Participating in the American Collegiate Adventures Madison, Wisconsin program was the best summer ever and overall an amazing experience. The summer going into my junior year of high school I was looking for something to do that was not only going to be fun but also informative. ACA Wisconsin was both as it gives students who are nervous about beginning the college process a taste of what college will be like. The program allows students to live the life of a college student for the summer, meeting new people, taking classes with real college professors and living in a college dorm.

What drew me most to the program was Madison itself, which is not only a beautiful city and campus but it is filled with great activities and opportunities that ACA takes advantage of. The spirited environment, delicious food and gorgeous surroundings make you feel super comfortable and at home. In addition, you get the great experience of living in Statesider, which is a really nice dorm that brings the students all together, making it easy to meet people and make friends.

For me deciding which two classes to take was hard because ACA gives you so many great options! I ended up choosing to take Advertising and I am so happy I did because by the end of the program I had a new found love for anything having to do with advertising and marketing. The class even inspired me to take a marketing class at school when I got back home. I spent the other class time doing community service, which was a life-changing experience. Each day we went somewhere new, for instance to a food pantry or elderly homes and got to help out in anyway that we could. This was one of my favorite parts of the program because I got to see the impact I was making on the lives of the people we got to assist and it felt really good to be an active part of the Madison community.

Outside of classes, the ACA staff always keeps you entertained with different activities during the day and at night such as going to sit by Lake Mendota, hitting up the gym (the SERF) with your friends or even bowling! One of my favorite activities from the program was when we did Color War. The staff, who were all amazing and so much fun, were the captains and divided us up into teams to participate in a Scavenger Hunt all over the UW campus. Everyone got involved and had a blast! The weekend adventures were also a highlight of the program, some of which included going to a music festival, touring the city of Chicago and getting to see other colleges like Indiana University, Ohio State University, Northwestern University and more!

The ACA Madison program impacted me in many ways. I would say that it really prepared me for college and by getting to know the University of Wisconsin so well, it gave me insight into what I am looking for in a college. Furthermore, I got the opportunity to explore some of my passions, learn new things and even discover a new interest. Most importantly, I made such great friendships with students I met and the staff who are so caring and love what they do. For all these reasons and more, I would recommend this program to anyone who is looking for not only a fun summer experience but an enriching one too!

By Alli Hamburger

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