Middle School Program

Southern California

Join ACA for the Summer-of-a-Lifetime!


  • Overview
  • Courses
  • Campus Life & Activities
  • Weekend Adventures
  • San Fran Ext

Welcome to Southern California!

Middle School Program

Los Angeles is nestled beautifully along the Southern California coastline – the best of all possible settings for the ultimate summer experience! You’ve got the cities of Malibu, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills and all the best that SoCal has to offer. It’s an endless summer of enrichment and adventure decked out in real California style!

Southern California is famous for its warm sandy beaches and bustling city, the perfect setting for your ultimate summer experience! Dynamic, culturally diverse and breathtakingly beautiful, Los Angeles combines the finest the California coast has to offer.

  • Entertainment Industry
  • Athletics & Sports Training
  • Fashion, Film, Business
  • Upscale Residence Halls
  • 10:1 Student-to-Staff Ratio
  • Red Carpet Events

Weekday Schedule

  • 8:30 am - 9:15 am
  • 9:30 am - 11:00 am
    Course 1
  • 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
  • 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
    Course 2
  • 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
  • 3:30 pm - 6:00 pm
    Afternoon Activities
    (Choice of Several Options)
  • 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
    Shower, Change, Relax
  • 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  • 9:00 pm - 11:30 pm
    Evening Activities
    (Choice of Several Options)
  • 11:30 pm - 12:30 pm
    Residence Hall (Social Time)
  • 12:30 pm
    Goodnight (Individual Suites)

Classes run Monday through Friday.

Safety & Supervision

ACA has always been committed to absolute safety for every student. We maintain a ten-to-one student-to-staff ratio – one of the lowest in the industry – to ensure everyone gets the unmatched attention and unique personalized programs they deserve. 

As part of our commitment to student safety, ACA staff members live on student-occupied floors, accompany students on all activities and excursions, and are always equipped with cellphones for emergencies. ACA takes care to use private transportation for our weekday activities and weekend adventure trips – never public transportation.

The Residence Hall adds an additional element of security, as well. The front desk is staffed 24 hours a day with trained personnel for your comfort and convenience.

Travel to Southern California*

We recommend that students fly nonstop to Los Angeles (LAX) International Airport. There they will be met by ACA staff members, who will escort them to comfortable, air-conditioned shuttles for the brief drive to campus along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Of course, parents are also welcome to drive students to ACA directly. Contact our office for further information on any of these travel options.

*Transportation is not included in tuition.

ACA Electives

ACA’s signature SoCal program offers the kind of personal enrichment electives that build confidence for high school while also giving you the chance to grow academically and intellectually. 

The ACA experience gives you plenty of opportunities to enhance your knowledge and pursue your interests. Pursue a new passion, explore your inner creativity, practice a sport. Do it all in an amazing summer setting, surrounded by new friends and without the pressure of grades!

ACA classes are graded on a “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” basis, and all students receive an ACA “Certificate of Achievement” upon successful completion of each course.

Electives are held Monday through Friday, and are taught by distinguished members of the university faculty, graduate students, secondary school instructors or SoCal-area professionals. Instructors teach in an interactive, seminar style, creating a supportive environment that encourages you to actively participate in each class.

ACA fills courses on a first-come, first-served basis, so we strongly recommend enrolling in the program early to better ensure the availability of your desired courses.

Elective Options: 

You will be able to two of the following options for your stay in SoCal:

Elective Selection:

Calling all fashionistas! In this elective, you will create beautiful handmade jewelry. Explore different technics including wire coiling, braiding and beading patterns to make stunning designs. Work with ribbon, glass beads, fibers, paper, and more.

If making it to the silver screen is your dream, then start in the land where stars go to hit it big. You’ll explore the fundamentals of acting, finding your motivation, and creating dynamic scenes through conflict and resolution, while mastering any sense of stage fright. You’ll also gain the benefit of practicing these elements through both individual and duo-scene performances. Refine your talent further by engaging in the most popular acting theories, including Constantin Stanislavski’s “magic if,” Lee Strasberg’s “the method,” and the Meisner technique. To complete your acting class, you’ll also participate in a live audition with Emmy-nominated casting director Fern Champion.

