Top 10 Summer Math Camps for Teens

High school student working on a math problem at a whiteboard with classmates around

AI, blockchain, automation: everything is changing with technology. To carve out a place for your future — particularly with the tech boom — math is the best place to start. 

In the words of Michael Pearson, director of the Mathematical Association of America, “Math-intensive jobs include computational biologists who use statistics to analyze molecular datasets; graphics programmers who use vector math to create movies and video games; and patent lawyers who use math to better understand inventions.”

In addition to unique professions like the ones mentioned above, knowledge of math is required in a whole range of jobs, and in our everyday lives. For instance, carpenters and electricians need to know geometry and algebra to calculate costs and the amount of materials they need. Financial analysts use statistics, as well as quantitative techniques, to create mathematical models to analyze investments. In short, without at least a basic understanding of math, your options shrink dramatically, especially in a world that is relying more and more on automation in manufacturing, machine operations, and supply chains to replace manpower. In other words, it pays to be good at math!

How to get a foothold on your future

Actually, the outlook is quite promising. More and more universities are beginning math summer camps, online courses, and college summer enrichment programs designed especially for high school students. Here are 10 of the best:

  • 1. Boston University’s Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS)              
    The PROMYS program runs for six weeks and welcomes students who are passionate about math and have shown an aptitude for the subject. The program is free for those with a family income under $80,000 and accepts students ages 14 and up.
  • 2. Stanford University Mathematics Camp (SUMaC)
    This program hosts 40 students every year onsite and 64 online. The curriculum focuses on two main topics — abstract algebra & number theory and algebraic topology. You’ll work collaboratively on advanced mathematical problems, participate in challenging classes, and gain exposure to important research topics.
  • 3. Research Science Institute Program (RS at MIT)
    Here is a great opportunity for high school juniors who have demonstrated an aptitude for mathematics, science, and engineering. This six-week program combines STEM coursework, followed by six weeks of research. 
  • 4. Lumiere Research Scholar Program - Mathematics Track
    Founded by researchers at Harvard and Oxford, this program is entirely virtual, allowing you to interact with math scholars from around the world. You’ll be matched with a Ph.D. mentor and collaborate to produce a university-level research paper.
  • 5. Summer Academy for Math And Science (SAMS
    Designed for high school students from underrepresented communities, SAMS is offered by Carnegie Mellon University as a free, six-week program. You’ll be taught by Carnegie Mellon faculty and get hands-on training in challenging research and academic projects. At the end of the course, you’ll present your STEM project at a day-long seminar.
  • 6. Mathroots (MIT-PRIMES) 
    Mathroots is a 14-day free program at MIT. It welcomes high school students from underrepresented communities, and allows you to explore new mathematical ideas. You’ll participate in classes and group sessions, and be led by a team of experienced instructors.
  • 7. UC Santa Barbara’s Research Mentorship Program
    Earn university credits while you train on how to conduct research, write professional papers, and present your findings. You’ll be matched with a mentor who will guide and support you. You’ll join students from across the globe who are in the 10th and 11th grades.
  • 8. California State Summer School for Mathematics & Science (COSMOS)
    This four-week summer program is designed for high school students in grades 8th to 11th with an ability for STEM. Located at UC Davis, the program gives you the opportunity to work with esteemed professors, and study topics like mathematical/computational modeling, machine learning, number theory, and discrete math.
    This free, virtual, yearlong research program in mathematics is open to high school juniors and sophomores. You will submit a final paper summarizing the results of your research study, which will be published in professional research journals.
  • 10. UC Irvine’s Math ExpLR Summer Research Program
    Math ExpLR is a free, six-week program focused on the intersection of math and biology. You’ll gain insights into the world of mathematical research, and you’ll work with undergraduate students on a computational biology research project. You will also learn how to deliver presentations, how to write math using computer software, and the principles of mathematical modeling.

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