Journey Through the World of Advanced Mathematics: The Hampshire College Summer Studies Program

November 10, 2023
By AdmissionSight

Journey Through the World of Advanced Mathematics: The Hampshire College Summer Studies Program

Mathematics is a universe of its own, brimming with mysteries just waiting to be unraveled. For the dauntless high school student, the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics offers a gateway into this world. This program is an expedition into the depths of mathematical thought, a place where curiosity meets rigor and abstract concepts take on vivid reality.

What is the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics?

Imagine a place where numbers and shapes start conversations, where every theorem and equation has a story, and where you are not just a student but a mathematician in the making.

The Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics invites you to think beyond the classroom, to collaborate with peers as passionate as you, and to be mentored by educators who live and breathe mathematics. It’s where challenges are the norm, and every problem is an adventure.

The Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics (HCSSiM) offers a rigorous six-week journey into the world of college-level math for the academically gifted and highly driven high school student. It’s a robust program that stretches the limits of your understanding, demanding not just your attention but your active engagement in the practice of mathematics.

Group of students writing on their desks.

Each day is meticulously structured, beginning with four hours of morning classes that run Monday through Saturday, punctuated by the stimulating Prime Time Theorem before dinner, and rounded off with collaborative evening problem-solving sessions. Afternoons are balanced with time for reading, relaxation, recreational activities, occasional excursions into town, and casual study sessions.

What sets this experience apart is the extraordinary level of access to faculty members, whether in the classroom, over meals, or within the residential dorms. The connections made here go beyond academics, often evolving into lasting friendships and future professional networks.


In the academic landscape of the Summer Studies, students will initially join workshops steered by a distinguished college or university professor, assisted by graduate or undergraduate students. These workshops are dynamic incubators for mathematical exploration, delving into a spectrum of mathematical fields.

The focus is on discovering overarching themes, identifying repeating patterns, and adopting effective approaches to problem-solving. Rather than following a fixed syllabus, the curriculum is tailored to the interests and prowess of the participants by the instructors.

Students talking in the corrigidor.

Every student will get hands-on experience with computer applications, like Mathematica, and are encouraged to make full use of Hampshire’s facilities for academic purposes throughout the program.

As the program progresses, the academic journey will branch into ‘maxi-courses’ and ‘mini-courses,’ allowing for a concentrated study of specific mathematical problems and areas. Students will have the freedom to choose from a variety of subjects, including but not limited to combinatorics, number theory, and four-dimensional geometry, opening the door to a world of mathematical possibilities.

Adding to this rich academic tapestry, guest speakers, who may include recent victors of prestigious national competitions and noted mathematicians from academia and industry, will share their insights. To further enrich the experience, there will be a weekly showcase of mathematics films aimed to educate, provoke thought, and ignite inspiration.

In this immersive mathematical environment, the traditional markers of achievement like grades and credit take a back seat. Instead, students engage in periodic self-reflection to assess their personal and academic development.

Group of students talking on a large table about the best extracurricular activities.

These self-evaluations, combined with feedback from instructors, culminate in a comprehensive report. This report can be shared with your high school or prospective colleges to shine a light on your progress and capabilities.

Additionally, participants are prompted to share their newfound knowledge with others. Upon returning to their home schools, students are encouraged to present their mathematical discoveries, fostering an exchange of ideas and inspiring a passion for mathematics within their own communities.

Why should you go to the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics?

This journey requires more than just a love for numbers; it demands determination. Gaining entry into the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics is a competitive process that begins with a demonstration of your mathematical prowess and a keenness to delve into its complexities.

You’ll need to showcase not only your academic achievements but also your unique perspective on mathematics and its wonders. Here are some reasons why you should consider attending HCSSiM:

Advanced Learning: The program plunges you into the depths of college-level mathematics, which can greatly enhance your understanding of the subject and prepare you for future academic endeavors.

Active Engagement: Unlike traditional classrooms, you’ll be actively solving problems and applying concepts, which is a more effective way to learn and retain complex mathematical ideas.

Expert Guidance: With unparalleled access to knowledgeable faculty members, you’ll receive guidance that is tailored to your learning style and interests.

Four students holding their books while smiling at the camera.

Community of Peers: Surrounded by fellow math enthusiasts, you’ll build a network of friends who share your passion and curiosity for mathematics.

