Simple Mathematics Infused with Levity: MathILy at Bryn Mawr College

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of a person looking at Math equations

Simple Mathematics Infused with Levity: MathILy at Bryn Mawr College

Hey there, high school math enthusiasts and those who are curious about the world of numbers! Ever felt like mathematics was a series of complex puzzles designed by ancient scholars to make your brain ache? Well, it’s time to shed that image and dive into the delightful world of simple Mathematics Infused with Levity – MathILy, in short, at Bryn Mawr College.

What is the MathILy at Bryn Mawr College?

Are you eager to delve into and craft mathematics yourself? Do you want to step into a world where numbers dance, patterns sing, and theorems unravel the mysteries of the universe with a wink and a smile? If that sparks your interest, then you’re in the right place because that’s the essence of MathILy!

This program is for high schoolers who are keen on diving deep into the realms of abstract mathematics. MathILy at Bryn Mawr College provides an environment that is both intellectually stimulating and hilariously fun!

In classes, while instructors lay down the foundational tracks, the real magic happens when you start formulating (and validating!) your theories. You will be introduced to novel concepts, enhance your ability to tackle complex problems, absorb a wealth of sophisticated mathematics, and sharpen your critical thinking abilities.

You’ll also find your tribe here—others who share your passion for mathematics. Above all, you will experience profound mathematical concepts presented with a touch of humor.

Where does the MathILy take place?

MathILy is a summer program held at Bryn Mawr College, a serene setting for a not-so-ordinary mathematical journey. It is located in Pennsylvania.

Bryn Mawr College presents a picture-perfect setting for a summer stay, boasting single rooms in air-conditioned dorms and classrooms to beat the heat in comfort. It’s a secure, breathtakingly beautiful campus with a plethora of top-notch food choices. Plus, you’re never far from a pizza fix or a supermarket dash. Laundry services are on the house, adding to your convenience during the camp.

Academically, you’re in a hub surrounded by renowned institutions like Haverford, Swarthmore, and UPenn, with Bryn Mawr itself at your doorstep. Essentials like hospitals and shopping are a stone’s throw away, and for a dash of adventure, Philadelphia’s historical and cultural treasures await a short train ride away.

Think of it as your all-access pass to a world of learning! The campus? It’s straight out of a Hogwarts lookalike contest, with an old-world, gothic charm and a vibe that’s all about changing the world for the better. With cutting-edge courses that’ll keep your brain buzzing and a crew of former students ready to have your back, Bryn Mawr is where fun and brains join forces.

College students talking in a room.

How long is the MathILy at Bryn Mawr?

MathILy offers a whole five-week extravaganza brimming with mathematical wonder! What will your daily schedule look like?

You can kick off with breakfast to fuel up for your morning math exploration. With MathILy, you’re signing up for a brain-boosting, number-crunching marathon where classes roll out for a whopping 7 hours a day. Picture this: two jam-packed sessions of mathematical adventures, one in the morning and another in the evening, keeping your neurons firing six days a week.

Post-class, you’ll recharge with lunch and then enjoy a relaxed afternoon—well, mostly. Occasionally, you’ll pen down class recaps, but let’s not forget the real fun: impromptu frisbee tosses, jam sessions, game marathons, and inventing never-before-seen activities with your new friends at this camp.

Leading the charge in each class, you’ve got a wizard of numbers—a Lead Instructor with a Ph.D. in math, ready to guide you through the numerical jungles. And guess what? They’re not riding solo. They’ve got a dynamic duo of Apprentice Instructors, who are either grad students or undergrad math majors, ready to jump into the mathematical fray with you.

As the sun dips, gather up for a communal vibe session, then feast at dinner before diving into evening classes. And when the day’s done, you might just hit the hay, worn out but happy. Don’t worry; your instructors aren’t just teachers; they’re part of the dorm life, too, ready to jump into any and all of the day’s escapades.

First Two Weeks

Now, let’s break down this 5-week math party. The first two weeks are like your math boot camp—affectionately called the Root Class. Here, you’ll wade through a wild mix of mathematical concepts, building a solid foundation that’ll make you grow faster than a bamboo on a rainy day.

Third Week

Then comes the ‘Week of Chaos’—and it’s exactly as epic as it sounds. Your days will be a whirlwind of bite-sized classes, with topics popping up like fireworks, inspired by the collective brainpower of students and instructors.

