The Ross Mathematics Program for Summer Immersion

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Female professor sitting on a classroom.

The Ross Mathematics Program 

College admissions are increasingly getting more focused on honing your skillset early on and are starting to pay close attention to not just what extra-curricular you are involved in, but also how long. Summer programs are one of the best ways to help solidify what subject you are most interested in and also showcase your dedication to academic learning outside the classroom – which is one of the top qualities that college admissions advisors look for.

five college student walking side by side in a college town's side walk wearing winter outfits

One of the most sought-after summer programs for students interested in mathematics and science is the Ross Mathematics Program. This multi-level summer program gives students the opportunity to bring their mathematics skills outside of the classroom and apply them to real-world situations to help strengthen their critical thinking skills.

Known for its extensive admission process, this program is not for the faint of heart, but rather for pre-college students that have an interest in mathematics and science and have the desire and drive to get into the best colleges in the country.  

The History

The Ross Mathematics Program has been making a name for itself since it initially was founded in 1957 by Dr. Arnold Ross at Notre Dame University. During a time of scientific and mathematics flourishing due to the launch of the Sputnik Satellite, the Ross Mathematics Program quickly made a name for itself and became the go-to summer camp for students interested in this area of study.

Since its founding, this program has maintained its prestige, but has since moved to Ohio University from 1964 through 2018 and in 2019 is now associated with Ohio Dominican University. There is also the Ross Mathematics program that takes place in Changzhou, China for students interested in studying abroad during their high school summer as well.  

The goal of the Ross Mathematics Program has always been simple and aims to instruct and inspire young students to discover the art of mathematical thinking and learn the importance of applying it to abstract ideas. Given that this program is a multi-level summer experience, students build up their knowledge of number theory in the first years and continually learn how to apply it to more complex problems and scenarios as they continue with the program. 

 The main goal of the Ross Mathematics Program has always been focused on furthering student’s ability to think critically, as they believe that it is one of the most valuable aspects of mathematics education. The Ross Program aims to nurture independent thought and questioning and hopes that this mentality will be the impetus to the minds of the future of leaders in scientific innovation. 

The Program 

The students at the Ross Program are encouraged to live out the motto of the Ross Program to “Think deeply about simple things.” With this mentality in mind, Ross/ USA students who get accepted into the program go on to live in dormitories at Ohio Dominican University and Ross/ Asia students to the English International Boarding school.

This program lasts five to six weeks and students are expected to attend 8 hours of class per week, with 5 in lecture and 3 in a problem seminar. While this may not seem like a lot of class time, students stay busy throughout the whole program and spend numerous hours battling the challenging mathematical ideas that they were presented in class, as well as problem sets. 

Student doing algebra on a board.

In the first year of the program, students’ course outline and curriculum revolve mostly around learning the basics of number theory and problem sets that involve applying number theory to various different problems. While solving problems students are expected to articulate in-depth proof for all of their assertions, which is a skill that students are typically only expected to learn in college.

Gaining experience in mathematical writing and articulating logical thinking at a young age will serve students tremendously as they enter college, as this kind of thinking is critical to abstract mathematical and science courses taken in college. 

The Ross Mathematics Program stays focused on helping its students learn about number theory and delves deep into deeply and at length. While this is the only topic that is explored at the Ross Program, they believe that learning one subject deeply helps students tremendously by helping them connect the dots to the deeper concepts of the subject.

The topics that the Ross Program covers are listed below:

  • Euclid’s Algorithm
  • Modular arithmetic
  • Binomial coefficients
  • Polynomials
  • Orders of elements
  • Quadratic reciprocity
  • Continued fractions
  • Arithmetic functions
  • Gaussian integers: Z[i]
  • Finite fields
  • Resultants
  • Geometry of numbers
  • Quadratic number fields

These concepts are seen throughout the problem sets that each student is given and are often sequenced together to force students to observe patterns and investigate the deeper concepts intertwined between them. Making conjectures, formulating theorems, and polishing arguments are what the Ross Program is all about, and for students interested in this level of deep thinking, this is the program to be involved in. 

How to Get In?

This program is designed for students with ages ranging from 15 to 18 years old and only those with successful applications are allowed to attend this summer experience. The application process is based on a few factors:

  • School Transcripts
  • Teacher Recommendations
  • Essays of intent 
  • Ability to solve the application problems

This program is for students that are very interested in pursuing a degree in mathematics or science and the Ross Program makes sure that only the most dedicated students are allowed to attend. However, it is also known that a student’s ability to solve the application problems and provide proof to them plays a huge factor in the admission process. 

