ACA North Carolina @

University of North Carolina

Home to the Tar Heels!

Welcome to ACA @ the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill!

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill is the perfect location to preview college life. UNC has a reputation for excellent academics and is also known for its sports teams and amazing school spirit. Our high school summer program combines dynamic seminars with the excitement of life on campus and the opportunity to experience life as Tar Heel.

UNC enjoys a privileged location with its stunning 700 acre campus set in the middle of the bustling town of Chapel Hill. Enjoy the best of both world’s with full access to campus facilities while being just a short stroll to America’s most energetic and historic college town and all it has to offer.

UNC at Dusk

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 Chapel Hill is a friendly college town.

ACA 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 and 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.
  • All students and counselors will be required to be fully vaccinated to participate in the program. 
*Covid policies are based on ACA’s successful experience running COVID free programs in Summer 2020 and 2021. Modifications to these policies may be updated prior to Summer 2022. 

Travel to UNC Chapel Hill**

We recommend that students fly nonstop to Raleigh Durham International Airport (RDU). 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 North Carolina.

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

**Transportation is not included in tuition.

ACA Electives

ACA’s signature UNC program offers the kind of personal enrichment electives that build confidence for college while also giving you the chance to grow academically and intellectually.  The ACA experience gives you a welcome preview of college life, and still delivers plenty of opportunities to enhance your knowledge and pursue your interests. 

The academic portion of ACA’s UNC program consists of college-style courses.

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

Elective Descriptions

Students will learn about starting and managing a small business, from an independent bookstore to a financial consulting firm. They will study the basics of business management, but will also consider how 21st century tools like Facebook, Twitter and Crowd Funding can help a start-up achieve enduring success. There will be a special glimpse into the field of sport management and career opportunities in the sport industry. Explore business principles and how they apply to administration, communication, motivation, and leadership style. By the end of the program, students will have developed plans to start their own small business using 21st century resources.
This interactive seminar is designed to spark debate and understanding about the law and society and role and importance of international law. How does the law shape relationships between nations and effect foreign policy? And how does it govern relations between non-state actors? Students address Public and Private International Law, and consider how International Law affects business, Human Rights, the prosecution of international crimes, sovereignty, trade, and war. The course culminates in a moot war crimes trial where debate and critical thinking skills are put to the test.
This elective provides students with knowledge of various body systems including the endocrine system, the biology of mind, the microbial system and immune responses. We cover topics in biotechnology to provide an overview of current and future technologies that make up the medical sciences and research field. Students will meet with industry scientists to learn how basic research can generate biomedical tools and discover the latest research coming out of UNC Chapel Hill. Through guest lectures, lab tours and field trips, students will be exposed to research in a variety of topics including, Neuroscience, Engineering, Biotechnology, Integrated Physiology and Biomaterials. Students learn to think critically about current research, identify sources, analyze data and design their own experiments. Innovations and current issues in medical science will be incorporated in discussions.
This hands-on elective examines behavior through the psychological theories of Freud, Skinner, Maslow, Erikson and Piaget. Critically consider the validity of these theories in light of your own experiences of intellectual and moral development, sensuality, family and peer relationships, and coping with stress and problems in daily life. View films and read relevant articles that provide an applied understanding of developmental psychology. Students investigate a wide range of psychological topics, including dreams, memory, consciousness, anxiety, body language, gender, and sexuality. Students delve deeper to uncover the history of the subject, study case histories, learn about various mental disorders, and different research methodologies. Students complete the course by designing their own experiments under the guidance of research specialists and their psychology instructor.
This elective challenges you to get creative and use tech to build and explore. Combine technology, engineering and design, for a truly hands on seminar. Work in teams in our very own Maker Space and learn the fundamentals of programming, circuitry, 3D design and 3D printing in a lively, project-driven environment. Team up and create something completely new: a robot, a kinetic art installation, a piece of interactive clothing, or a computerized vehicle. Use TinkerCad to create masterpieces of 3D printing as you are lead through a series of design challenges testing the limits of 3D technologies as you create your own design. Use your imagination to design, build, test, and interact with your latest creations. Get ready to create this summer.

“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 North Carolina 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
  • Gardening
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation 
  • Support Our Troops

Elective Options: 

You will be able to choose one of the following options for your stay:

Campus Life

Chapel Hill combines the energy of top tier athletics, 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. Your stay with ACA puts you at just a short walk to downtown and Franklin Street, the historic center of Carolina social life in this ultimate college town. Be sure to pack your sense of adventure!

You can count on outstanding accommodations – this is ACA!

With ACA, you stay in style, enjoying the finest residence accommodations of any pre-college summer program. ACA’s residence hall at the University of North Carolina features deluxe rooms complete with wifi, linen service and, of course, air conditioning! You’ll also like the state-of-the- art workout facility. Plus, their lounge areas and study rooms make it easy and fun to hang out with friends.  And rest easy, because the front-desk staff and ACA office is on-site to ensure your safety 24 hours a day.

