Burlington, Vermont

Home of The University of Vermont & set on the stunning shores of Lake Champlain!

  • Overview
  • Electives
  • Campus Life & Activities
  • Weekend Adventures
  • 2020 Safety

Welcome to Burlington, Vermont!

On the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington is a vibrant and cosmopolitan center and a renowned college town. It has the excitement of a large city while maintaining an intimate atmosphere. Surrounded by great hiking trails and bike paths and filled with quaint shops and restaurants, Burlington is the perfect place for anyone looking for an exciting summer. You can even go sailing, swimming or kayaking on Lake Champlain!  All while enjoying Burlington’s idyllic summer weather!

  • America’s #1 college town
    (Travel + Leisure magazine)
  • Stunning Lakeside Destination
  • Enrichment Electives & Activities
  • Athletic Advantage​
  • Weekday & Weekend Adventures
  • Upscale Hotel Adjacent to Campus
  • 10:1 Student-to-Staff Ratio

For more detailed information, please click the button below to watch a pre-recorded webinar discussing the program and safety guidelines.

campus building

Weekday Schedule

  • 8:30 am - 9:15 am
  • 9:30 am - 11:00 am
    Elective 1
  • 11:15 am - 12:45 pm
    Elective 2
  • 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
  • 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
    Afternoon Activities
    (Choice of Several Options)
  • 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
    Shower, Change, Relax
  • 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  • 8:30 pm - 11:00 pm
    Evening Activities
    (Choice of Several Options)
  • 11:00 pm - 12:00 am
    Hotel (Social Time)
  • 12:00 am
    Goodnight (Individual Suites)

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. The DoubleTree by Hilton adjacent to the University of Vermont, our luxury residence located in a prime area of campus, features a beautiful atrium style lobby, a swimming pool, and front desk staffed 24 hours a day with trained personnel for your comfort and convenience. Students will be staying in beautifully appointed and renovated rooms complete with A/C, private bathrooms, cable TV, cleaning service and change of linens, high speed internet and much more. ACA staff members also live on every student-occupied floor and accompany students on all activities and excursions. 

ACA takes extra care to use private transportation for our weekday activities and weekend adventure trips – never public transportation. ACA staff members also carry cell phones for emergency contact. The UVM Medical Center is located a few blocks from our residence and is the largest medical center in Vermont.

Parents will also be reassured to know that Burlington not only ranked as America’s top college town  (Travel + Leisure magazine), but it is also incredibly friendly, inviting and one of the most down-to-earth college towns.

Travel to Burlington*

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. 

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 Vermont 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. 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!

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

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.

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

Summer 2020 courses will mostly be taught using the ACA outdoor classroom concept utilizing green space for options such as Drawing and Painting and Photography, beautiful Lake Champlain for water activities and water sports, athletic facilities for golf, soccer, and tennis and classroom style options for ACT Prep.

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:

Elective 1 Selection (9:30am - 11:00am):

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!

An introduction to the fields of mass communication and group and interpersonal communication. Everyone knows that we live in a fast-paced, information-dependent culture – and we need skilled, entertaining personalities to provide us with what we need to know. Whether it’s serious news served up CNN style or a lighthearted late-night talk show, anchors, hosts and reporters have worked hard to ask compelling questions and create engaging interview styles and stories. You’ll study classic ways to cover a story, interview a celebrity and interact with an audience. In addition we will focus on media including newspapers, magazines, books, radio, television, film and advertising. Stick with it and you could become one of the trusted faces we see on TV every night or the one who goes behind the scenes to get the next big scoop!

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.

Learn Spanish at your own pace. Whether you’re fluent or just getting started, these semi-private classes will enable your instructor to gear assignments to your level of proficiency. Other languages are also available for study. Contact ACA directly for more info!

It’s time to throw around a little iron! You might be a varsity athlete looking to gain muscle and build power. Perhaps you want to balance your aerobic activity with some strength training. And maybe you’re just sick of being out of shape! 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!

Elective 2 Selection (11:15am - 12:45pm):

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, Facebook, Twitter, 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!

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.

Calling all Harry Potter fanatics! Explore the genius mind of J. K. Rowling. Get sorted into your Hogwart’s House, choose your pet, discover your wand, and create a Wizarding Passport. You’ll discuss the chronicles and adventures of Harry Potter, and his friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. 

Elective 1 & 2 Selection (9:30am - 12:45pm):

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!

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

Burlington is set on the beautiful shores of Lake Champlain. Sailors of all levels will have a blast exploring your new sailboat with a certified instructor. Enjoy this age-old sport, improve your sailing skills, and become a sailor for life! This hands-on course will feature safety, boating rules, sailing terminology, parts of the vessel, proper boat rigging, rope work, knots, boat handling under Sail and powerwind and points of sail tacking, jibing, reefing  and docking. This course will allow you to enjoy the scenery, fresh air, and natural beauty of Burlington.