Fancy exploring alternate geometries or cracking the code on ciphers and cryptography? How about unraveling the wonders of knot theory or forecasting with Markov chain models? At MathILy, the sky’s the limit—well, actually, the universe, since we’re talking math here.

Last Two Weeks

For the grand finale, the last two weeks morph into Branch Classes. This is where things get serious—and seriously cool—as you tackle more complex, mind-bending mathematical mysteries.

a student writing on the board

Why should you go to the Mathily at Bryn Mawr?

Think of summer college courses as a mixed bag – you’ll have classmates who are all-in or just there to tick a box and instructors who might be gems or just plain swamped. The material could be top-shelf or a little watered down.

But at MathILy, it’s a whole different universe. Everyone shares a genuine passion for math. The instructors? They’re the real deal – PhDs who are stoked to bring math to life for high school math wizards like you. They don’t just teach; they craft problems on the fly just to keep you on your toes if you’re cruising through the material.

Math 24/7

You’re not just learning math here – you’re living it, breathing it, playing with it 24/7, surrounded by a squad of math enthusiasts, collegiate math mentors, and pros in the field. It’s not just about learning; it’s about growing in an environment that’s mathematically electric.

From a practical standpoint, you’re getting an elite college-level math experience at a fraction of the cost, and you might even skip some college courses later because of the advanced material you’ve conquered with MathILy.

And if you’re weighing MathILy against other math camps, here’s the scoop: being part of MathILy means you’re ready for tougher challenges than what regional programs offer.

Discovery and Inquiry-Based Learning

MathILy at Bryn Mawr College blends hardcore math with a light-hearted spirit, adopts an inquiry-based learning approach, and ensures every participant grows immensely, both academically and personally.

They delve into pure math that links directly to real-world applications – think information theory, operations research, and theoretical computer science – cool areas that often don’t cross a high schooler’s path.

Math test

Interactive Learning

Dive into classes where you are the driving force, unveiling math mysteries and steering the ship with your own conjectures and proofs. Tackle problems solo or join forces with classmates—it’s all about collaboration and a good chuckle or two along the way. This vibrant atmosphere is your playground for mastering the art of imaginative and meticulous math thinking and writing.

Discrete Mathematics: The Core Curriculum

Discrete mathematics is the backbone of a ton of modern pure and applied math fields. MathILy kicks off with that and then spreads out into a buffet of math disciplines, all taught through a hands-on, discovery-based method. It’s the kind of learning that sticks because you’re not just being told; you’re uncovering the secrets yourself.

Mentorship with Math Pros

They don’t just teach; they mentor. You’ll learn to think with clarity, write with precision, and communicate your mathematical ideas like a pro. They build this mentorship into their program’s DNA.


Plus, they are all about inclusion. The community standards celebrate and respect every voice, regardless of where it comes from. We’re the math community that champions every math enthusiast’s identity and ideas.

Skill Boosters

Dive into the mathematician’s mindset, embracing the best practices in critical thinking, problem-solving, and articulate writing. These skills won’t just give you a leg up in college-level math; they’ll be your secret weapon in other academic areas, internships, and research gigs across various disciplines.

Beyond Math

MathILy isn’t all numbers and theories. They’ve got a “life seminar” on deck, too. It’s a chance to make full-blown savvy college picks, explore career paths in the math universe and beyond, discuss math anxiety, understand the importance of gender pronouns, and master the art of using chalk like a pro. They also got a stash of cool math animations and flicks for movie nights.

Movie Marathon in Winter Break

Mathematical Agenda at Mathily at Bryn Mawr

Gear up, math enthusiasts, because MathILy isn’t your typical stroll through the high school mathematics garden. We’re talking about a thrilling leap into the kind of math that college and grad students wrestle with—the cool stuff you won’t usually meet until you’ve conquered the calculus dragon.

At the heart of MathILy’s curriculum beats the exciting world of discrete mathematics, but that’s just the start. The real magic comes from you because the topics you will dive into are partly steered by your interests.

Imagine kicking off with a buffet of brain teasers in combinatorics, hopping onto the wild tracks of graph theory, taking a sharp turn into affine geometry, and doing a victory lap with theoretical linear algebra. And we’re just warming up!

You’ll also get a taste of proof strategies, dabble in number theory, play with probability, groove with group theory, and even ponder the infinite with cardinality. While some of these might ring a bell, MathILy promises you a fresh, mind-bending perspective that will turn that bell into a full-blown gong of enlightenment!

How to get into Mathily at Bryn Mawr?

