Over 100: about 60 first year students, about 20 returning students, about 24 counselors plus faculty, research mentors, and visiting mathematicians.
Yes. Every year there are counselors who first participated as students as well as counselors who are new to PROMYS. Many alums return to PROMYS, often multiple times.
Most years there are alum faculty and non-alum faculty.
Although the overwhelming majority of participants are from America, over the past 28 years, we’ve welcomed students and/or counselors from 48 countries.
Yes, many become long-term friends or mentors. There are also reunions, online groups, and an alum site. We are in touch with all but about 30 of the 1,604 alumni who have attended PROMYS over the past 28 years. Alums visit the program, give or attend guest lectures, and constitute a network of kindred spirits at institutions and companies around the world.
Absolutely not! Whatever your current level of math experience, you will be exposed to a wide range of new mathematical knowledge and a deeper level of understanding. There are seminars, courses, minicourses, lectures, research, and informal discussion on a huge range of math-related topics and areas. In 2016, for example, one of the 65 counselor talks was titled, "A survey of the SchurWeyl Duality and Schur Polynomials," a visiting guest lecturer from Cornell University gave a talk on "The future of prediction" and another guest lecturer from Stanford University and the University of Cambridge gave a talk titled, "Applying physics to mathematics."
Everyone (except the program administrator who's very busy doing other stuff).
Everyone. PROMYS is collaborative, not competitive. It's all of us striving together to discover and to more deeply understand. There's also constantly available informal instruction and support: both small group and individual. Everyone struggles with the math: that's what we're all at PROMYS for. That's what makes it so hard, so fun, so worthwhile.
When you discover them for yourself: on your own or collaborating with other students. Returning students and counselors and faculty will support and encourage you, but not by giving you the answers (hint: they don't even give hints). What PROMYS does is offer you the tools and structure to enable you to be a creative mathematician.
Yes: another PROMYS student; probably of the same year (and definitely of the same gender)
Yes, probably, and your rooms are likely to be close together in a single sex dorm area.
That’s not a question. But please contact Joe Cacciatore (at email@example.com) if you have concerns about food allergies and options available in Warren Towers cafeteria. We are accustomed to accommodating special dietary needs.
No, laptops are not needed at PROMYS. Yes, students will have access to Boston University desktop computers.
Our assessment of your mathematical readiness for PROMYS is holistic, is certainly not determined by a count of problems solved, and takes into account multiple elements including your level of mathematical experience. But the application problems form the most significant portion of the application since your responses enable us to see how you reason and articulate mathematically and how creatively, enthusiastically, and tenaciously you tackle challenging problems.
No. Some have and some haven't. What they all share is the desire and ability to think deeply about fundamental mathematical principles. The study of Number Theory lends itself particularly well to significant exploration by students from a wide range of mathematical backgrounds.
No. Some will have. Some will have participated in competitions but not necessarily done exceptionally well. Some won’t have participated in competitions. PROMYS draws on, and develops, different mathematical skills and character attributes than are typically drawn on and developed by mathematics competitions.
Absolutely! This happens quite often. Some of our most successful PROMYS participants were not accepted the first time they applied to the program.
No. It can be from a previous math teacher, or from a math club coach or math team leader.
Students should be at least 15 by the first day of the program. Most PROMYS students are older. Yes, students may attend the summer after they graduate high school.
Applications will be accepted until the deadline.
Unfortunately, they do. Such assistance is usually pretty transparent, and we will reject your application if we detect any unacknowledged assistance. PROMYS is for students who want to spend a summer struggling with problems far more challenging than those on the application. If you don't enjoy the application problems or cannot make progress on them, then this is not the right summer for you to attend PROMYS. It's not impossible to cheat successfully on your application, but if you have the talent to do that, why not use it more productively?
If you let us know you need time to arrange a visa, we'll try to give you a swift admissions decision. If you’re an international student, you’ll need a visitor’s visa, not a student visa (F-1), since you won’t be enrolled in any courses.
PROMYS offers both merit scholarships and need-based financial aid. You can see details here. Funding may also be available from such sources as Mu Alpha Theta, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
PROMYS and Boston University do a number of things to help keep you safe at PROMYS. There is a curfew, so all students must be in the dorms by 11 p.m. on school nights and midnight on weekends. There are security personnel at the dorm to make sure that no one who isn't supposed to be in the dorm gets in, and that everyone in the dorms follows the rules (including no boys in the girls' area of the dorm and vice versa). You will be given contact numbers and informed of procedures. While the area around Boston University is generally safe, it is an urban area, and it is good to be alert and aware of your surroundings. Luckily, PROMYS is a tight-knit community, and students and counselors look out for each other. It is obviously of central importance that everyone in the PROMYS community both be safe and feel safe.
The things on the "what should I bring?" list that we'll send you.
Not during PROMYS but very possibly later if you visit those schools.
Yes; you can request to have a counselor meet you at the airport/station/terminal.
Of course. (Though your phone should obviously be off during lectures.) There's also email and snail mail. And your parents can call the program if they have a concern. We know that, for some of you, this will be your first extended time away from home.
Students may use Boston University’s Student Health Services (for a $25 co-pay per student visit).
No. PROMYS is an intensive and tightly-knit math community. We have a lot of math to discover and deep bonds to build: we need every day we have. So, you can't come late because you also want to attend MOP or the USA Physics Camp or even your brother's wedding.
Not if you do it before or after PROMYS. Our program is only six weeks long, and it is designed to challenge you in ways many students will never have experienced before. You should not plan to devote much time to other studies during this period.
No. You will have much more interesting and valuable things to keep you busy at PROMYS.
We are glad the rest of your family will also be having summer fun, but a commitment to PROMYS is for every day and night, from start to finish. While weekends are less scheduled than weekdays, they remain full of mathematics.
Choices are tough. Should you choose PROMYS, you would also be choosing not to participate in the music competition.
In high school, many PROMYS students are used to being able to do everything, with enough time to spare that they never need to worry about being overcommitted. PROMYS is different. It's designed to push people to their limits, even people who are going to grow up to be leading mathematicians. Much like research mathematics, it's impossible to “finish” your work at PROMYS: there is always greater depth and insight to be attained. Of course, nobody can focus for literally every waking hour, but other serious commitments will detract from the PROMYS experience, and we would rather work with students who are willing and able to take full advantage of it. Furthermore, PROMYS moves very quickly, so catching up from even a single day's absence is difficult. In an emergency (such as illness), of course we’ll support you in your frantic efforts to catch up, but we do not want you to plan on being absent.
While most of your time will be taken up doing math, people do other things for fun at PROMYS too. Counselors usually organize weekly basketball games, frisbee games, and "mandatory fun." Some students like to take a break by running or walking along the Charles River or playing a game of cards or chess. And of course there's lots of friend-making, serious discussion, silly discussion, and the occasional dose of (totally well mannered) mayhem. But really, you'll mostly do math.
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