University of Maryland

Join us for the summer-of-a-lifetime!

  • Overview
  • Electives
  • Campus Life & Activities
  • Weekend Adventures

Welcome to ACA @ the University of Maryland Middle School Program!

The Best of Summer Camp & Summer Fun!

A short distance from Baltimore and Washington, DC, the University of Maryland in College Park is a renowned college town with a classic Big 10 campus. It offers the excitement of a city vibe while maintaining an intimate atmosphere. Surrounded by great hiking trails and bike paths and filled with quaint shops and restaurants, College park is the perfect place for anyone looking for an exciting summer – electives, activities, athletics, and new friends!  All while enjoying Maryland’s idyllic summer weather! 

College Park offers close access to the National Mall, White House, Embassy Row and all the other attractions that define D.C. University of Mayland’s vibrant campus is perfectly situated to take advantage of all D.C. has to offer in the summertime.

The University of Maryland represents the very best the Big 10 has to offer, excelling in academics, research, recreational facilities and athletic achievement. It is an ideal environment for students who want a real look at top-caliber college life.

Washington DC National Mall

Weekday Schedule

Classes run Monday through Friday.


 At ACA, we know safety comes first. Our ten-to-one student-to-staff ratio – one of the lowest in the industry – lets us provide each student with unmatched attention and supervision. 

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. Parents will be reassured to know that College Park is a friendly college town.

ACA 2021 COVID Policies

  • Rest assured that ACA will adhere to all state, local, university, CDC, WHO, and American Camp Association COVID guidelines to protect the safety of all ACA students and Staff.
  • All students and staff will be required to self quarantine at home for 7 days prior to the program. During this time, we will assist families in making arrangements to receive an at home saliva based COVID test. We will ask that all families share their student’s results with us prior to the program. This will allow peace of mind knowing that all students and staff arrive at the program COVID-free. 
  • Upon arrival to the program, ACA medical personnel will screen all students and staff for symptoms. 
  • ACA personnel will regularly monitor students and staffs temperatures throughout the each day of the program. 
  • Students or staff with signs of a fever or symptoms relating to COVID will be temporarily removed from the program’s general population and placed into alternate sleeping rooms monitored by ACA staff and local medical professionals. Parents will be kept in the loop at all times.
  • Masks will be required in public spaces and based on all guidelines. Masks will also be required in ACA vehicles. Activities, electives, classes, and meals will take place outside as much as possible throughout your ACA program.
  • The above procedures worked perfectly during ACA programs for Summer 2020. All students and staff had an incredible, safe, and engaging (in-person) experience with outstanding feedback regarding the program, the social interactions, and the safety protocols that kept everyone safe without interfering with the new friendships, activities, enrichment classes, weekend adventures, residential stay, or meals making ACA even during COVID a great success.

Travel to Maryland*

We recommend that students travel with ACA, via deluxe motorcoach, fully chaperoned for the beautiful drive from the Tri-State NY area. Our program will offer various pickup points making it convenient and easy for families. 

For students outside of the Tri-State area, we recommend that students fly nonstop to Baltimore Airport (BWI). There they will be met by ACA staff members, who will escort them to comfortable, air-conditioned shuttles for the short drive to the University of Maryland.

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

*Transportation is not included in tuition.

ACA Electives

ACA’s signature Maryland 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 of Maryland faculty, graduate students, secondary school instructors or College Park/DC-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 choose two of the following options for your stay:

Group of excited students in summer

Elective 1 Selection (1:00pm - 2:30pm):

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.

From sports stars selling SUVs to pop singers selling soda, advertising and marketing is a huge part of our culture. Sure, it is essential to business, but it also reflects our society. How do advertisers and marketers determine the best way to influence consumers? What campaigns are the most effective? What new trends is technology creating? If you’re planning on influencing others through advertising, public relations or marketing, understanding these concepts will be essential. Get a head start!

Everyday we ponder life, the universe, the global world, and the future. This deep and engaging class will focus on life, your future, and how to live every day to its fullest. Have you ever discussed your own philosophy of life with friends or family? Are you curious about techniques and critical ways of thinking that may win more arguments against your friends? Do you ponder what it means to be truly at peace and happy? Be prepared to open thoughts and begin to look at the world with a different lens as we discuss both complex and simple everyday ideas. Throughout existence people like Aristotle and Plato used philosophy to find a greater appreciation for life.

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.

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!

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!

Learn the basic foundations of playing the guitar, including chords and proper hand technique. Before you know it, you’ll have the skills to play your favorite songs on your own!

Please Note: Students must bring their own guitar.

Elective 2 Selection (2:45pm - 4:15pm):

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, 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?

