Alumni Policy Q&A

Where does this policy come from?

As an alum, you do not need to submit a new application: we already know you and we want you back. However, Mathcamp is a limited resource. In 2006 and 2007, the percentage of returning alumni grew so large that we became concerned about leaving enough space at the camp for new students, and so we created the first alumni return policy, giving priority to those coming for their second summer at camp, as well as those who have already done the community service of taking a summer off and freeing up their spot. Based on camper input (thank you, campers!), we've modified the policy as of 2017 to give tiered priority depending on number of remaining eligible summers.

Where does the number 55 come from?

The cap of 55 alums has been calculated to keep the ratio of new campers to alums as consistent as possible. According to historical data, the average Mathcamper comes for approximately 1.8 summers, implying that we should have 67 new campers and 53 alums to maintain a stable ratio. The alumni policy is designed to keep Mathcamp as close to these values as possible: should the number of interested alums ever stray too far above (i.e., above 55), we will turn away as few alums as possible in a uniform and deterministic way.

(If we instead were to turn away lots of alums, we could drop too far below the stable number of alums, and the larger new camper population would become a larger than usual number of alums the next year, creating a vicious cycle where alums are even less likely to be able to come to camp.)

Describe this "alumni waitlist". How does it work?

  • Who can join the alum waitlist?
    Any alum is eligible to join the waitlist. This includes those who said "Yes" during the commitment phase but whose group was asked in Step 4 to take time off, as well as those who said "Maybe" during the commitment phase, and those who decided after the initial sign-up period that they would be interested in returning.
  • I'm in one of those situations. How do I join the alum waitlist?
    Easy: write us an email.
  • Is this the same as the new camper waitlist?
    No, we keep a separate waitlist for alums so that we can give alums special priority whenever we have room for more alums.
  • Who gets priority?
    Our waitlist is not ordered. Whenever spots open up, the admissions committee will take into account all factors, including who is in what group and any special circumstances, to make waitlist decisions that are as fair and uniform as possible.
  • When will alums on the waitlist get decisions?
    Good question; it's going to vary a bit from year to year. We'll keep everybody posted about their status, with updates starting in early April (after those who said "Maybe" have had a chance to join the waitlist, and anyone who was turned away has had a chance to apply for exceptions or join the waitlist) and periodically throughout April and May. Everybody's status will be determined by May 31st.

I have other questions/ideas/comments/suggestions/praise!

Cool: we love hearing from alums. Email us.