Collected Responses about Ross

<p>Over the past year I've posted a lot about my experience at Ross last summer both on the site and at art of problem solving as free spirit. Given that the responses are in like 8 threads on two sites I've decided to try and collect all my responses in one thread. This will also be posted on art of problem solving.</p>

<p>From the 2010 Ross thread on college confidential

shushugah, I don't think it makes sense to compare the camps from best to worst. The camps cater towards different interests. For example, if you want to spend 8 weeks doing math almost constantly Ross is probably the best choice. But if you want to do things that aren't math related Ross isn't as good of a choice. From what I've heard HCiSSM places a large emphasis on its inside jokes and having fun. Awesome Math seems very geared towards competitions. Mathcamp seems to focus on various interesting subjects of math. Ross and PRMOYS are both entirely number theory. Another consideration is whether you prefer to work alone or in groups. At Ross working in groups is generally looked down upon. Often times at Ross you might spend hours or even days working alone on one particular problem. My understanding is that the doesn't really happen at other camps. While spending 8 days on one problem like I did at Ross last year might simulate actual reseach it wouldn't be very helpful in terms of math competitions.</p>

<p>In terms of instructors, I'm only familar with Ross. The instructors are good but most of the learning you do by yourself anyways so they're not that important.</p>

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<p>Glad to have helped. At Ross, there is an hour of lecture each day and 3 days a week there is a 1 hour seminar. The lectures generally either explain new concepts, explore interesting tangents, or will go over old problem sets. The seminars are run by different people and some of them explore more tangential stuff like set theory while others focus on discussions of problems from the problem sets. Another important thing to note is that you work at your own pace. Oftentimes, a lecture will go over a proof from an old problem set so if you're going at a fast pace you'll have proved it by yourself but if you're going slower they'll give you the proof sometimes. </p>

<p>From the 2011 Ross thread on college confidential</p>

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<p>The facilities are pretty decent. Our dorm building last year was pretty old but the dorm rooms themselves were nice and had a bedroom with bunk beds, a study room, and a bathroom. There was some communal rooms in the dorm where a lot of people would hang out. Although I never went to the athletic center, I heard it was of excellent quality. The student center where most people ate is also very new. Sets can either be done alone or in groups of people of like 2-3 people although there are no hard rules regarding this. You certainly would be able to work with your roommate as long as both of you pulled your own weight but not nobody will force you to work with them or anyone else for that matter. </p>

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<p>@kgppra053420 Ross is pretty strict about not letting you bring laptops. If you have a specific purpose that you'll need one for they may allow you to bring it for that purpose only. However, while it is not exactly true that there are computers in the dorm, you can go to the campus library to use computers. Although the counselors will be unhappy if you spend too much time using the computers, you will be able to use them for pretty much whatever you want to do.</p>

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<p>You will probably initially be a bit behind but you should be able to catch up pretty quickly if you are well prepared. Some people came late last year and it certainly didn't effect them by the end of the summer. I am not positive that they will send you the work you miss but I've heard that other places and would think that it is probably true.</p>

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<p>The Ross program gives a list of course topics here: The Ross Mathematics Summer Program for high school students, held on The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. I wouldn't worry about looking like an idiot due to lack of talent. Ross will only accept people who will be able to do decently well if they work. The people who do the worst at Ross are without exception those who are too lazy to work hard. I wouldn't recommend studying number theory before coming to Ross; you'll do more than enough number theory at Ross. However, if you want to prepare for Ross I would recommend working on proof writing. I think you'd be better off studying something like logic or set theory before coming to Ross.</p>

<p>Ross will not allow you to bring a laptop for gaming. Although playing games on library computers is technically prohibited and will make the counselors like you less, plenty of people do it anyways and they won't actually stop you.</p>

<p>People spend wildy varying amounts of time on the problem sets. Some people might only spend a couple of hours a day on math although those people don't do that well. Others will spend like 12 hours a day every day on problem sets. I think it takes the average Ross student 2-3 days to do a set although there is wide variation. You can work in groups or by yourself. Although it is kinda frowned upon if you come up with the solutions with other people it is not prohibited and it is certainly acceptable to bounce ideas off other people. People at Ross are on about every schedule imaginable. Some people work in the morning and afternoon and relax in the evening. Personally, my schedule was roughly like this
9 AM wake up and go to classes
10-11 AM after classes have lunch
12 PM go back to the dorm and take a nap
4 PM wake up and either work or go to the library to use computers
6 PM dinner
7 PM -4 AM work on problem sets
4 AM go to bed. Every week there is a frisbee game and some weeks there is another scheduled activity. For the most part though, free time is yours to use as you wish. Some people like to go the gym or hang out. You can also take a break more or less whenever you want as long as you remain productive. </p>

