Preamble (Motivation):

Our ideal size for Mathcamp is 120 students and 30 staff: big enough to offer a wide range of academic and social experiences, and small enough to be a close-knit community. In order to continue offering the opportunity for lots of new campers to come to camp, and to create a pipeline of alumni returning to camp to sustain the camp culture, we aim to bring at least 65 new students to camp each summer. We first invite alums to claim their spots, reserving places for up to 55 alums, and then allocate the remaining 65+ spots for new students.

The Policy:

First, alums eligible to return make a firm commitment about whether or not they want to come to camp this summer. Those alums who have indicated "Yes" will be included in the headcount. If 55 or fewer alums say "Yes", then all alums will have their spots confirmed and may then register. If 56 or more alums say "Yes", then we may ask some of those alums to take the summer off in order to preserve enough open spaces for new campers.

To do this we will sort the alumni into groups:

  • Group 1: This would be your third or more summer, and you have not yet taken a year off, and you currently have three or more summers of eligibility left.
  • Group 2: This would be your third or more summer, and you have not yet taken a year off, and you currently have two summers of eligibility left.
  • Group 3: This would be your third or more summer, and you have not yet taken a year off, and this is your last chance to come as a camper.
  • Group 4: This would be your second summer, or you have taken a year off.

In order to get down to 55, we will ask first Group 1, and if need be, also Group 2, to take the summer off. (It's theoretically possible that we could ask Group 3, but it's unlikely.) Those in Group 4 are guaranteed to have spots, even if there are more than 55 alums in Group 4.

If any alums are turned away, they will have the option to request a special exception.

The Implementation:

Step 1: Express interest.

Start by filling out a five-minute form, just to get on our radar as maybe wanting to come this summer. You should fill out this form even if you're unsure of your summer plans, and give us an approximate probability that you'll come back.

Important note: If you would like to apply for Financial Aid, please complete the financial aid application by the end of the "express interest" period. We will make decisions right away so that you can use that information in Step 2.

Step 2: Commitment.

Commit to a yes/no for the summer: we need a hard nose count.

  • Yes, I definitely want to come! (That means "I commit to a spot.") These are the N campers who have committed to spots.
  • No, I'm definitely making other plans. (That means "You can give away my spot," and takes you off the radar for this summer.)
  • Maybe. My summer plans are TBA: I'm interested in coming to camp, but I might also make other plans. In this case, we won't hold a spot for you, but you can later contact us to join the alumni waitlist if you decide you'd like to come. Feel free to write us to share more details about your "Maybe" situation when you press the "Maybe" button.

Step 3: Counting.

If N ≤ 55, then we terminate this algorithm and open up registration for everybody who claimed their spot.

If N ≥ 56, we move on to Step 4.

Step 4: If need be, we will ask some alums to take the summer off.

If too many alums definitely want to come to camp, we will (systematically and uniformly) ask some alums to take a summer off. There are many other excellent summer math programs, or you may even want to do (gasp) something else besides math.

We'll sort the N "Yes" alums into groups:

  • If this would be your third or more summer, and you have not yet taken a year off, and you currently have three or more summers of eligibility left (i.e., you are in ≤ 10th grade), you're in Group 1.
  • If this would be your third or more summer, and you have not yet taken a year off, and you currently have two summers of eligibility left (i.e., you are in 11th grade), you are in Group 2.
  • If this would be your third or more summer, and you have not yet taken a year off, and this is your last chance to come as a camper (i.e., you are in 12th grade or equivalent), you are in Group 3. (We expect never to turn away this group!)
  • If this would be your second summer, or if you have ever taken a year off, you are in Group 4. (Alums in this group are guaranteed to have spots at camp.)

Say N alumni want to return to camp, with N > 55. First, we'll ask all the members of Group 1 to take the summer off. If N - |Group 1| ≤ 55, then we're done! And the members of Groups 2 - 4 will have their spots confirmed and can all register. Otherwise, we'll ask the members of Groups 1 and 2 to take the summer off, proceeding through the list until we get down to 55 or to Group 4, at which point we open up registration to those with confirmed spots.

If we do end up turning away alums in your group, you can contact us to join the alumni waitlist in case alum spots later open up. If there are special circumstances in your situation, you can request that we make an exception for you. You would need to convince us that this summer at Mathcamp is truly crucial in your case, for reasons that are unique to your situation (not just because MC is such a great place and you love it so much). In particular, you would have to explain why another summer experience could not fulfill the same role. (Note that because alumni sign-ups are relatively early in the season, you will still have time to apply to other math summer programs, such as PROMYS or HCSSiM.) If we are able to make the exception, then your spot will be confirmed and you'll be invited to register.