Successful CSI requires hands-on training and a step-by-step process in the discovery, preservation, and collection of physical evidence. In this course, you will examine the techniques CSI’s collect and preserve evidence from delicate crime scenes. Learn about crime scene management; diagramming and sketching; photography; fingerprint, bloodstain pattern analysis.  The instructor will create a mock crime scene and you will collect and interpret the evidence.  Prepare to experience what you see on CSI!

Ready to showcase your entrepreneurial skills on Shark Tank? 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.

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. 

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.

Elective 1 & 2 Selection (1:00pm - 4:15pm):

Take to the waves or head over the wall! Whether you’re up for some biking, hiking,  and kayaking or you want to try your rock climbing skills on the UMD climbing wall or Challenge Course this elective is the perfect fit for any outdoor sports enthusiast.

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!

“Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.” ACA’s Service Learning course embodies this Albert Einstein quote providing, rewarding opportunities to spend time helping to make Maryland an even better place for its citizens and visitors. Our goal is to encourage our students to realize the power they have to grow as individuals while contributing to an environment of cultural understanding and mutual respect.

Earn up to 45 hours of community service! Upon completion, every participant receives a certificate highlighting the total number of hours volunteered and projects completed.

Past ACA Service Partners & Projects Include:

  • Food Pantry
  • River Clean Up
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation 
  • Support Our Troops
  • Visit Elderly

* A supplemental supply or lab fee will apply.

Campus Life

College Park combines the energy of a proud Big 10 school, the sophistication of a college town and the friendliness of a loyal local community. It’s also a perfect place for anyone looking for an active summer! It’s surrounded by great hiking trails and bike paths, and on-campus recreational facilities. Professional instruction and equipment rental are always available. Be sure to pack your sense of adventure!

You can count on outstanding accommodations – this is ACA!

Unlike ordinary pre-college programs, ACA’s experience in Maryland is not a basic residence hall! Your ACA home, an upscale 4-star hotel, is adjacent to campus located in the heart of College Park’s quintessential town center overlooking the University of Maryland’s picturesque campus. It’s an ideal location for exploring this incredible town, and it’s also a great place to relax on the terrace after you’ve enjoyed a day in the beautiful Maryland sun. Our ACA home away from home is secure and supervised at all times, and the modern rooms have flat screen tv’s, Wifi, housekeeping service, air conditioning and private baths. Students will also enjoy the swimming pool and fitness center in the afternoons and evenings. Of course, ACA staff live on-site, ensuring a safe, comfortable stay.

Excellent Eats

Choices, choices, choices! From home-style meals served at breakfast and lunch and dinner options, ACA’s dining-on-the-town option that allows you to enjoy favorite restaurants — 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 features 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

The University of Maryland campus and the city of College Park are packed with plenty to do, and you’ll have plenty of time to check out the attractions and activities that interest you most! Participate in a ropes course, explore the shops, sights and scenes in College Park, enjoy a favorite sport, or just relax at McKeldin Mall, the University of Maryland’s quad, basking in the sun.

If your sport is shopping, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy in Old Town. This energetic area is a popular destination for students, residents and visitors alike, featuring favorite stores, restaurants, bookstores, coffee shops and more!

You will have plenty of time to get to know College Park and Washington, DC throughout your stay with ACA! Some exciting activities include hike a scenic trail, take a bike ride or go on a jog on the Waterfront Bike Path, feel the heat at ACA’s bonfire, enjoy a game of pool or ping pong at the Stamp Student Union, putt around at mini-golf, catch a movie, and enjoy the sun at Lake Artemesia.

Tour the University of Maryland: Come try on our campus for size! Stop by one of our top-notch athletic facilities. Have a scoop of homemade ice cream at the Dairy. Rub the nose of one of our beloved Testudo statues for good luck. 

Morning & Evening Activities

  • Catch a cool outdoor cinematic experience 
  • Room Escape Adventures
  • Indulge your sweet tooth with a few scoops of Fear The Turtle from the famous Maryland Dairy Ice Cream Parlour.
  • Stroll through Tawes Plaza and pick up some artisan treats at The Farmer’s Market
  • You can’t beat the trendy upscale shopping in Friendship Heights 
  • Grab a coffee, play a game, check out some art at The Board and Brew which boasts a café, game center and art gallery all in one!
  • Grab a vintage UMD sweatshirt at Uptown Cheapskate’s huge store
  • End the night with warm, delicious cookies from Insomnia Cookies
  • Play a game of Ultimate Frisbee or relax in the sun on McKeldin Mall, the University of Maryland’s quad
  • Bring your sense of adventure for the University of Maryland’s Ropes Course 
  • The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is the perfect activity for science-lovers
  • Take a commanding view of our national monuments from the feet of Abe Lincoln
  • Try your hand at espionage as you investigate the high-tech surveillance gadgets at the Spy Museum
  • Savor your sense of independence at the Liberty Bell Center
  • Trendy stores, cupcake bakeries and everything in between is at your fingertips in Georgetown’s shopping district
  • Dive for the goal line in a game of touch football on the National Mall
  • Sunset hikes, karaoke nights, bowling, laser tag, mini golf, ultimate Frisbee, bonfires and more exciting activities and events are all part of your summer with ACA!