If you are eager to indulge your artistic side, this course is ideal. Master foundational skills including value scales, sighting, construction, and still life. View works of art on-campus and use them to inspire your own skills. Pursue painting and watercolor techniques, or try your hand at drawing and sketching. See if you can tap the Picasso within!

These days everything — and everyone — is online. This course explains how social media has not only revolutionized the social fabric, but also how to create a one-of-a-kind social media experience. Explore how individuals and companies  use social media to increase their fame, following and value. Examine the business plans of the major social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Snap Chat, and Tik Tok. This class will also explore how individuals and companies build successful brands across various platforms and the big question – what makes a post go viral?

Photography has evolved more dramatically than any other art form, and digital technology has revolutionized how we take pictures. This hands-on course will introduce you to both the basics of taking great digital pictures and advanced tricks for making them even more creative and compelling. You’ll learn how to crop images, adjust color and contrast, and save your work as a great keepsake of your ACA experience! Whether you hope to shoot fashion models and rock stars, capture images of rare animals in the wild or just want to take good vacation photos, this course is picture perfect! Please note: Some studio time outside of regular class is required, and students must supply their own DSLR cameras or camera phones.

Launching your own company isn’t for everyone. Only the most daring, determined types need apply, but if you have what it takes, you’ll be in the same league as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, or Google guys Larry Page and Sergey Brin. If you’re ready to develop your own startup, this course could be your first step on the road to success! You’ll create a business plan, hoping to cash in on your innovation and creativity. Research your market, work up a template to put your plan into action, and let your inner entrepreneur take command.

Everyone knows that a good diet and plenty of exercise are the keys to good health, but what’s going to work best for you? Are you a vegetarian, yogi or a protein-pounding weight lifter? Whatever your well-being interest, this course will help you balance mind, body and spirit, discussing progressive fitness techniques and intelligent approaches to nutrition. Students will also learn stress-management techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga to develop a well-rounded approach to mental and physical health focused on the mind and body.

Ready to be a force on the field? Fancy footwork is just the beginning. From building more intricate attack strategies to solidifying your defensive play, your soccer skills are in for a kick. You’ll play on outstanding top-notch collegiate fields with coaches who understand the intricacies of the game and know how to improve the performance of any player.

Achieve your basketball goals! You’ll participate in fundamental instruction, drills and scrimmages. Perfect your jump shot, improve your dribbling, speed, and direction-changing abilities, enhance your passing and more. You’ll play with coaches who understand the intricacies of the game and know how to improve the performance of any player.

It’s time to throw around a little iron! You’ll combine bodyweight exercises to jumpstart your fitness, core strength, and flexibility. From circuit-style exercises to muscle toning, you’ll push your body to the max as you master each workout’s unique challenges. This course will get you in the weight room and give you the tools to really work for peak physical performance. Instruction will build upon safe and proper techniques of strength training and conditioning utilizing a variety of exercises, equipment, facilities, and training skills. Students will depart from this course with a better understanding of strength and conditioning techniques. Don’t be intimidated. It’s for everyone!
Maybe you want to make your drive come alive. You might be struggling with your short game. This course will help you drop strokes and really get into the swing of things. Focused, individual instruction helps you work through your specific golf challenges, taking you from tee to green with confidence and control!

Add velocity to your serve. Learn to charge the net with confidence. Unlock the power of your backhand. Or maybe just get a better understanding of the game’s fundamentals. All this is possible when you step on the court with ACA. You’ll play on top-caliber courts and get valuable instruction on how to take your game to the top!

Take to the waves or head over the wall! Whether you’re up for some surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking or you want to try your rock climbing skills, this course is the perfect fit for any outdoor sports enthusiast.