Mathily at Bryn Mawr is on the lookout for high school students with the following qualities:

  • Visionaries with a passion for math.
  • Aspiring computer scientists and engineers looking to amp up their problem-cracking skills,
  • Learners who feel uninspired by their current math classes yet have a hunch that there’s a whole lot more to the world of math waiting to be discovered.

While the program is open to applicants beyond high school, priority is placed on those currently in high school. Furthermore, applicants younger than 14 or older than 17 may need to provide additional details during the application process.

Typing in a laptop on a table.

How do I apply to the Mathily at Bryn Mawr?

Here is the comprehensive guide to your application process at Mathily:

Step 1: Fill out the Short Form

This one just asks for basic information such as Name, Email Address, Year in School, Most recent Math course taken, your Parents’ Name, and lastly, their Email Address.

Step 2: Complete and Submit the Exam Assessing Readiness 

Be ready to dedicate roughly 4 hours to the ear to demonstrate your abilities as they would appear in a MathILy session. Ensure you send it back within several weeks after you’ve received it.

Step 3: Complete the Detailed Application Form

Biographical Information

  • Full Name
  • Email Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender
  • Parent/Guardian Name
  • City/State
  • Country (if not U.S.)

International students who need a visa should apply ahead of the MathILy admissions deadline, as obtaining a visa can be time-consuming. Mathily can provide instructions on how to get a visa, but students must still secure it on their own.

Academic Information

  • School Name:
  • School City/State (if different from home)
  • Current Year in School
  • Recent Math Courses
  • Past Math/Science Summer Programs
  • Academic Achievements

Recommender Information

  • Mathematics Teacher/Professor’s Name
  • Recommender’s Email Address

Additional Information

  • Extracurricular Activities (These can be mathematical or non-mathematic related activities. Feel free to share the fun things you do!)

students opening a letter

When do I find out about my application to the Mathily at Bryn Mawr?

After they receive your entire application, including your recommender’s feedback, expect to hear back from them with a decision in approximately a week.

When is the deadline to apply to Mathily at Bryn Mawr?

Applications received before April 5, 2024, will receive full consideration. After that point, applications will be considered only if they have any space left.

Group of multiracial friends taking selfie picture with a smartphone outside

When does the Mathily at Bryn Mawr take place?

Mathily is no longer considering new applications for summer 2023. All Short Forms received will be ignored (if you send them in June or July) or will be considered for MathILy 2024, which will be starting in August.

How hard is it to get into the Mathily at Bryn Mawr?

Gaining admission to the MathILy program at Bryn Mawr College can be competitive, as it is designed for students who have a strong interest and ability in mathematics. They only accept approximately 45 students!

The program looks for individuals who are not only talented in math but also show a passion for the subject and a desire to engage deeply with mathematical concepts.

Since it’s a program that aims to challenge further and educate students who are already excelling in mathematics, the selection process is thorough, taking into account not only the student’s academic record and mathematical achievements but also their potential for growth, creativity and collaboration in problem-solving.

financial aid for students

Tuition Costs to get into Mathily at Bryn Mawr

The program fee is $4,950, equating to $990 per week.

Financial Aid

Thanks to contributions from Jane Street, the AMS Epsilon Fund, and other benefactors, they provide need-based financial aid for the 2023 MathILy session.

Financial aid can cover part or all of the tuition, depending on your financial situation. Historically, they’ve been able to meet the financial needs of all our admitted participants fully, and we anticipate continuing this trend.

Priority for financial assistance is given to U.S. applicants over those from abroad, and currently, aid is not extended to applicants from other planets or star systems. Additionally, Mu Alpha Theta offers grants for its members who have been active for at least six months. This grant has helped past MathILy students attend the program.


MathILy at Bryn Mawr combines rigorous mathematical training with a vibrant, supportive community. High school students are offered an unparalleled opportunity to delve deep into the world of mathematics while also enjoying the comforts of top-tier campus facilities and the cultural vibrancy of nearby Philadelphia.

It’s a place where passion for mathematics is ignited and nurtured, friendships are formed, and the foundation for future academic and professional success is built. Whether you’re a math enthusiast looking to challenge yourself or a student seeking to explore the depths of mathematical sciences, MathILy stands as an excellent example of a program that encourages every participant to unlock their potential and explore the infinite possibilities that mathematics has to offer.

Looking for expert advice on getting into pre-college programs? Turn to the professionals at AdmissionSight. Our extensive experience has helped many students gain entry into top-tier universities worldwide. Begin your educational journey by scheduling a consultation with us today!


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