Bryn Mawr College's MathILy (serious Mathematics Infused with Levity) is a residential summer program designed to provide an intensive mathematical experience for high school students. The program runs for a total of five weeks, and admits students from all over the world. This is a fairly selective program designed for students with a strong passion for mathematics, problem-solving, and new ideas.
In this blog, we have covered all there is to know about MathILy, including its eligibility criteria, costs, important dates and deadlines, and 7 compelling reasons to apply to the program.
Who is eligible?
The program is open for all mathematically-talented high school students to apply to (including international students).
What are the costs?
The cost of the program is $4950, or $990 per week for five weeks. This fee covers the cost of all housing, dining, courses, and more. There is need-based financial aid available to qualifying admitted students.
What is the program structure?
Classes will meet for about 7 hours per day, in two shifts (morning and evening), for 6 days a week. The first two weeks of the 5-week program will be “root classes,” which consist of a variety of different topics on mathematics to give each student a base on which to grow. The third week is the “week of Chaos,” in which there are many short classes with topics suggested by both students and instructors. The final two weeks offer more advanced classes within the students’ interests.
What are some important dates and deadlines?
For the 2023 program, applications received before April 25, 2023 received full consideration. The program is typically held from the end of June to the end of July.
If you are admitted, you must pay half the fee to reserve your spot. The full fee is due by May 25th.
How do you apply to MathILy?
If you choose to apply, you should expect to fill out the following four components
A Short form, linked here
An Exam Assessing Readiness (EAR)
A Not-as-short form, linked here
A recommendation by a mathematics teacher
After filling out the short form, you will receive the EAR, which you should be prepared to spend about 4 hours on. MathILy takes rolling submissions starting in the Spring of each year.
Is MathLy Competitive?
MathILy is an engaging but competitive program - only 45 total students are admitted each year out of hundreds of applicants! Note that it is quite selective as a program, about as selective as an elite college. However, keep in mind that this selectivity does not indicate no chance of getting in!
Here are 10 reasons why we think it’s a great experience, and worth applying to.
1.The program is an intensive experience in mathematics
MathILy offers an intense and immersive mathematics experience that goes far beyond what is typically offered in high school. You will engage in extremely advanced mathematical topics and problem-solving at a college level and beyond. This is perfect for those passionate about mathematics and looking for the next level. MathILy emphasizes mathematics that is pure but applicable, with classes taught using only discovery and collaborative-based learning. There is a particular focus on discrete mathematics, which underpins about half of pure mathematics and of operations research as well as all of computer science. This is a unique and exciting environment for learning math that cannot be rivaled in terms of high school experience.
2. MathILy invites world-class faculty
The program features renowned mathematicians as instructors and mentors. Each class has a Lead Instructor who is a professor or mathematician with a Ph.D. and one or two Apprentice Instructors who are graduate or undergraduate mathematics students. These instructors are all experts in their fields, giving students the chance to learn from the best in the mathematical community. As high school students, it’s a huge opportunity to have round-the-clock access to these experts. They will serve as your resource for the five weeks of the summer, but also for the rest of your life. These instructors would be able to write a fantastic letter of recommendation, or provide a future research opportunity. This is a huge networking opportunity if you are looking to pursue a future study or career in mathematics.
3. You will study and immerse yourself in diverse mathematical topics
MathILy covers a wide range of mathematical subjects. This means that no matter your interest in mathematics, you will be sure to both broaden your horizons and dive deeper into the subject you are most interested in.
Combinatorics, graph theory, theoretical linear algebra, number theory, and more will be offered to help students acquire a common core background. This encourages you to explore various branches of mathematics, as well as discover their own areas of interest. Each topic is treated using inquiry-based learning to maximize the growth of each student in all areas.
This means that the courses are not lecture-based, but discussion-based, with students asked to share their thoughts and questions at all times. This can really help a beginner student feel more comfortable and confident in taking control of their own learning, and help instructors create a targeted approach to maximize each student’s specific learning experience.
4. You will participate in a highly collaborative environment
At MathILy, you will be around similarly mathematically enthusiastic peers for five weeks, and will learn to work closely with them. While mathematics sometimes seems like it’s a single-person sport, at MathILy, collaboration will be at the core of your work at this camp. Instead of sitting through lectures all day, students will be given the chance to collectively advance class knowledge. You will find that the best results come from working together, not individually. This collaborative atmosphere fosters intellectual growth, teamwork skills, and creative discussions, as well as friendships that will likely last long after your five weeks end.
5. You will receive comprehensive feedback over the course of 5 weeks
Instructors and classes are focused on training and mentoring so that all students, no matter what level they are at, will see a huge increase in their skills, capabilities, and confidence. Students are given consistent feedback on their written work, verbal presentations of mathematics, points to work on, and more. This sort of training is built into each class, so that students learn to think more efficiently, write more precisely, and explain more clearly. Thus, it is not only your mathematical skills that will improve, but your skills as a mathematician. This sort of feedback will be incredibly valuable for a future career in mathematics.
6. You’ll get to experience college life while still in high school. By attending MathILy, high school students will get a small taste of college life. You’ll eat in their dining halls, live in their dorms, interact with college-level instructors, and experience the independence and responsibility that comes with college life. This is a great opportunity to prepare yourself for what college will be like.
7. You will build a great network
Because of its selective nature, MathLy will draw peers who have a strong aptitude and passion for math. This adds to the immersive nature of the program, surrounding you with talented students from all over the world. From the website, it also seems pretty clear that you’ll have fun! You’ll also be sharing your space with MathiLy-EST students, who are gifted college students attending a similar program.
Capture from the 10th edition of MathILy
Photo credits: MathiLy website
8. You’ll build a good foundation and understanding for research in mathematics
The program focuses on, not only teaching concepts, but helping students build mental frameworks on how to apply concepts. There is a focus on discussing research and applications of mathematics in research. Check out some of the material they have shared here on examples of applications of discrete mathematics and research/corporate applications. We loved the example of game design where they discuss how Computer graphics (such as in video games) use linear algebra in order to transform (move, scale, change perspective) objects.
9. You will take a trip to Philadelphia
The program website indicates that there will be at least one trip to Philadelphia. This means that you’ll be spending some time away from the core Bryn Mawr campus, which can be a nice change!
10. You will receive individual evaluations
Instructors will write individual evaluations that include descriptions of student work and progress as well as suggestions for improvement. The website also mentions that in most cases, these can easily become letters of recommendation.
Our Review of MathiLy
The MathILy website has shared some of its own thoughts on the program and indicates that it is comparable in level and intensity to selective programs such as Mathcamp, SUMaC, HCSSiM, PROMYS, and the Ross Program. Based on what we’ve read, we agree!
The program doesn’t come cheap at close to $5,000 but given the immense learning takeaways and the structured taste of college life, if you want both experiences in one program and want it to be math-oriented, then MathiLy is a pretty solid contender.
You don’t feel ready for MathLy? Then consider MathILy-Er: This is also a selective program that trains students who are not yet ready for MathILy and brings them to the MathLy level.
Lumiere Research Scholar Program
If you are passionate about research (including research in math or applied math fields!) then you could consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.
Amelia is a current junior at Harvard College studying art history with a minor in economics. She’s enthusiastic about music, movies, and writing, and is excited to help Lumiere’s students as much as she can.
Image Source: MathILy logo