About You: the writing section

In your Mathcamp application, there will be an About You section: a chance for you to speak directly to the admissions committee about yourself and what motivates you to apply.

In a nutshell, we would like you to tell us a little more about yourself, your interest in math, and why you want to come to Mathcamp. Most applicants answer in a few paragraphs (typically 400–1000 words), but there is neither a minimum nor a maximum word count: you can feel free to express your ideas at their natural length.

The format is completely up to you: it can be a series of short answers, or one overarching narrative. In particular, this doesn't have to be a formal essay: in fact, we'll get to know you better if you write in your natural conversational voice. You could imagine you're talking about yourself to a friend. You're also welcome to get creative if you'd like: we've received lists, poems, puzzles, short stories, plays, letters – all kinds of things. Just use this space to introduce yourself to us.

In particular, we want to hear from you, not from ChatGPT. See our Policy on Getting Help for more details.

Below are some examples of things you could talk about (but don't feel obliged to respond to every prompt!).

We are particularly interested in hearing about...

  • How do you develop your interest in math?
  • Why do you want to come to Mathcamp? Do you have any specific goals, mathematical or otherwise?
  • What's something you do not because it's required of you, but just for fun?

You might also cover one or more of the following:

  • There's a very vibrant life at Mathcamp outside of the classroom! What camp activity would you like to see run (or even run yourself)?
  • Tell us about a really beautiful or compelling mathematical idea that you have encountered. What's so amazing about it?
  • As we're getting to know you, is there anything you think it's important for us to keep in mind? For example: if our picture wouldn't be complete without knowing about an aspect of your identity, or an animating passion that has been central to your life, then please tell us about it.

It goes without saying that there are no "right answers" to any of these questions: they're just here to help the admissions committee to understand the role that Mathcamp might play in your life, and the role that you might play in the Mathcamp community. That said, feel free to write about anything that could give us some sense of who you are – as a person, a mathematician, and someone with whom we might get to spend five weeks this summer.