Catch a gnarly wave off Malibu’s sunny shores on Zuma Beach. Whether you’re new to the water or an experienced boarder, this class will take you to the next level. Improve your balance, style and skill as you soak up some California sun and prepare to become the next Bruce Brown. Hang Ten!

*Supplemental fee may apply.

Southern California Life

SoCal is home to countless celebrities, and now you can call it home, too! Take in the excitement of LA, the beauty of Santa Monica and the unparalleled pristine beaches of Malibu. It’s the perfect place for anyone looking for an active summer! We are surrounded by great hiking trails and bike paths, and you can even surf, swim or kayak in the Pacific Ocean! Professional instruction and equipment are always available. Be sure to pack your sense of adventure!

You can count on outstanding accommodations – this is ACA!

Staying in SoCal has its privileges, which is why so many celebrities call it home. You’ll kick back in comfort, enjoying safe, clean and comfortable dorms with in-suite bathrooms, internet access and much more. These rooms definitely serve up cool California style!  ACA creates a unique environment where you’ll be able to concentrate on getting the most out of your summer, staying refreshed and ready to excel.

Excellent Eats

Choices, choices, choices! With ACA, you never have to worry about going hungry. From home-style meals served at breakfast, lunch and dinner to ACA’s exciting Dining-on-the-Town-Plan on the weekends, no pre-college summer program gives you as many dining options as ACA!

Weekday mornings, our breakfast buffet features freshly-made specials like eggs, pancakes and waffles alongside plenty of fresh fruit, cereal, bagels, yogurt and pastries. You’ll have no problem fueling up for the day!

Lunch and dinner at the on-campus dining facility during the week feature a wonderful choice of kitchen-fresh entrees, a selection of side dishes, a soup-and-salad bar, beverage bar, desserts, and fresh-baked breads and pastries.

On weekends and occasional weeknights, you’ll be able to take advantage of ACA’s exclusive Dining-on-the-Town-Plan. It lets you choose great dining-out options at a variety of ACA-selected restaurants – and it’s included in your tuition! Whether you want to tackle some local delicacies or stick to hometown favorites, you’re sure to find a restaurant that suits your taste. And don’t worry, we make sure everyone eats just as well during our exciting weekend adventures!

Around Town & Beyond

With the Pacific Coast in the background, Southern California offers something for everyone, and the Westwood area is packed with plenty to do. You’ll have plenty of time to check out the attractions and activities that interest you most! Participate in an on-campus seminar or workshop, explore the shops, sights and scenes in Los Angeles, enjoy a favorite sport, or just relax on the beach.

Afternoon and evening activities are yours to enjoy. Play some tennis, head to the beach or get in a round of golf. Catch the perfect wave during a surfing lesson or browse the celebrated shops of Rodeo Drive. From semi-private sports instruction to creative arts workshops to cool shows, outings and summer concerts, there are new options to pursue every day! 

If your sport is shopping, you’ll find the best shopping worldwide at the upscale shops of Westwood, Malibu Country Mart, Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade and Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, where you just might rub elbows with Hollywood celebs. From Prada to Polo, Valentino to Versace, it’s truly a street of dreams!

The Finest Fitness Facilities

The SoCal program offers outstanding athletic facilities that meet the needs of any exercise enthusiast. You’ll have access to plenty of athletic and recreational options during your stay. You can lace up your running shoes for a jog on campus, or hit the gym to pump some iron or get moving on an elliptical trainer. Outdoor tennis courts, basketball courts and plenty of other options are sure to keep you busy. Of course, a game of touch football or a little Frisbee is always a campus classic. One of the most exciting things about SoCal is you never know who you may run into whether it’s Kobe Bryant shooting hoops or Real Madrid practicing out on the soccer fields. Just make sure to pack your workout gear — it’s going to be a very active summer!


Complete your ACA Southern California experience with exciting weekend adventures.