Staying in Shape

You’ll have access to the University of Maryland’s state-of-the-art athletic facilities including the fitness center, weight rooms, running tracks, basketball courts, outdoor playing fields, and more.

If you’d prefer some fresh air, the campus is surrounded by scenic running and cycling paths. Outdoor tennis courts, indoor squash 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. Just make sure to pack your workout gear! 


Complete your ACA Maryland experience with exciting weekend adventures.

ACA provides you with unbeatable adventures all summer long, transporting you in comfort and style to a host of vibrant destinations. This distinctive part of ACA provides uniquely enriching, exciting opportunities for growth, learning and entertainment. ACA weekend adventures create a truly rewarding summer experience.

Explore the superstar cities of Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philly and the Ocean City beaches at the peak of their summertime excitement and visit some of the world’s most distinguished universities. You’ll visit the renowned monuments and sights of our nation’s capital and feel history come alive at Independence Hall in Philly. And remember, the cost for these adventures is already included in your tuition — that’s the ACA way!

Capital City and Baltimore Weekend
(2 & 3 Week Program)

Old Town Alexandria– Founded in 1749 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Alexandria still preserves plenty of colonial spirit, thanks to its 18th- and 19th-century architecture. King Street is famous for great restaurants and plenty of shopping.

Georgetown–Trendy stores, cupcake bakeries and everything in between is at your fingertips in Georgetown’s shopping district.

National Zoo– Admire the country’s most adorable ambassadors at the National Zoo as we spend an afternoon in the fresh air making new friends.

Lincoln Memorial -Take a commanding view of our national monuments, and reflection pool from the feet of Abe Lincoln.

Baltimore Inner Harbor– A major seaport since the 1700s, the Inner Harbor is also where Baltimore goes to have a great time. There are plenty of shopping and dining opportunities, cultural attractions, museums – and the famous Water Taxis ready to show you around.

*Washington Nationals or Baltimore Orioles Baseball Game– Nothing says summer like baseball, and during your stay in D.C., we’re close to two of the best major league parks in the nation! If we catch the Orioles up in Baltimore, you’ll cheer from the picturesque seats of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, or catch a Nationals game at National’s Park, which sits just south of the Capitol building on D.C.’s fast-growing Capitol Riverfront. Enjoy the game!

*Spy Museum– One of D.C.’s favorite new museums, you’ll be amazed at the history behind our earliest forms of espionage as well as today’s high-tech surveillance gadgets.

*National Air and Space Museum– The world’s most visited museum, it features amazing historic airplanes and spacecraft. Those aren’t models hanging from the ceiling!

*U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum– One of the world’s most powerful museums, it provides a vivid, often disturbing memorial to history’s most unforgettable tragedy.

Philly and Ocean City Beach Weekend
(3 Week Program)

Philadelphia – Explore the history, arts and culture in Philadelphia’s “Historic” Old City District as we take in the sights and sounds of this historic locale and prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your “Whiz Wit” at Pat’s or Geno’s famous cheesesteaks or Sip a latté while exploring the same roads Ben Franklin walked and pondered in Philadelphia,  see the freedoms we cherish as a country comes to life at the National Constitution Center and feel empowered as you step back in history to where America literally “happened,” from the conception of freedom to the drafting of the Constitution at Independence Hall and visitors and residents, teenagers and adults, preppies and punk rockers, artists and attorneys all mix seamlessly together as you shop and stroll on Philadelphia’s famous South Street.

Ocean City, MD – With over 10 miles of sand, Ocean City Beach is a picturesque destination for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. Summer for those in Maryland is never complete without a visit to Ocean City where this gorgeous beach is known for its excellent waves making it a popular destination for surfers and boogie boarders. If the Beach isn’t your thing the sunsets from the  three-mile long boardwalk is filled with souvenir shops, beachside eateries, and thrilling arcades.

Students in Barcelona Spain Study Abroad Program
Ocean City Maryland
group of students at Montserrat Spain




What Alumni are Saying

“I just wanted to thank you again for an amazing summer. I’m so happy to have had this experience! My mom says thank you too!!”
Lee G.
New York
“Quinn had the best time on the trip. She loved the activities and the counselors. Thank you so much for everything.”
Michele C.
“Thank you for a wonderful two weeks!! Charlie is definitely a lot to handle and we appreciate you looking out for him!!”
Jamie G.
New Jersey

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