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

Questions & Answers

Quality of the MathPath summer program

1. How long has the summer program MathPath been in existence?

A. MathPath was established in 2001. The first summer camp was held in 2002. The organizers of the program are individuals with long experience in running similar programs for high school students and problem solving seminars for middle school students. Please see the "MathPath Story" page.

2. Where can we get references from other professionals and professional organizations? About the program and its faculty?

A. See the Parent Comments. Each member of the faculty is either a world-class mathematician, or a university/college professor who has had experience in training profoundly gifted middle or high school students, or a secondary school math teacher who is equally well experienced in working with high gifted students.

3. It looks like MathPath's credibility is limited to the credentials of the staff and the training provided. That's fine, but can you demonstrate to me that major universities recognize the Mathpath program? In other words ....IS IT ACCREDITED? Here is what we are trying to determine. When Christopher applies for college, we want examiners to "raise their eyebrows" at his completion of an accredited or well recognized summer math program. In contrast to them saying, "What a great extracurricular activity, I'm sure that we will take that into consideration."

A. No government or eduational body issues accreditations for camps, even academic camps. So you are not really asking the right question. We feel the right question(s) is: (i) Does the program provide a safe environment? (ii) Does the program suit its gifted clientele? The answer is "yes" at MathPath. You could say Safety + Math enrichment for the highly gifted + Fun = MathPath. MathPath students go on to become national champions and/or top finishers in the annual Mathcounts national competitions – see some pictures. )

Your point about accreditation still quite relevant, for, in time, there will arise more programs for the gifted middle school students and accreditation would ensure that at least the accredited programs meet the standards. However, I am not sure if it will raise eyebrows even if the student attended the top summer program for the highly gifted in mathematics. It is personal achievements attained only by a few that raises eyebrows. For the applicant to a university, such attainment can only be in the form of pointers to extreme talent or significant potential. Here is the eyebrow-raising university applicant accomplishment in mathematics: A media report of the student's solution of a famous long-standing unsolved mathematics problem. However, this is very rare, if not unheard of, due to the fact that long-standing mathematics questions have been worked on by mathematicians, and a student solution using the elementary mathematics the student knows is unlikely. Therefore, high achievements for university applicants are the following: Qualify to be either on the US International Math Olympiad Team, or among the top ten in the Mathcounts National Competitions, or complete a substantial research project while still in high school. A substantial research project is not one that discusses or explains another's discovery or an illustrated essay on a topic, but one that produces a non-trivial result. It would takes us too far to discuss this but I will end this by saying that a trivial result would be like an immediate corollary of a known theorem. And that is about achievements on the theoretical side. Achievements in art, music, or social advancement also count. We are not discussing athletics!

The concern about raising eyebrows is the wish to see that the student is accepted. Since the mathematical ability of a MathPath attendee is far above that of the average math student at any university in the world, it should be the case that the Mathpath student's future application to the most selective universities would be successful. I have observed this for a generation of students who went through the Canada/USA Mathcamp, the high school program that is closest in structure to Mathpath. Finally, while the concern for raising the eyebrows of the folks who determine the university selection is natural, future greatness in mathematics is achieved not by all who become stars in national contests or who shine early; there are equally able students who do not like to be involved in the rat race of problem-solving nor are the national contests held in all schools.

We would like to point out that the purpose of sending a student to MathPath is to provide the student with the opportunity to be at a suitable summer program for the highly gifted middle school students. MathPath is held in answer to this question: What is the enrichment experience appropriate for the student who loves mathematics?

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Page last updated June 5, 2010
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