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Ross Mathematics Program: 5 Reasons To Apply

Are you ready to take your passion for math to the next level? Then you should learn more about the Ross Mathematics Program and consider applying for it! Founded in 1957 by Dr. Arnold Ross, a mathematics teacher and educator, this selective summer program is designed for high school students who crave a challenging and rewarding mathematical experience. With an acceptance rate of less than 20%, the Ross Program looks for academic excellence and dedication in its participants.

Over the course of six weeks, students will be immersed in an intensive mathematics curriculum that covers a wide range of topics, from number theory to combinatorics. Led by experienced and passionate instructors, students will collaborate with their peers to solve complex mathematical problems, gaining invaluable skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and independent learning.

Where does the Ross Program take place?

The 2023 Ross/USA Program will have in-person, six-week, residential sessions at two locations between July and July.

1. Otterbein University in Columbus; Ohio

2. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana

Applications generally close in April.

Who is eligible to participate?

  1. Ambitious pre-college students, between the ages of 15 and 18. Students should demonstrate an interest in mathematics and science. In rare cases, older students are accepted.

  2. Applications are assessed on multiple criteria, including school transcripts; teacher recommendations; essays concerning the applicant’s interests and goals; and work on some challenging math problems.

  3. There is no bar on international students from applying. In fact, a sizeable number of international students are accepted into the program!

What is the cost to attend?

Each Ross student is asked to pay a program fee of $6000. These funds are used to pay for six weeks of room and board, to hire instructors and counselors, and to cover incidental costs of developing and running math courses. Financial aid is available.

Program structure

The program is conducted over a six-week period in the summer. Students attend 10 hours of classes per week (five in lectures and five in small-group meetings). The rest of the time is spent on solving problem sets and working on further independent projects.

The program covers various topics, but Number Theory was chosen as the central topic for the Ross Program. The website mentioned that Number Theory has been chosen “because many of its ideas are close to the surface and easily noticed, but deeper concepts and connections are available for exploration”.

5 reasons why you should participate in the Ross Mathematics Program

1. Build a stronger understanding of mathematics

The math curriculum at Ross is designed to be rigorous and challenging, covering topics that are typically not taught in high school. The math problems themselves are at the college-level, providing an exceptional opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of various topics within Number Theory.

Throughout the program, you can expect to cover a wide range of topics, including but not limited to Euclid's Algorithm, Modular Arithmetic, Binomial Coefficients, Quadratic Reciprocity, and Resultants. These concepts will be explored in-depth and will help you develop a stronger foundation in mathematics. Here is a sample problem sets!

2. Build skills such as critical thinking, collaborative learning, and independent work

While building a solid understanding of mathematics is valuable, the Ross program takes it a step further by helping you develop skills that have wider applications and can shape your overall personal and academic growth.

One of the ways the program achieves this is by offering opportunities for both group work and independent study. This balance fosters collaboration while also promoting self-driven, individualized learning.

Through group work, you'll have the opportunity to exchange ideas, discuss concepts, and debate potential solutions with your peers. This allows you to gain insight into different approaches and thought processes, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding of the material.

Additionally, the program offers individualized mentorship, allowing you to work independently on your project with the support and guidance of a mentor.

Wondering if other participants loved it? Here’s one experience.

3. Learn from expert faculty

The program has senior faculty and counselors teaching the students. Counselors are often undergraduate students with a strong background in mathematics. They check solutions and provide feedback to participants fairly quickly.

Senior faculty include the program director at Ohio State University, Prof. Daniel Shapiro. This should give you an idea of just how close-knit the program is!

4. Build an amazing network of mentors and peers

Due to the rigorous selection process and the prestigious reputation of the program, you’ll find yourself surrounded by highly talented peers and solid counselors/mentors. This program attracts top mathematical talent in the country.

The sense of community at Ross is something that deserves special mention. Counselors live in the dorms with the students and take charge of a small “family” (four to five students). Junior counselors are often former Ross participants!

It’s not all math, check out some stories about the program and its participants.

5. Get a competitive edge in college admissions. This is a prestigious program!

This is a prestigious program and should go a significant way in helping you stand out whether you are applying for math or another STEM subject for a major. With a rigorous admissions process and a pretty advanced curriculum, attending the Ross program is a strong indicator of your competence!

If you're looking for a real-world internship that can help boost your resume while applying to college, we recommend Ladder Internships!

Ladder Internships is a selective program equipping students with virtual internship experiences at startups and nonprofits around the world! 

The startups range across a variety of industries, and each student can select which field they would most love to deep dive into. This is also a great opportunity for students to explore areas they think they might be interested in, and better understand professional career opportunities in those areas. The startups are based all across the world, with the majority being in the United States, Asia and then Europe and the UK. 

The fields include technology, machine learning and AI, finance, environmental science and sustainability, business and marketing, healthcare and medicine, media and journalism and more.

You can explore all the options here on their application form. As part of their internship, each student will work on a real-world project that is of genuine need to the startup they are working with, and present their work at the end of their internship.

In addition to working closely with their manager from the startup, each intern will also work with a Ladder Coach throughout their internship - the Ladder Coach serves as a second mentor and a sounding board, guiding you through the internship and helping you navigate the startup environment. 

Cost: $1490 (Financial Aid Available)

Location:  Remote! You can work from anywhere in the world.

Application deadline: April 16 and May 14

Program dates: 8 weeks, June to August

Eligibility: Students who can work for 10-20 hours/week, for 8-12 weeks. Open to high school students, undergraduates and gap year students!

Additionally, you can also work on independent research in AI, through Veritas AI's Fellowship Program!

Veritas AI focuses on providing high school students who are passionate about the field of AI a suitable environment to explore their interests. The programs include collaborative learning, project development, and 1-on-1 mentorship. 

These programs are designed and run by Harvard graduate students and alumni and you can expect a great, fulfilling educational experience. Students are expected to have a basic understanding of Python or are recommended to complete the AI scholars program before pursuing the fellowship. 

The AI Fellowship program will have students pursue their own independent AI research project. Students work on their own individual research projects over a period of 12-15 weeks and can opt to combine AI with any other field of interest. In the past, students have worked on research papers in the field of AI & medicine, AI & finance, AI & environmental science, AI & education, and more! You can find examples of previous projects here

Location: Virtual


  • $1,790 for the 10-week AI Scholars program

  • $4,900 for the 12-15 week AI Fellowship 

  • $4,700 for both

  • Need-based financial aid is available. You can apply here

Application deadline: On a rolling basis. Applications for fall cohort have closed September 3, 2023. 

Program dates: Various according to the cohort

Program selectivity: Moderately selective

Eligibility: Ambitious high school students located anywhere in the world. AI Fellowship applicants should either have completed the AI Scholars program or exhibit past experience with AI concepts or Python.

Application Requirements: Online application form, answers to a few questions pertaining to the students background & coding experience, math courses, and areas of interest. 

If you are interested in doing university-level research in math, then you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students that I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 2100 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.

Stephen is one of the founders of Lumiere and a Harvard College graduate. He founded Lumiere as a PhD student at Harvard Business School. Lumiere is a selective research program where students work 1-1 with a research mentor to develop an independent research paper.

Image source: Ross Mathematics Program logo



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