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<p>Students are not allowed off campus without a counselor. However, there is a CVS on the far side of campus and counselors routinely take people to the closer one as well. There is a also a university bookstore on campus but I think those are only two place you'll have easy access to. There is a movie theather near campus but I don't think students are normally allowed to go there. Essentialy, there are 5 major rules at Ross:
1. Get problem sets done at a reasonable rate
2. Don't leave campus without a counselor
3. Be in the dorms after dark
4. Go to the 1-2 hours of classes a day.
5. Don't possess prohibited items such as laptops.
Other than those 5 rules, your behavior at Ross is more or less unrestricted. </p>

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<p>There are no classes, so most people sleep in. You're expected to work on math for part of the time but the rest of the time is free. I guess at Ross the line between free time and math time is very blurred. Some camps might be like 4-6 work on math and then 6-8 free time but at Ross other than for classes all the time is free but you're expected to get stuff done. There were certainly weekends where I was on set [at Ross you're said to be on set if you've finished all the problem sets handed out so far. in the beginining there are typically a small group of people on set which shrinks until more or less everyone is no longer on set] and spent little to no time during math. Even if you are never on set, you could probably take a day or two off from math if you really wanted to.</p>

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<p>I'll be coming back as a junior counselor. I'm not sure if you're allowed to use all the athletic facilities but I know you're allowed to go the main gym center. I think some people played tennis but I'm not sure. I assume you'd be allowed to bring a racket but again I'm not really sure. To be honest, I never used the athletic facilities although I think almost everyone else did. </p>

<p>So my friend tells me you're allowed to use 'Everything but rock wall, basically'.</p>

<p>From the thread PROMYS, ROSS, or mathcamo on art of problem solving</p>

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<p>think nikeballa96 describes Mathcamp and PROMYS pretty accurately but isn't as familar with Ross. I went to Ross last summer and will return this summer as a junior counselor. Another important difference between the camps is how much time is spent learning techniques and theorems compared to how much time is spent proving theorems. My understanding is that Mathcamp is more like a regular math class in this regard and that classes due to their short length just go over the major results. At Ross however you'll spend most of your time coming up with proofs. I think PROMYS is somewhere in between in that everyday you try to prove some theorems and then you get solutions at the end of the day. I would agree that if you're into competition math then go to Mathcamp. If you want to focus on number theory than either PROMYS or Ross. I would say go to PROMYS if you care about having fun but go to Ross if you want to truly learn math as the longer and more intensive experience allows you to come up with some really deep ideas.</p>

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<p>Maybe this is just my skewed perspective but I'm not sure PROMYS is just as intense as Ross. For one Ross is about 2 weeks longer than PROMYS which is something to consider. Maybe I am mistaken but I was under the impression that at PROMYS every day you get a problem set, work on it and then at the end of the day go over it with your counselor. Maybe this is wrong but at PROMYS is everyone working the same set? At Ross you spend as much time as it takes to solve all the problems on the set which can is some cases be more than a week. This leads to by the end of camp some people being on set 30 and others on set 10.
I agree that both are overall at the same level and have similar levels of students. I think there are stylistic differences between the camps though as some people from PROMYS have talked about spending time exploring Boston. I'm sure that's what some people want to spend their summer doing but that's not what people at Ross do.</p>

<p>From the thread PROMYS and Ross on art of problem solving


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<p>For a general overview of the two programs, you should look at each program's individual thread and the thread comparing Mathcamp, PROMYS, and Ross. Ross and PROMYS are actually pretty similar as PROMYS was created to be like Ross. Here are some differences though
1. Ross is 8 weeks and PROMYS is 6 weeks. This allows you to do considerably more math at Ross but at the cost of more of your summer. I think the programs charge similar amounts of money so Ross is considerably cheaper per day.
2. Ross is Columbus, Ohio and PROMYS is in Boston. Although Columbus, Ohio has to be one of the most boring places in the US, the lack of interesting surroundings helps you focus on math. I heard at PROMYS people explore Boston which may be exciting but probably does not encourage doing math.
3. At Ross, first years are not allowed to bring laptops. I think PROMYS allows first years to bring laptops. I can imagine that laptops would signigicantly cut down on mathematical productivity although they would allow you to play more games. At Ross you can still use computers in the library but you have to be in the dorms after dark. At Ross you can also get yelled out for playing computer games. I do not know the policy for this at PROMYS.
4. At Ross first years focus pretty much exclusively on the number theory problem sets. According to the PROMYS thread, some first years at PROMYS do some kind of research thing which does not seem directly related to the number theory problem sets.
5. At Ross you work at your own pace so different people can be working on very different stuff at any given time. By the end of the camp, the number of sets people have done resembles a bell curve. The top students are usually on sets 25-30 (there are 31 sets and typically one student every 2-3 years finishes all the sets). the good students are on sets 20-25, the average students on sets 15-20, and the lazy students fail to finish 15. At Ross if you do something wrong on a set you end up redoing the probelm.
I'm not entirely sure how PROMYS works so if someone who went there can correct me if I'm wrong about this that's be great but I think at PROMYS you get a problem set every day similar to Ross but then you go over it with your counselor at the end of the day. I think this means that at PROMYS everyone is on roughly the same set and if you don't solve a problem you'll eventually get a solution for it.</p>

