Q: What do the names of the different programs within the Math Circles of Chicago mean? Which program should I register for?
A: Our programs are named after prominent mathematicians–follow the links to learn about them!

  • Haynes-5/6: 5th and 6th graders should sign up for this level.
  • Brahmagupta-7/8: We’d like all 7th graders and many 8th graders to sign up for Brahmagupta-7/8.
  • Cantor-A1/G: This program is meant for 9th and 10th graders enrolled in Algebra 1 or Geometry, and 8th graders that have completed or are enrolled in a high school level Algebra 1 course.
  • Kovalevsky-A2/PC: Students who have completed a high school level geometry course should enroll in Kovalevsky.
  • Euler: You should sign up for Euler if you’ve been in Euler before or if you have completed two years in Kovalevsky. If you haven’t participated before and are interested, and you haven’t completed two years of Kovalevsky, write an email to info@mathcirclesofchicago.org and tell us about yourself.

Q: How does the lottery work? How does re-enrollment work? How does the waitlist work?
A: If you are new to MC2, when you register you will be informed that you have entered the lottery. On the priority deadline day, a lottery is run. Students in public schools in Chicago fill spots first; otherwise each student in the lottery has an equal chance for admission. Admissions emails are sent out that day.

If you attended math circles the previous quarter, attending at least two sessions, you can re-enroll at the same site. You must do so before the priority deadline to re-enroll.

Students who miss the first day of math circles and who do not notify their sitecoordinator via email prior to that day will be dropped if that program has a waitlist. Students who are admitted from the waitlist will be notified at least one week before the corresponding site’s second meeting.

Q: Does every program have a waitlist?
A: No. Historically the high school programs–Kovalevsky-A2/PC and Euler–have not had waitlists. The programs that have had waitlists most frequently are Haynes-5/6 and Cantor-7/8 at our Saturday sites.

Q: My 5th grade student is taking 7th grade math. Can she/he enroll in Brahmagupta-7/8?
A: Our sessions are designed to challenge all students, especially advanced ones; many (though not all) of the students in our 5th/6th grade group, Haynes-5/6, are already taking math well beyond the standard fifth grade curriculum. Students should start in the class appropriate to their grade in school. If your child feels like the first sessions really aren’t providing them with the challenge they want, we can discuss moving up at that time–but please wait until your child has attended a minimum of two sessions before reaching out. If you are new to Math Circles, choose the standard age group suggested above. Also please note: Part of our disinclination to ‘move up’ students is that we want is best collectively for our students. There is value in having students grouped by age and maturity level.

Q: My 3rd or 4th grade student really loves math. Can she/he enroll in Math Circles?
A: No. Demand for our middle school sessions is so high that it seems unfair to turn away middle schoolers who want to participate to make room for younger students who will have the option to enroll later. We also stick to this policy because our program is not about accelerating children.

Q: If I attended last quarter, am I guaranteed a spot in the next quarter?
A: Generally, yes. You do need to have good attendance (no more than two absences in a quarter), and you are only guaranteed a spot at the same location. Please note: Because we do not have nearly as many spaces available in our summer camps as we do in our academic year program, no one is guaranteed a spot in the summer. However, we generally give priority to students who have strong attendance during the school year priority in our summer lottery as much as we can.

Q: I have more than one child in math circles. Can I put them under the same username? 
A: Yes! Our new system (as of August, 2019), now has family accounts. (Prior to this date families have had to create multiple accounts–thank goodness that’s over).

Q: Do you have a summer program?
A: Yes! We have held camps since 2017. Please see our Summer webpage for more information. Note that this page is usually updated in January, so in the fall it is not up to date! 🙂

It’s worth noting that our colleagues at the Young Scholar’s Program at the University of Chicago also have a summer program for 7th to 12th graders. We collaborate with UChicago YSP during the school year, but their summer session is not part of Math Circles (although we still recommend it!)