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.

  • Haynes: Virtually all 5th and 6th graders should sign up for this level. You might have studied some Algebra (the new national math standards mention “Algebraic Thinking” from 1st grade on), but they are unlikely to have had a full high school level course by this time.
  • Brahmagupta: We’d like all 7th graders and many 8th graders to sign up for Brahmagupta.
  • Cantor: 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: 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 and Euler–have not had waitlists. The programs that have had waitlists most frequently are Haynes and Cantor at our Saturday sites.

Q: My 5th grade student is taking 7th grade math. Can she/he enroll in Brahmagupta?
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, 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.

Q: My 3rd or 4th grade student really loves math. Can she/he enroll in Math Circle?
A: In general, 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. If your student has completed a high school level Algebra course and would be eligible for our high school programs, please contact us directly at info@mathcirclesofchicago.org to discuss her/his situation individually.

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.

Q: I have more than one child in math circles. Can I put them under the same username? 
A: No. You’ll need to create a separate account for each child. The usernames must be different email addresses.

Q: Do you have a summer program?
A: Yes! In 2017 and 2018 we had summer programs, and we expect to have one again in 2019. Our goal over the next three years is to raise sufficient funds in order to run summer programs for 5th to 10th graders at three locations (south, north, and west sides).

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!)

Q: Why don’t math circles meet every week?
A: Two reasons. First, we have a limited teacher capacity. Many of our instructors also teach in public schools, and their preference is that we meet every other week so that math circles is manageable. Second, we have limited funding!

Fall 2018 Update: We will be holding weekly sessions at our new site in Morgan Park. If this experiment is successful, we hope to add other weekly sites in the future.