College Head Start: The skills and knowledge gained at this program will give you a significant advantage in college applications and future mathematical studies.

Lifelong Connections: The friendships and professional relationships formed during this intensive program often last a lifetime, providing an invaluable support system for your academic and career paths.

Students playing frisbee in a field.

Recreational Activities

The Hampshire College Summer Studies Program isn’t all about numbers and equations—it also provides a wealth of recreational facilities to keep your body as active as your mind. The Robert Crown Center stands ready for your energy alongside a plethora of outdoor courts perfect for volleyball, tennis, bocce, and basketball. Fields await for those inclined towards soccer, Frisbee, or a friendly game of softball.

Sundays offer a change of pace, with opportunities to unwind or venture out on field trips to Boston’s vibrant streets, the melodious Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood, or other captivating destinations in New England. These excursions are not mere add-ons; they are integral to the holistic program experience.

You’re invited to bring along anything that complements your stay: bicycles for exploration, musical instruments for impromptu jam sessions, athletic gear for sporty endeavors, and, of course, games and puzzles for leisurely challenges. Don’t forget your calculators and computers—whether they’re laptops or desktops—for they, too, are tools of your trade. And above all, pack your best working habits to make the most of this multifaceted adventure.

Students answering a test on a desk.

How do you get into the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics?

At Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics (HCSSiM), they are not mainly concerned about your age but rather the extent of your passion for mathematics. It’s your mathematical maturity, not your physical age, that intrigues them. The program throws open its doors to all applicants, although space limitations mean they can’t host everyone who applies.

Typically, the participants are high school sophomores or juniors. But that’s not a strict rule—they have welcomed bright ninth graders who’ve been trailblazing through advanced math as well. And every so often, a younger prodigy joins the ranks. However, if you have already graduated high school, it’s time to look for other mathematical adventures.

Jump into the application process—it’s cost-free straightforward, and you can do it online. It’s designed to be an engaging first step in our mutual journey of discovery, with no strings attached.

A young woman opens a recommendation letter on a table.

How to apply to the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics?

The Application Form: Fill out the application form. It’s your stage to articulate why dedicating 8 hours a day to math during your summer break sounds like a plan to you. Plus, you’ll need to mention a sponsor – someone familiar with your mathematical abilities who’s ready to back you up with a recommendation letter.

The Interesting Test (IT): Once you submit the application form and submit it to them, watch your inbox for the IT from HCSSiM. You will receive an email from them about the Interesting Test (IT).

Tackle the ‘IT’: Dive into it and have fun!

Young man using a laptop while sitting on a sofa.

Submission Options:

Email: You can scan and email your Interesting Test responses. Remember, they are juggling a heap of applications, so help them keep things straight by including your name, the date, and “IT” in both the subject line and on all your documents.

Snail Mail: Old school is still cool. Send your work to the following address:

Professor David C. Kelly


Hampshire College

893 West St.

Amherst, MA 01002-3359

How hard is it to get into the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics?

It’s no secret that the currents of admission are selective. With many aspirants and limited spots, the program seeks out students who demonstrate exceptional ability and a deep-seated enthusiasm for mathematics. The acceptance rate is not publicly disclosed, but rest assured, each application is scrutinized with care, and every potential mathematician is given thoughtful consideration.

Female student using a laptop in a table.

Program Costs and Financial Aid Information

This unforgettable six-week mathematical voyage at the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics costs $5,780.

This comprehensive fee includes your academic journey—tuition, a comfortable room to rest, and three square meals a day to keep your energy up—as well as a recreation fee for when you need to recharge. Keep in mind this doesn’t cover your personal spending or the journey to and from the campus.

Financial Aid

Don’t let the financial aspect dim your enthusiasm! The program has a great financial aid program tailored to meet the needs of those who require assistance. They firmly believe that financial barriers should not hold back the brightest mathematical minds from joining the community.

Your financial situation is a private affair and will remain strictly confidential, having no bearing on your admission to the program. Moreover, this support extends beyond borders, with international students also being fully eligible for aid. Let financial worries take a backseat as you drive forward in your pursuit of mathematical excellence.

Students working in front of the computer.