<p>In conclusion, I think at Ross you'll end up doing more math while at PROMYS you'll end up doing more other stuff.</p>

<p>If you have questions that aren't answered in any of these posts feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them.</p>

<p>Great FAQ. I'm not sure that it's of a wide enough interest to be stickied (or if there are any active mods in this subforum anyway), but this needs to be remembered for next year's participants, too.</p>

<p>Just to respond to a few of the points listed above:</p>

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<li><p>PROMYS, indeed, is two weeks shorter. In order to cover the same amount of material that Ross does, the daily problem sets are significantly longer, but rest assured, the amount that Ross students cover is roughly the same as the amount that PROMYS students cover.</p></li>
<li><p>The system of reviewing problem sets is not accurately described in the above post. Yes, all students receive a new problem set every day, and no, students don't finish every single problem (especially with later sets). However, students are never given explicit solutions; counselors will work with students, even after several additional problem sets have been assigned, so that a complete and rigorous solution is produced, whether it be a proof or a numerical answer. Alternatively, during the later weeks, students are encouraged to pursue "threads" in the problem sets to completion. Oftentimes, the sets become to overwhelming to complete in their entirety, but since the program encourages depth over breadth, students can choose one or two threads (such as continued fractions, quadratic residues, etc) to really investigate and understand. I personally enjoyed the fast pace and the rapid-fire assignment speed (which goes back to my earlier point - PROMYS condenses material) - keeping up was a challenge, and I certainly fell behind, but before my first year at PROMYS, I had never realized how much I could learn and absorb during six weeks. </p></li>
<li><p>The laptop policy at PROMYS changed to mirror that at ROSS. Laptops were prohibited this year (and probably will continue to be).</p></li>
<li><p>The PROMYS first year exploration projects were directly related to the problem sets. The topics included sums of squares, linear diophantine equations, and counting rationals. For former PROMYS and Ross students, these topics will definitely sound familiar.</p></li>
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<p>I just wanted to clear up some minor misconceptions about PROMYS! I hope this post helped as well.</p>

<p>@mathdork thanks for the reply. I've only attended Ross and it's good to hear what PROMYS is like from people who actually went. </p>

<p>Another thing to note is that in 2012 Ross will switch to six weeks because of changes in Ohio State's academic calendar. I'm not entirely sure how this will change the program but I imagine it will stay fairly similar.</p>

<p>Thanks for explaining how sets are done at PROMYS. How much help do students recieve from their counselors on old problem sets? Are they pointed in the right direction or not given much help? The idea about various threads is interesting. By the end will some students only be working on problems related to one or two threads and ignoring the rest or am I misunderstanding how things are done?</p>

<p>Sorry for the late response, UMTYMP!</p>

<p>Normally, if the student neglected a critical problem (typically a proof) that is necessary to prove later theorems, the counselors will sit with the student and offer direction/guidance/suggestions if necessary. The amount of counselor interference varies from counselor to counselor and student to student, but generally, counselors offer feedback on completed proofs (eg where to be more rigorous) and maybe some suggestions on approaches for difficult proofs (eg "have you tried a graphical approach?).</p>

<p>By the end, most students will be working on problems related to one or two threads and sampling problems from other threads. This is normally accidental, but students generally gravitate towards to some topics over others. Of course, some boss students will complete most of the problems on each problem sets, although this is normally rare.</p>

<p>Thanks mathdork! I have actually updated the original post and reposted it here <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/summer-programs/1262763-semi-definitive-ross-updated.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/summer-programs/1262763-semi-definitive-ross-updated.html&lt;/a>. I will add your post to the new thread as well.</p>