These intensive course builds the skills you need to improve your college admissions test scores. Offering complete diagnostic evaluations each week, students will get the practice they need to prepare for either of these challenging exams. Intensive classroom instruction will help students prepare for all test sections, which can be the key to decreasing test anxiety, increasing test preparedness and maximizing test performance. The full ACT review includes all books, diagnostic exams and classroom materials.

* A supplemental supply or lab fee will apply.

Burlington Life

Burlington combines the energy of a classic college town, the sophistication of a Public Ivy 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 filled with quaint shops and restaurants. You can even go sailing, swimming, paddle boarding, or kayaking, on Lake Champlain! 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!

With ACA, you stay in style, enjoying the finest residence accommodations of any pre-college summer program. ACA’s newly renovated hotel, DoubleTree by Hilton adjacent to the  University of Vermont, features deluxe rooms complete with refrigerators, TVs, wifi, housekeeping and linen service, of course, air conditioning! You’ll also like the fitness center and swimming pool to enjoy in the afternoons and evenings. Plus, atrium style lobby and lounge areas 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 enjoy favorite restaurants — no pre-college summer program gives you as many dining options as ACA!

Our hotel breakfast features made-to-order morning specials like omelets, breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal and there is plenty of fresh fruit, cereal, bagels and yogurt, too. 

Lunch and dinners, served up Monday through Thursday will allow ACA students our very special dining-on-the-town feature allowing students to dine outdoors at the mant local eateries in a safe manner or to dine at our residence, meals will feature a variety of kitchen-fresh entrees. Fridays, you enjoy a fun dinner with friends. 

And don’t worry, we make sure everyone eats just as well during our exciting weekend adventures!

Around Town & Beyond

The breathtaking city of Burlington is 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 Burlington, enjoy a favorite sport, or just relax lakeside on the beautiful beaches of Lake Champlain.

If your sport is shopping, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy at the Church Street outdoor mall. This energetic square is a popular destination for students, residents and visitors alike, featuring favorite stores like Free People and The Gap, along with plenty of great local boutiques, restaurants, bookstores, coffee shops and more!

 You will have plenty of time to get to know Burlington throughout your stay with ACA! Some exciting activities include kayak, paddle board or sail Lake Champlain, 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, putt around at mini-golf, catch a movie, and enjoy the sun and sand at North Beach.

Tour the University of Vermont, home to America’s #1 college town (Travel + Leisure magazine), and this 460 acre campus located in the heart of Burlington was founded in 1791. The mascot for UVM is the Catamount (a panther) and the university is called UVM for Universitas Viridis Montis, Latin for “University of the Green Mountains”.

Burlington and The University of Vermont Segway Style – Enjoy an afternoon on this 2 hour tour of beautiful Burlington that includes stops at the waterfront area continuing uptown to the energetic Church Street Marketplace and conclude with a very special tour of  the UVM campus.

Vermont Teddy Bear Factory tour (if available) – On this entertaining, exciting, clever, and educational tour, we will learn how our beloved Bears are brought to life from start to finish as we see the creative process in action. The tour concludes with a stop at Bear hospital where we will meet Dr. Nancy as she provides progress reports and visits with the many patients that have been sent in for care. 

Burlington Nightlife

  • Catch a cool outdoor cinematic experience at the Sunset Drive-In
  • Visit to Nectar’s, famous for the birthplace of the band PHISH
  • Movie night at The Roxy (private to ACA)
  • A nighttime cruise aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III
  • Open Mic nights at Higher Ground Comedy Club
  • Sunset hikes, karaoke nights, bowling, laser tag, mini golf, ultimate Frisbee, bonfires and more exciting nighttime events are all part of your summer with ACA!

*Activities will be based on conditions during the 2020 program.

Staying in Shape

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

If you’d prefer some fresh air, the campus is surrounded by scenic running and cycling paths, and Lake Champlain beckons for a kayak trip or leisurely swim.


  • Beautiful Beaches: You’ll enjoy the beauty of this gorgeous coastal town. Explore three sandy beaches while sunbathing, playing sand volleyball, viewing stunning sunsets, hiking, water activities and more. You’ll get the refreshing feeling of this fabulous coastal community.  Life’s a BEACH in Burlington! 
  • Water Activities: Kayak and paddle boat rentals are available on the picturesque setting of Lake Champlain. Enjoy the beauty of the lake while participating in many exciting water sports.
  • Petra Cliffs Rock Climbing: Look up at your conquest, and let’s conquer it together with the proper safety features and instruction! Petra Cliffs is one of the Northeast’s top climbing facilities and is an incredible indoor facility designed to appeal to climbers of all levels.
  • Adventure Ropes Course: Located in the beautiful woods adjacent to the UVM campus is an exhilarating ropes course. Gain confidence, learn more about yourself and your mental and physical skills as you embark on this exciting adventure.
  • Centennial Field: The baseball park is one of the oldest minor league baseball parks still in operation in the USA and is home to the Vermont Lake Monsters.
  • Echo Lake Champlain Science Center: This exceptional aquatic center is committed to educating all ages about the ecology of animals, plants and marine life in the basin.


