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The Most Competitive Math Summer Programs for High Schoolers



Enrolling in a top summer program is an excellent way to deepen your mathematical knowledge and develop an in-depth understanding of the field before committing to a college track. Summer programs are also great opportunities for students to dive into STEM subfields, conduct research, and work alongside other bright young people as they develop their understanding of math. 


Let’s take a look at some of the most competitive summer math programs:   


The Ross Mathematics Program

Designed for students ages 15-18, Ross uses an interdisciplinary approach to education to immerse students in Math, Statistics, Research, STEM, and more. This program focuses on number theory and abstract thought. Students begin the program by exploring prime numbers and modular arithmetic and writing mathematical proofs using axioms. As the course progresses, students veer towards pattern identification and work on recontextualizing their findings. They then explore the implications of these findings in science and math as they apply to data systems, proving hypotheses, and conducting research.  


This six-week program takes place at either Ohio Dominican University in Columbus or Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute. Students may apply to either site. Participants live on campus in shared dorm rooms. Tuition covers three meals a day. Applications consist of recommendations from teachers, high school transcripts, personal essays, an online application, and responses to math problems. Scholarships are available, and Ross makes every effort to see that all accepted students can attend. Applications are open until March 31.


Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC)

For several weeks, rising juniors and seniors gather to study advanced mathematics, conduct research, participate in lectures and guided research, and uniquely— the history of mathematics and their application across the sciences. Like the Ross program, SUMaC also focuses on number theory and abstract algebra. The online program takes place over three weeks, during which students participate in online lectures and problem-solving sessions. On the other hand, the residential option is a four-week course that also includes social activities in the evenings and on weekends. Both options culminate with a research project. 


In-person attendees will stay on the Stanford campus, with meals also provided as a part of tuition. Applications are competitive and consist of a high school transcript, a recent report card, a teacher recommendation, successful completion of an entrance exam, an online application, an application fee, and an optional video essay. Need-based financial aid is available. Applications are due by February 1st.   


AwesomeMath Summer Program

Open to both middle schoolers and high schoolers, this three-week online program is designed to cultivate mathematical reasoning skills. In particular, many students use this program to boost their performance in math contests like the USA Junior Mathematical Olympiad, the American Invitational Mathematics Examination, and the AMC 10/12. Students have a lot of freedom to choose the courses that interest them, with no required number of courses per session. Courses are designed around a 90-minute lecture and a 60-minute problem-solving session. In addition to in-class instruction, students will complete homework assignments, submit assessment tests, socialize with other attendees, and have access to twice-weekly office hours with lecturers, teachers, and olympiad coaches. 


AwesomeMath offers programs in Algebra, Combinatorics, Geometry, and Number Theory, with scaling intensity according to grade level. Applications consist of an online application form, a math teacher recommendation letter, an admission test, and an optional parent statement. There are five application rounds, with the first deadline in mid-January. Check out the application calendar. 


Michigan Math and Science Scholars

The Michigan Math and Science Scholars program immerses high school students into a residential college research environment at the intersection of math and science. Open to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors worldwide, this program is built around three two-week sessions. Students may choose to participate in one, two, or all three. Each session consists of just one class, which takes up the majority of the day. Classes cover a range of topics, including Anthropology, Astronomy, Chemistry, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Paleontology, Psychology, Physics, Statistics, and more. By enrolling in multiple two-week sessions, students can explore subjects along the spectrum of math and science. 


MMSS offers two participation options: residential and commuter. Residential students live on campus in dorm rooms and can participate in weekend and after-class activities with their classmates. Commuters come for the day and then return home after class. Applications must include current school transcripts, a letter of recommendation, a personal statement, an online application form, and an application fee. Limited, need-based financial aid is available. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.  



Summer programs are a great way for high school students to immerse themselves in a subject before applying to universities and committing to undergraduate programs. Furthermore, they can be an excellent opportunity for young people to connect with others who share the same interests, develop strong mentor relationships, and have a lot of fun learning!