Young Scholars Program In Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

A female computer science student working in front of her laptop

Young Scholars Program In Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University

Stepping into higher education marks a crucial turning point in defining your future path. If mathematics intrigues you, particularly the fascinating world of discrete mathematics, then the Young Scholars Program at Rutgers University is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss. This blog post delves into the intricacies of this program, guiding prospective students like you through the why, how, and what of this unique educational experience.

What is the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University?

The Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University is a specialized program designed for high school students with a keen interest in mathematics. It focuses on discrete mathematics, a branch of math distinct from calculus, concentrating on objects that assume distinct, separated values. This field is fundamental in computer science and plays a crucial role in various modern applications.

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A Glimpse into Your Summer: Sample Schedule and Courses at the Young Scholars Program

Curious about what a day looks like in the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers? The upcoming summer may bring new variations, but this should give you a good idea of the daily rhythm.

Course Structure and Learning Approach

The typical day, except Fridays, follows this engaging structure:

Morning and Afternoon Sessions: Each day begins with reviewing homework from the previous day. You’ll present your solutions, setting the stage for that day’s learning.

Evening Preparation: There are no formal homework sessions in the evening, but it’s your time to prep for the next day’s presentation and tackle additional, optional problems if you choose.

three students studying outside

Interactive Learning

In the instructional sessions, you’ll collaborate in small groups guided by a teaching assistant, a Rutgers undergraduate specializing in mathematics or computer science. The learning cycle is dynamic:

Instructor’s Presentation: Introduction to new material.

Group Discussions: You and your peers delve into the problems.

Class-wide Discussions: Share insights and understandings.

This engaging approach ensures that every day at the Young Scholars Program is filled with active learning, teamwork, and deep exploration into the fascinating world of discrete mathematics.

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Exploring the Rich Curriculum of the Young Scholars Program

Week-by-Week Course Breakdown

The courses in this program cover a variety of topics in mathematics, with some variation each year to include new and exciting modules. Let’s break down what each week typically offers:

Week 1: Foundations and Combinatorics

Morning Sessions: Focus on enhancing your general mathematics knowledge. Key topics include mathematical induction, proof types, mathematical abstraction in problem-solving, and basic counting techniques.

Afternoon Sessions: Dive into combinatorics, learning systematic listing and counting methods. Ever wondered how many different pizzas can be made with three out of eight toppings? Here’s where you find out, alongside an introduction to probability.

Week 2: Graph Theory and Number Theory

Morning Sessions: Explore the essentials of graph theory – think directed graphs, Euler tours, and Hamilton cycles.

Afternoon Sessions: Delve into number theory, tackling intriguing questions like identifying numbers that fit specific multiple criteria.

Male and female students writing on a table next to a shelf full of books.

Week 3: Diverse Mathematical Topics

Morning Sessions: A mix of new topics not covered before. You’ll explore matchings, Pythagorean triples, graph games, and the strategy game NIM.

Afternoon Sessions: Codes and cryptography come into play, building on the number theory knowledge from the previous week.

Week 4: Game Theory and Advanced Combinatorics

Morning Sessions: Engage with the theory of games, examining both familiar and new games through a mathematical lens.

Afternoon Sessions: Return to advanced concepts in combinatorics and probability, expanding on ideas introduced in the first week.

Male student solving a Math problem on the board.

A Comprehensive Mathematical Journey

Each week is structured to progressively build on your knowledge, interweaving different mathematical concepts and applications. You’ll get to see how the theoretical aspects of mathematics come alive in practical and engaging ways, offering a well-rounded understanding of this diverse and dynamic field.

Diverse Afternoons and Engaging Evenings at the Young Scholars Program

Variety Sessions

From 4:45 to 5:45 PM, Monday through Thursday, the Variety Sessions offer a dynamic close to your academic day. Each session is unique, showcasing a range of captivating topics. Here’s what you might experience:

Expert Presentations: Discover intriguing subjects like “The Netflix Competition” or “Game Theory” from college professors and industry experts.

Interactive Activities: Participate in concerts, mathematical challenges, and tours of Rutgers campuses.

View of a teacher teaching a student.

Career Insights: Explore the diverse paths a mathematical career can offer.