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 North Carolina campus and the city of Chapel Hill are packed with plenty to do, and you’ll have plenty of time to check out the attractions and activities that interest you most! The campus of UNC and the city of Chapel Hill are at your doorstep with plenty of eating, shopping, arts and entertainment options.

Some exciting activities include exploring the Historic Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill, take a bike ride or go on a jog on campus, feel the heat at ACA’s bonfire, hike at Rock State Park, enjoy a game of pool or ping pong at the UNC Student Union, putt around at mini-golf, and catch a movie.

Tour the University of North Carolina: a university that will open doors to the future you’ve always imagined. UNC is the nation’s first public university and a public research university considered as a Public Ivy.

Afternoon & Evening Activities

  • Catch a cool outdoor cinematic experience 
  • Room Escape Adventures
  • Check out the live music at the Station, Chapel Hill’s Local 506, The Cave and Nightlight and Hillsborough’s Hot Tin Roof
  • Enjoy festivals, special events, nightlife and cultural destinations at the Historic Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill, home to more than 200 restaurants, shops, and businesses
  • Explore the over 60 year old Ackland Museum showcasing a permanent collection consisting of more than 18,000 works of art, a premier collection of Asian art and works of art on paper, plus significant collections of European masterworks, twentieth-century and contemporary art.
  • Visit five county farmer’s markets to see where many local chefs shop.
  • Look for the new Blue Dogwood Public Market on West Franklin Street – a food hall with with vegetarian, craft beer & ciders, gluten-free bakery, Persian, Latin American, and BBQ
  • Find specialty, outdoor and home décor shops, a Coffee/Tea bar, and local favorite Elmo’s Diner at Car Mill Mall 
  • End the night with warm, delicious cookies from Insomnia Cookies
  • Play a game of Ultimate Frisbee or relax in the sun on UNC’s quad
  • 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

As you would expect from an athletics powerhouse, university athletics facilities at UNC are second to none. Student can choose multiple gyms, swimming pools, racquet ball and squash courts as well as the Rams Head Recreation Center, featuring 3 basketball courts, and indoor track, climbing wall, group exercise classes and state-of-the-art cardio and weigh training equipment. Additional basketball and tennis courts are available.

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.


Complete your ACA UNC 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. And remember, the cost for these adventures is already included in your tuition — that’s the ACA way! 

Durham and Hanging Rock State Park
(3 Week Program)

Durham– Discover Durham’s Ninth Street, where you’ll find a little bit of everything! Eats, errands, and eclectic gifts – everything you need in a unique, walkable district with a rich history and a friendly neighborhood feel. In the evening, we will go to a Durham Bulls baseball game.

Hanging Rock State Park– Hanging Rock State Park has offered the best of a traditional outdoor experience with 73-site campground, stocked lake for swimming and canoe rentals and more than 20 miles of hiking trails that climb onto spectacular views and weave alongside clear streams and waterfalls.

(2 & 3 Week Program)

Uptown’s Charlotte Liberty Walk– Follow Uptown’s Charlotte Liberty Walk, a series of bronze plaques and monuments that detail the city’s vital importance during the American Revolution, or the Trail of History on Little Sugar Creek Greenway, which highlights the key people who’ve contributed to the area’s growth. Don’t miss the Captain James Jack statue. Legend has it, he carried the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence to the 1775 Continental Congress.

U.S. National Whitewater Center– Take on the class II-IV rapids by raft or kayak at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, home of the largest man-made whitewater river in the world.

Carowinds Amusement Park– Ride the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster, the 325-foot-tall Fury 325, at Carowinds amusement park

East Boulevard Shopping -Explore the local shops and designer boutiques sprinkled along vibrant East Boulevard in Dilworth. Offerings include Revolution Clothiers & Co., Vestique, One Twenty Two Boutique, Abode, Paper Skyscraper and more.


Hilton Head & Savannah Extension

Add 4 days to your UNC Adventure

Add to your ACA UNC experience and explore the wonders of Hilton Head and Savannah! (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. 




What Alumni are Saying

"I had an awesome time on the program. The counselors were unbelievable, and the activities were amazing. The dorms were like hotel rooms. I met so many new people and had an excellent time. I couldn't have asked for a better summer!"
Ethan U.
New York
"The program far exceeded our son's expectations. He made wonderful friends, experienced living on a college campus, and had the time of his life. He can't wait to join ACA again next summer! Thank you!”
Beth and Richard S.
New York
"The best summer of my life was hands down ACA! I made friends of a lifetime and learned more than I could of imagined. I am not worried about my transition to college one bit, and I have ACA to thank for that.”
Alex G.

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