If your family’s household income is below $68,000, the program won’t cost you a dime. And that’s not all. Should the journey to Amherst pose a financial challenge, they will provide travel grants to ensure you have a smooth trip to and from the program.

For those with household incomes above this threshold, as well as for international applicants, they tailor financial support individually, which could cover travel expenses, too.

The Hampshire College Summer Studies Program’s commitment is steadfast: no invited student will miss out on this opportunity due to money matters. They are dedicated to making sure that every accepted student can join us, turning financial barriers into mere numbers.

If you want to be considered for Financial Aid, simply select the “Yes, Please” option when you’re filling out your application. Once you are invited to the program, they will promptly send you the financial aid form to get the ball rolling. Your path to mathematical exploration is just a checkbox away!

Male student attending an online class in a table with other students.

When is the deadline to apply to the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics?

After the application sails off, a period of anticipation begins. There’s no set-in-stone deadline for your application, but here’s the deal: spots typically fill up by early June and sometimes as early as mid-April! So, the early bird gets the worm – or, in this case, the math problem.

When do I find out about my application to the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics?

According to the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics (HCSSiM) website, the applications are judged on a rolling basis and closed when they receive an adequate number of applications.

After taking the Interesting Test (IT), you have two options: you can scan your work and email it to the program or mail it back to them. The program does not specify when applicants will find out about their acceptance, but it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible just to be safe.

View of a person looking at Math equations

Where is the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics?

The Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics is housed within the scenic campus of Hampshire College, located in the picturesque Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. It’s an environment that fosters creativity and intellectual daring, surrounded by a landscape that inspires both reflection and discovery.


At the Hampshire College Summer Studies, we take community building seriously—both faculty and students will enjoy the privacy of single rooms within our residence halls. This setup, which we’ve seen work wonders in previous summers, fosters an environment ripe for friendship, collaboration, and a thriving academic life.

When it comes to dining, the “SAGA” hall at Hampshire College offers a bountiful “all you can eat” experience for each meal, featuring an impressive salad bar. In addition, kitchen facilities with refrigerators and a stove are at your disposal for those times when you wish to whip up something of your own.

Dietary preferences or restrictions? No problem. Vegetarian and vegan scholars find their offerings more than sufficient. And while they don’t offer kosher meals per se, previous students who observe kosher have navigated the vegetarian and vegan options with ease.

Teenage boy writing an essay using computer sitting by desk in room alone.

When does the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics take place?

The program typically takes place over six weeks in the heart of summer. These weeks are not just about learning; they are about living mathematics, about being part of a vibrant community that speaks the language of logic and dreams in the dialect of equations.

How long is the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics?

During these six intense weeks, you will experience a level of mathematical immersion like never before. Each day is an opportunity to grow, to challenge yourself, and to prepare for future academic and professional pursuits in mathematics and beyond.

Students lounging in the school grounds.

Final Thoughts

As we draw the curtains on this exploration of the Hampshire College Summer Studies Program, we step back and marvel at the journey that awaits the mathematically curious high school student. It’s a community where theorems and problems come to life through intense collaboration and individual introspection. This program promises more than just academic growth—it offers a transformative experience that stretches the boundaries of mathematical understanding and fosters lifelong connections.

For those who will join this journey, the rewards are manifold. From the immersive workshops to the inspiring guest lectures, every aspect of the program is designed to fuel a passion for mathematics and to empower students with the skills and confidence to pursue it further. The absence of grades and credits underscores the program’s commitment to pure learning and the intrinsic value of education.

Group of students talking in a table.

As students leave the program, they carry with them not just the knowledge they’ve gained but also a sense of accomplishment and the potential to inspire others in their academic and personal communities. The Hampshire College Summer Studies Program isn’t just a summer commitment—it’s a stepping stone to a future rich with mathematical inquiry and achievement.

To all aspiring mathematicians out there, the program extends a challenge: to think deeply, to question relentlessly, and to enjoy the beauty of mathematics. The journey through the world of advanced mathematics is complex, demanding, and infinitely rewarding. Are you ready to take the first step?

Looking for expert advice on getting into pre-college programs? Look no further than AdmissionSight, where our seasoned college admissions consultants are ready to guide you. With a track record of helping countless students gain entry into prestigious universities worldwide, we’re your partners in launching your academic journey. Take the first step and schedule a consultation with us today!


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