San Diego (4 week program)

Overnight stay at University of California, San Diego

San Diego Zoo– This animal sanctuary is actually the world’s leading zoo. Admire more than 800 species and 4,000 animals, including the mighty giant panda.

La Jolla– Surrounded by the sea and the steep slopes of Mt. Soledad, La Jolla has a real Mediterranean feel set amongst West Coast splendor. The bustling business district offers chic boutiques, art galleries and restaurants, with a mix of turn-of-the-century Spanish architecture and eccentric modern designs.

Mission and Pacific Beaches– Miles of coastline offer the best sand and surf on the Pacific. Take a break from the waves and sip a smoothie while checking out the surf shops. Looking for a thrill? See if you can handle the Giant Dipper roller-coaster!

Seaport Village– This huge outdoor waterfront property has over 70 trendy stores. Right on the coast and overflowing with summertime excitement, Seaport Village makes the perfect shopping destination.

Balboa Park– The largest urban cultural park in America, home to major museums, renowned performing arts venues, beautiful gardens and the world famous San Diego Zoo.

Santa Barbara (3 & 4 Week Programs)

Serious Shopping in Santa Barbara– Get a Mediterranean experience on the fabled “American Riviera.” This is one of Cali’s favorite shopping areas. Wander the cobblestone walkways of State Street and sunny expanses of open-air plazas and promenades in search of “must-have” fashions. Take a break for a gourmet treat, then get right back in the hunt!

University of California, Santa Barbara– Tour the breathtaking campus located on cliffs directly above the Pacific Ocean (optional).

Venice (3 & 4 Week Programs)

Venice Beach– LA’s most iconic beach known for its bohemian spirit, Venice is a buzzing beach town. Free-spirited Venice Boardwalk is the site of funky shops, street performers and colorful murals. There’s also a skate park and Muscle Beach outdoor gym. Abbot Kinney Boulevard features foodie hot spots, stylish boutiques and coffee bars.

Universal Studios (2, 3, & 4 Week Programs)

One of LA’s favorite tourist attractions and a must for film fans, you’ll tour famous sets and check out incredible special effects and movie-themed rides. Exciting attractions include:

  • Ride the Movie– Don’t just see the movie, ride it! Experience the thrill of the 84-foot plunge of Jurassic Park, the terror of Revenge of the Mummy and the virtual reality experience of The Simpsons.
  • King Kong 360 3-D– The monstrous classic comes alive in the world’s largest 3-D experience.
  • Special Effects Stage– An eye-popping new feature that reveals the secrets behind the making of your favorite movies. 

SOCAL Seaside weekend (2, 3, & 4 Week Programs)

Santa Monica Pier– A favorite for Hollywood movie scenes, this California icon comes alive at night. Take a ride on the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel or stop by the famed aquarium to get nose-to-nose with the ocean’s most fearsome predators!

Third Street Promenade– The world-famous strip features designer boutiques and award-winning restaurants, all in the heart of Santa Monica. The outdoor mall is full of colorful street entertainers and dancers enjoying perfect California weather.

Palisades Park– Stunning ocean views makes this the perfect place to savor nature. If the fast pace of LA living and Hollywood glamour get to be a bit much, this is an ideal spot to chill out.

The Grove– For shopping, dining and simply living life, you can’t do better than the Grove. Make sure to sample some of the freshest fruits and veggies next door at the original Farmers’ Market, an LA landmark.

Hollywood Walk of Fame– This entertainment icon immortalizes more than 2,400 stars along a two-mile stretch of Hollywood Boulevard. Take a stroll and spot your favorite TV and movie stars.

Mann Chinese Theater– The most sought-after theater for Hollywood premieres, this famed theater has witnessed the debut of silver screen favorites like Avatar, Titanic and Due Date.

Zuma Beach– Stunning views along the Pacific Coast Highway lead to three miles of pristine beach that has been a favorite for movie producers. Feeling active? Grab a volleyball and try your skill on the same beach the pros have competed on for decades.

