We are always happy to answer questions from potential students, parents and teachers! Below are answers to our common questions; if you have questions not featured, please feel free to contact our team.
How UMTYMP Works
Who should take UMTYMP courses?
A successful UMTYMP candidate likes math, wants a challenge, and is willing to work hard to learn new material; generally, they don't need as much repetition of each new concept as students in standard math courses. Our students are mathematically advanced enough to handle a more rigorous Calculus course than the traditional offerings, and can succeed in Calculus as a ninth or tenth grader- or earlier!
However, beyond this aptitude for mathematics, there is no defining characteristic of UMTYMP students. Our classrooms are microcosms of a typical middle- or high-school class. We have students who are entirely focused on math and science, but also students involved in sports, theater, and every other activity you can think of.
What are UMTYMP courses?
The program has two components.
- High School Component. During the first two years of UMTYMP, students cover all four years of the "traditional" high school curriculum: Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Math Analysis (PreCalculus). The courses are taught by excellent secondary teachers from throughout the metro area, and Minnesota state law ensures that public schools count them as satisfying high school graduation requirements.
- Calculus Component. During the final three years of the program, students earn up to 12 University credits in a sequence of Calculus courses. UMTYMP Calculus I covers single variable calculus. Students in UMTYMP Calculus II and III learn linear algebra, differential equations, set theory, methods of proof, and multivariable calculus. Calculus component courses are taught by University faculty members with a great deal of experience teaching students of this age.
When and where are UMTYMP courses taught?
UMTYMP courses are taught on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis, Rochester and Duluth campuses. They typically meet from 4:00pm-6:00pm once per week throughout the University's fall and spring semesters. You can get more information about schedules on the UMTYMP schedules page or by contacting our office.
How much homework is there?
UMTYMP currently uses a combination of online homework (which students rework until it is correct) and written homework. Current UMTYMP students self-report that they spend 6-8 hours on homework each week, and all measures of student learning have remained consistent through this change of approach.
How much does UMTYMP cost?
Broadly speaking, one year of the high-school component costs $1250 and the calculus component costs $1450. These estimates include the cost of textbooks, and payments are made each semester; however, tuition for UMTYMP varies slightly from semester to semester.
Detailed information about scholarships and payment schedules can be found in the current online UMTYMP Handbook.
How are UMTYMP courses different from standard offerings?
In the high school component, the most notable difference is in the pace. Students frequently cover a chapter of a textbook per week. Teachers discuss the main concepts and examples in class, but students are expected to work through a great deal of material on their own. Rather than memorizing formulas, UMTYMP students learn overarching concepts so they can apply them in novel contexts.
In the calculus component, the emphasis shifts to problem solving, collaboration, and communication of mathematics. Half of each class is devoted to students working together in small groups, and each homework assignment includes a problem graded for both mathematical correctness and mathematical writing.
What do UMTYMP students do for math in their daily classrooms?
Our office is happy to talk to any school or district about how to handle UMTYMP students, but ultimately the decision is up to them. Schools and districts can also choose how to record or weight UMTYMP courses on a student's transcript. In our experience, this varies widely by district.
Most schools replace the math courses in UMTYMP students' schedules with an hour in the media center (or other room) where they can work on their UMTYMP homework. Some of our older students take an additional class instead, and complete their UMTYMP assignments at home. While there is no need for them to take math courses at their school, many are involved in math clubs or math teams at their schools.
Minnesota Statute 120B.14 ensures that students at public schools receive credit towards high school graduation for successful completion of UMTYMP courses. The statute does not apply to private schools, but most of them take the same approach as public schools. Some may require their students to take additional mathematics electives at their own school; in general, an UMTYMP student should never have to retake calculus or any other course taken through the program.
What happens after completing UMTYMP?
Students who complete the entire UMTYMP sequence typically move on to take advanced undergraduate level courses at the University or another college. At the University of Minnesota, UMTYMP graduates can proceed directly to 4000- or 5000-level courses as undergraduates.
UMTYMP alumni who are still in high school can take courses through the Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program. They can also take UMTYMP Advanced Topics courses with other UMTYMP graduates; these are typically offered once per year. Eligible students are emailed of these opportunities as they arise, but can also contact the office for information.
Admissions and Eligibility
How can a student enroll in UMTYMP?
Students currently in grades 5-7 who wish to enter UMTYMP at the Algebra level (High School Component) must take the UMTYMP Algebra Qualifying Exam. Navigate to How to Join UMTYMP for information and registration materials.
Occasionally, students in grades 7-10 who are not enrolled in the UMTYMP High School component are able to test directly into the Calculus component. They must have completed Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, PreCalculus with Trigonometry, or equivalent courses. Contact our office for details on this qualifying exam in April.
Who is eligible for the UMTYMP Algebra Qualifying Exam?
Any student in a public or private school who is currently in grades 5-7 and either (a) has scored at or above the 95th percentile on a standardized mathematics achievement test in the past two years or (b) has been recommended by a school teacher or counselor to take the UMTYMP exam. Students who have already taken a course in Algebra I are still eligible to take the exam.
Our testing age requirements are based on actual grade level, not the grade level of mathematics your student is currently studying. Students in UMTYMP must not only be ready for advanced mathematics courses, but also be mature enough to sit in a two-hour long class while staying focused and taking notes; therefore, students younger than sixth grade are not eligible for UMTYMP.
How do we make admissions decisions?
Although the Qualifying Exam score is important, contrary to popular opinion there is no set passing line to qualify for UMTYMP. We use a holistic admissions process and make decisions based on the Qualifying Exam score and other information from student applications, including answers to the essay questions.
Please note: This system does make it possible for one student to be admitted while another student with the same score (or even higher) is not.
What do we look for in the essay responses?
The essay responses should be thoughtful, honest, and written by the student, not parents.
For Schools and Teachers
Which students should be recommended for UMTYMP?
Students whose grades in mathematics are far above their peers or who have scored exceptionally high on standardized exams are certainly good candidates for UMTYMP; also keep an eye out for students who have a natural flair for mathematics, regardless of their in-class scores. Sometimes they are easy to spot, such as the student who both anticipates and answers your questions before you even ask them.
Sometimes they are more difficult to spot; for example, our past experience indicates many highly mathematically talented female students are reticent to speak up in class and may not demonstrate their full abilities. Once in UMTYMP, these students are often among the most successful.
How should we handle UMTYMP students' schedules/grades/transcripts/etc?
Ultimately this is up to each school, but we're happy to talk to you about common practices throughout other schools and districts. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 612-625-2861.
Does UMTYMP deplete us of our good students?
UMTYMP students themselves can become resources for their fellow students and schools. While UMTYMP students take their math courses at the University, most are very active in their own school community, including participating in math clubs and math teams; many of the top students in the Minnesota State Math League, for example, are UMTYMP students.
UMTYMP is not in competition with schools; we offer a service by providing the mathematical education for students for whom schools might otherwise run out of resources. We rarely draw more than one or two students per school, and therefore have very little effect on what mathematics courses are scheduled.