Open Recreation: After dinner, you’ll have a 1.5-hour window for Open Recreation. This is your chance to enjoy swimming, basketball, racquetball, or volleyball. Or relax by simply unwinding and socializing. These activities are overseen by residence life counselors, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

Residential Evening Program: Beyond the Classroom

From 8 PM to 10 PM, the Residential Evening Program kicks in, curated by residence life counselors. This period is all about fun and exploration. You might:

Explore the Stars: Visit the campus observatory.

Movie Nights: Enjoy films at the campus cinema.

Campus Tours: Take walking tours of Rutgers’ New Brunswick campuses.

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Get Creative: Experience the campus Makerspace.

Between 10 PM and 11 PM, you’ll have free time. Whether you choose to dive into homework, relax, or watch a movie, this is your time to wind down in the residence hall, rounding off each eventful day at the program.

Why Should You Go to the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University?

At the Rutgers Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics, you’ll find a unique summer opportunity tailored for high school students like you with a strong affinity for math. This program is for students who are passionate about mathematics and considering a future in the mathematical sciences.

As a participant, you will dive into an intensive, four-week residential program that spotlights discrete mathematics. This area is not only vital but also ever-evolving, sitting at the forefront of modern mathematical research. It’s an exciting field with countless applications that you’ll get to explore.

Female student writing on the whiteboard.

Here’s what you can expect:

Problem-Solving Skills: Sharpen your ability to tackle diverse problems using advanced mathematical concepts.

Networking with Experts: Interact with leading professionals in discrete mathematics. These encounters offer insights, inspiration, and guidance on whether a career in mathematics is your calling.

Mentorship and Support: Engage with teaching assistants who are navigating their own mathematical journeys. They’ll provide you with academic support and share their experiences in the world of mathematics.

This program is a journey where you’ll test your potential, meet mentors, and possibly find your future in the world of mathematics.

Male teacher solving a Math problem while teaching students.

How Do You Get into the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University?

Admission to this esteemed program is competitive. Are you intrigued by the world of mathematics? Do you relish tackling complex and intriguing mathematical puzzles? Ever wonder what a day in the life of a mathematician looks like? How about spending a month on a college campus, immersing yourself in the exploration of mathematics? If so, then you are already a great fit for this adventure!

Applicants for the Young Scholars Program are usually assessed based on their academic performance, particularly in mathematics, and their overall passion for the subject. A strong recommendation from a math teacher or counselor can significantly bolster your application, too!

How to Apply to the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University?

When you’re ready to apply for the Young Scholars Program, make sure your application is complete with the following elements:

Filling Out the Application Form

Google Form Submission: Complete the Google Form called ‘Student Information and Parental Consent’ form, which includes a short essay. Gather all necessary information beforehand. Remember, you can’t partially save the form, and it must be fully completed before submission.

Unidentified person using a laptop while checking a piece of document.

Problem Solving: You are required to solve a set of interesting mathematical problems. You have the option to either scan or photograph your solutions – ensure that they are clear and readable.

These should be combined into one file, compressed into a .zip format, and then emailed to the RYSP staff. Once this file is received, you’ll receive confirmation that your application is complete.

Don’t be disheartened if you can’t solve all the problems. Show them what you’ve accomplished, including any steps towards the solution. These problems are challenging, but the most important thing you can do is enjoy the solving process and submit whatever you can finish!

Teacher’s Recommendation: Obtain a letter of recommendation from one of your teachers.

Academic Transcript: Include a copy of your high school transcript, obtainable from your school counselor.

This application process is designed to showcase your problem-solving skills, academic accomplishments, and potential. Application Materials for Summer 2024 will be posted near the end of December, so stay tuned!

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How Hard Is It to Get into the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University?

Gaining admission is challenging due to the limited number of spots and the high caliber of applicants. They usually only accept 30 students. However, with a strong academic record, particularly in mathematics, and a genuine passion for the subject, your chances are promising.

Program Cost

For the 2023 Young Scholars Program at Rutgers University, the total cost is $4,400. This fee includes tuition, educational materials, housing, and meals from Monday to Friday each week.