Universal City Walk– LA comes to life at the City Walk. Grab a bite at one of the famous restaurants and then hit the trendy shops before bracing yourself for thrilling activities, all set under the beautiful California stars.

Sunset Over Santa Monica Bay
Sunset at California beach, Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, USA.

San Francisco Extension

Add 5 days to your Californian Adventure

Add to your SoCal experience and explore the wonders of San Francisco and the Bay area! (supplemental tuition required)

You’ll remain in the secure company of trusted ACA staff members, as well as many of the friends you’ve made on your ACA program. Of course, you’ll also enjoy the comfortable accommodations and superior guidance you’ve come to expect from ACA. 

From the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge to the natural beauty of Muir Woods, the City by the Bay is no doubt one of the prettiest on the Pacific, if not all of America! And for things to do, San Francisco is second to none. 

  • Fisherman's WharfSet overlooking beautiful San Francisco Bay, Fisherman’s Wharf features great shopping, some of the freshest seafood in the country, and amazing street performers of incredible variety. Fisherman’s Wharf has been THE place to be in San Francisco since 1946!
  • Pier 39 Located on Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 packs a serious punch! You can see the sea lions, take a whale-watching tour, find your way through the incredible Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze, thrill to the ride of your life on RocketBoat, or ride the movies (you heard us!) at the Turbo Ride 4-D Experience. This place is FUN!
  • Alcatraz Formerly the home of America’s most notorious prison, Alcatraz Island also has astonishing marine life, rare flowers and plants, and buildings dating back to the Civil War. There’s no end to what you can learn and see.
  • Japanese Tea Garden Take a trip that feels like you’ve gone across the ocean and back in time. The five-acre Japanese Tea Garden is an enchanting and fascinating experience – not to be missed!
  • Golden Gate Bridge Completed way back in 1937, this fantastic bridge remains a technical marvel and the most recognizable symbol of San Francisco. Put on some comfortable shoes and walk the 1.7 miles across for a view you won’t believe!
  • Union Square San Francisco’s shopping paradise! Be it in fashion, food or anything else, you’ll find all the very best names. A great place for serious shoppers or to just walk around and take in the sights.
  • Chinatown Breathtaking in its scope of history, beauty, art, architecture (and food!), spending part of your day in San Francisco’s Chinatown is an exotic vacation in and of itself.
  • Muir Woods to Stinson Beach Hike Take an unforgettable hike through the majestic Redwood forest to the stunning views of the California Coast. Along the way you’ll see eye-popping ravines, lush and diverse plants, and wildlife of every sort. An absolute must for the hiker or nature lover!
  • Ghirardelli Square Shops, restaurants and – of course – chocolate! One of San Fran's historic sites, it’s an ideal place for people-watching, putting a dent in your credit cards, and noshing on decadent desserts.
  • Cable Car Originally an alternative to horses on the slippery San Fran slopes, the cable car system is a must for anyone wanting a timeless tour of this beautiful city. It’s Frisco's favorite way to get around!
  • Stanford University – Set in the tech capital of the world, Palo Alto, Stanford is noted as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. (Optional)
  • University of California, Berkeley – The oldest campus of the University of California system, UC Berkeley is one of the nation's top public universities. Be sure to check out the cafes, shops and music stores on Telegraph Avenue. (Optional)




What Alumni are Saying

"My summer at ACA was one of the greatest experiences of my life! I have amazing memories and made the best friends on this trip that I will cherish forever. ACA provided countless opportunities!"

Nicole Klein

"My son Brett had not only the greatest summer, but the greatest experience of his life. The friendships he made were so amazing! He now rooms with friends he met at ACA in college."

Lisa and Steven Barocas
New York

"ACA was by far the best summer camp I've ever had the privilege to attend. The experiences were unforgettable, and words cannot describe how many lifelong friendships I made."

Sydney Couch

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