In order to apply for the program, you can submit an application here anytime from March 1st to April 1st. Applications are also accepted on a first-come-first-serve basis, so the earlier you apply, the better the chances you have of getting in. There is no application fee but the cost to attend the Ross Mathematics Program is $5000 for the summer, which covers room, board, and other instructional fees.  

Given that this is one of the most prestigious summer programs for high schoolers interested in science and mathematics and takes place at a 4-year institution, the cost of this program is about equal to related programs that take place at Ivy Leagues and the like. 

There are also scholarships available for students who may not be able to afford the program and more details about obtaining a scholarship can be viewed here

The Community 

Students that attend the Ross Mathematics Program have the opportunity to meet not only some of the top professors in the field but also learn to think critically with like-minded people in a highly academic setting.

During the program, students get to solve problems with peers who are also interested in scientific and mathematical thinking. This offers them the freedom to focus on an area of study that they love while also building connections with like-minded peers in the same field.

The Ross Program is also run by counselors, who are typically mathematics majors and are in either the 2nd or 3rd year of their undergraduate degree or are graduate students.

These counselors are compensated for their time and the Ross Program offers them the opportunity to share their experience with mathematics with the current students while also overseeing the dormitory life. Many alumni of the Ross Mathematics Program who go on to attend a four-year university end up becoming counselors as well. 

two college students inside a library and smiling while looking at the camera

Having counselors who are actively pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in mathematics is super helpful for students who are interested in a future in math or science, but have yet to solidify their decision. These counselors are also often well connected in the field of mathematics and can even serve as mentors to the students that choose to pursue a degree or career in the field of math. 

Since the Ross Mathematics Program is a rather exclusive program, only about 100 students or so get accepted and attend the summer camp in Ohio each year. With only one session per year and a limited amount of students who are able to attend, the community at this program is even more valuable than other summer camps who run multiple sessions.

Having a smaller community of people, allows the students to get the chance to know each other and the counselors well over the five or six weeks that the program runs for. Students often leave with meaningful connections not only to people who are equally as ambitious about pursuing mathematics or science in college, but also students who are actively pursuing a degree in the field as well – making this experience immensely valuable for those serious about their future.

Alumni of The Ross Mathematics Program

Attendees of the Ross Program, since it was initially founded, have been known to go on to serve the world of mathematics in highly prominent research positions and are also considered to be highly influential by mathematicians.

The Ross Mathematics Program, although it only focuses on number theory, gives high school students the opportunity to learn college-level concepts much earlier than their peers, which allows them to excel especially when they get to college.

Alumni of the Ross Program are some of the most driven people in the field of mathematics and their ability to solve advanced problem sets while they’re still in high school allows them to also prepare for and excel at the entrance exams that are required for getting into top colleges. 

Who Exactly is this Program For?

Given that the Ross Mathematics Program is difficult to get into, requires a dedication to the field of math or science, and takes place at a 4-year university, attending this program is also a great resume builder for students interested in applying to the best colleges in the country.

a male teacher demonstrating in front of private high school students

At AdmissionSight, our main goal is to help students get into the top colleges in the United States and we understand that it takes a lot more than just good grades and a good SAT/ ACT score to accomplish that.

All of the top colleges for mathematics and science happen to be either be at Ivy League Schools or at MIT/ Stanford, which are some of the hardest schools to get into. For students interested in attending those colleges, they have to prove to college admissions advisors that they are dedicated to learning about mathematics or science and want to pursue a future in either of those fields. 

As we know here at AdmissionSight, one of the most important factors of getting into these colleges is the personal statement. The personal statement, or as we call, the holy grail of college admissions, allows students to write about the gravity of their high school experiences and how they have prepared them for college. 

Getting involved in academic extracurriculars is utterly important for students who want to attend the best mathematics programs in the country and the Ross Mathematics Program is a great start on that journey.

Students not only get to learn college-level concepts in high school but also have this wonderful summer experience spent dedicated to mathematics to talk about on their personal statement. By no means, the Ross Mathematics Program can guarantee acceptance into any college, but it can definitely make an application stand out. 

What Are you Waiting For?

For students that are interested in the field of mathematics or science and want to get into the top colleges in the country, then The Ross Mathematics Program is definitely a program you should check out. Offering a summer education in mathematics like no other and a community of fellow mathematicians and mentors, the Ross Summer Program is definitely worth each student’s time. 

With first-year students of the program starting as early as age 15, the earlier you get involved in this program the better. Not only will this set you ahead of fellow students when it comes to getting good grades in high school, but it will also serve as great preparation for SAT and ACT exams. For students serious about a future in mathematics or science, or even just have an interest or knack for it, this program is not one to look past. 




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