in all the main academic activities, participates in evening recreational activity, eats good meals and in sufficient quantities, speaks with home often, and is in bed by the specified hour. Advisors are selected based on their social skills from among the mathematically outstanding undergraduate students who apply. A student who is uncomfortable with an advisor's actions and/or attitudes is encouraged to talk about the matter to the Camp Director.

6. May a roommate be prearranged? May a student be given contact information for an unknown roommate prior to camp time?

A. The current policy of MathPath is to put all students in singles. This helps them go to bed on time and avoids any roommate difficulties that could become a distraction. If parents want their son or daughter to have a roommate, or to room near someone else, please inform us when registering for the camp, and this information will be given to the Camp Director for consideration before he creates the room assignments.

More generally, we understand you to be asking: is there some way to increase my child's comfort zone by arranging that s/he have a friend at camp? One thing we do is this: When several students have registered from the same metro area, we give them all each other's contact information several months before camp (except if a parent does not want contact information shared). They and their parents often begin to get to know each other in advance, and even arrange to travel together to camp.

Also, at camp kids generally make friends easily. They are so happy to be with other mathy kids like themselves.

7. Do students have telephone access in their room? I would like to verify that a call home is readily available.

A. The answer to your question has changed quite dramatically in the last few years. First, by 2010 almost all American colleges turned off landline phone access to dorm rooms – providing this service wasn't cost effective when almost all college students brought their own cell phones and preferred them. Second, more recently, it's not just people college age or older who have cell phones. Almost all MathPath-age students have their own phone, or access to a family phone. Therefore, our current policy, which went into effect in 2014, is that all MathPathers are required to bring a cell phone that works in the US. This phone will be available for a period each day to call home, typically just before bedtime, but other times can be arranged. See the Precamp Briefing for more details. We also recognize that there may be cases where a parent does not want a young child to have a cell phone yet. These parents will need to confer with our Camp Director.

8. What kind of food do you serve to the hungry participants? Are there nutritious and well-balanced meals of "brainfood" to ensure productive math "thinking"?

A. College/university cafeterias are very much into providing healthy and varied food these days.

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Page last updated December 20, 2014
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