Students generally return home on weekends, but for those who live farther away and don’t have local relatives or family friends to stay with, there’s an option to stay for an additional fee of about $900, covering three weekends (9 nights).

While there are limited scholarships available for students who need financial support, it’s important to note that these are not accessible to international students. This structured fee arrangement ensures that all essential costs are covered, allowing students to fully immerse themselves in the learning experience without the concern of additional expenses.

Female student talking on a woman.

Sponsorship and Funding

The Rutgers Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics receives its sponsorship from the Department of Mathematics at the School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University, and the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Computer Science (DIMACS).

Originally, the program’s funding came from the National Science Foundation, and it has since gained further financial support from entities like the AT&T Foundation, Google, Hewlett-Packard, the Mathematical Sciences Department of IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, the Prudential Foundation, and the National Security Agency.

When Is the Deadline to Apply to the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University?

Applications for the Young Scholars Program are considered on a first-come, first-served basis, and due to high interest in previous years, it’s advisable to submit yours as early as possible, ideally in February or March.

If financial concerns are a barrier, note that partial scholarships are available. Following acceptance into the program, parents can apply for financial assistance. For families considering scholarship applications, it’s crucial to submit the program application, complete with problem solutions, by April 17, 2023, as financial aid applications are due by May 1, 2023. This process ensures a fair opportunity for all applicants, regardless of financial constraints.

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When Do I Find Out About My Application to the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University?

The final decision for the Rutgers Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics may not be made until mid-April. However, It is unclear if the decision-making process for the 2024 program will follow the same timeline. Be sure to check the RYSP webpage for details!

Where Is the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University?

The Young Scholars Program at Rutgers University is hosted on the Busch campus, where students stay in a modern, air-conditioned residence hall. The campus is designed for convenience, with classrooms, computer labs, a student center, and a recreation center all within walking distance.

The residence life staff organizes both the living arrangements and recreational activities. This program, held annually since 1990 with only two exceptions, has consistently received high ratings from its participants, reflecting its success and appeal to students.

A professor giving instructions to a student.

When Does the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University Take Place?

For the Summer of 2023, the program took place from July 3 to July 28, 2023. For Summer 2024 dates, stay tuned for their announcements! This will be an on-site residential program requiring full vaccination for all attendees.

How Long Is the Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics at Rutgers University?

The program runs for four exciting weeks!

Typical Daily Schedule

7:30 – 8:30 AM: Breakfast (except Monday)

8:30 – 11:00 AM: Morning Instructional Session

11:00 – 12:00 PM: Homework Session

12:00 – 12:45 PM: Lunch

12:45 – 1:15 PM: Recreation

1:15 – 3:45 PM: Afternoon Instructional Session

3:45 – 4:45 PM: Homework Session (ends at 4pm on Friday)

4:45 – 5:45 PM: Variety Sessions (except Friday)

6:00 – 6:45 PM: Dinner

6:45 – 8:00 PM: Scheduled Open Recreation

8:00 – 10:00 PM: Residential Programming

10:00 – 11:00 PM: Free Time

Group of students walking in the campus.


The heart of this program lies in discrete mathematics. However, it’s more than just a typical course. Your success here is gauged by your passion for the subject rather than how much content you cover.

Your daily routine will be packed, blending a mix of academic, recreational, and social activities.

Keep in mind this is an intensive experience. Active participation in all activities is expected. It’s a blend of fun and challenge, demanding your focused effort. Think of it as a ‘math camp’ where your days are filled with mathematics, though evenings are free for relaxation. Before committing, make sure you’re ready for this immersive mathematical adventure!

In conclusion, Rutgers University’s Young Scholars Program in Discrete Mathematics is not just a course but a stepping stone to a world brimming with possibilities. It’s an opportunity for you to dive deep into a crucial mathematical field, paving the way for future academic and professional pursuits. If your heart beats for mathematics, this program is your gateway to unlocking a future rich in knowledge and opportunities. Don’t let this chance slip away!

Looking for expert advice on pre-college program applications? Think about partnering with college admissions experts such as AdmissionSight. Our extensive experience has helped many students gain admission to prestigious universities worldwide. Begin your journey towards academic success – schedule a consultation with us today!

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