Complete your ACA Vermont experience with exciting weekend adventures.


Enjoy a day soaking up the sun in beautiful Lake George. Go for a swim, work on your tan, and chill at Million Dollar Beach. Hike Prospect Mountain. Play soccer, volleyball, or ultimate frisbee at Lake George Park. Take in the views on Prospect Mountain Highway.

Jay Peak Resort

After the snow melts, the summer is alive with exciting activities at Jay Peak Ski Resort! Located in the Green Mountains, between the Village of Jay and Montgomery Center, Vermont. Its vertical drop of 2,153 feet is the eighth largest in New England and the fifth largest in Vermont.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour

Enjoy a tour of the official factory located in the heart of the Green Mountains of Vermont. Taste samples, samples and more samples at the most delicious place on the East Coast!

Mt Mansfield

A ski resort and village filled with shops, restaurants and a golf course. Take in the most spectacular views on the Gondola Skyride. Pack your sense of adventure for the alpine slides, rock climbing and hiking. Shop and relax at the many shops and cafes at the base of the mountain. 

Ben Jerrys Factory

ACA Vermont Safety Features

Leadership – ACA was founded 28 years ago and the cornerstone of its 28 years has been the safety of its students and staff. ACA has been working with various local, state and national agencies to formulate a plan to provide students a summer camp style program during a time where students have missed so much and for those who would like to get away in a safe and secure way. Our team has vetted dozens of options and the location we selected was based on SAFETY, PROXIMITY, ENVIRONMENT, NATURAL BEAUTY and SUMMER CAMP ACTIVITIES. This was also the place we felt had the least number of cases and safest locale during these unprecedented times. Our commitment remains steadfast regarding the safety of our students, staff, and families, and with that in mind, should we cancel the program for any reason the tuition is fully-refundable. Should a family wish to cancel for any reason up to 15 days prior to the 2020 program, a full refund or transfer of funds to 2021 will be offered to that family.

ACA 2020 Burlington, VT Location – Burlington was selected for its natural beauty and the exciting features of sleepaway camp activities all in one of the Northeast’s finest cities and America’s #1 college town (Travel + Leisure magazine). Burlington will offer peace-of-mind to families on the east coast as it is driving distance should a parent wish to drop-off or pick-up their son or daughter without the need for flights.

Safety and Security – We selected Burlington, Vermont based largely based on the outstanding efforts and leadership shown by Vermont in containing the spread of COVID-19 along with the beauty, idyllic summer weather, and waterfront activities. Our program will follow all of the local, state, federal and campus guidelines regarding COVID-19 policies. In addition, we are accredited by the American Camp Association and are also following the best practices, directives, and guidelines provided by American Camp Association. Throughout the program guidelines may change at which time ACA will communicate and update parents and students on any and all updates or changes during the program.

Medical Facilities – The University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMC) is widely respected throughout the Northeast, is a level 1 Trauma Center, and the largest medical center in Vermont. UVMC is just steps away from where we stay for the summer.

Student and Staff Screening – ACA medical personnel will screen all students and staff upon arrival to the program for symptoms and to review medical history. Students and staff will be asked to self-quarantine at home prior to arrival at the program (updates to follow on length of time). An RN will be living on-site at the program 24/7 with regular temperature monitoring throughout the program. Students or staff with signs of a fever will be removed temporarily from the program population and placed into alternate sleeping rooms and monitored.

Hotel vs Residence Hall – A significant upgrade offering finer accommodations and facilities along with a higher level of hygiene protocols offering routine cleaning service and exchange of linens and towels. The hotel features hot breakfast and ballroom space to be utilized as common space for ACA only complete with Big Screen TVs. The beautifully renovated Double Tree by Hilton Hotel on the campus of UVM is the perfect spot to host ACA summer 2020.

Weekend Adventures – ACA is known for its exciting weekend adventures and summer 2020, ACA will still offer exciting weekend adventures, but we will avoid large cities and theme parks. Summer 2020, ACA will focus weekend adventures on beautiful rural areas which will offer safe alternatives and showcase the majesty of the Green Mountains and the stunning Northeast. ACA students will only be utilizing private transportation throughout the program solely for ACA students and staff including weekend travel.

Enrichment Courses – Summer 2020 courses will be taught using the ACA outdoor classroom concept utilizing Burlington’s never ending green space for options such as drawing and painting and photography, beautiful lake Champlain for water activities and water sports, athletic facilities for golf, soccer and tennis and classroom style options for traditional options such as SAT or ACT Prep. Our goal for Summer 2020 is to enjoy the fresh air during these seminar style enrichment options or the incredible athletic options further offering a safer experience. 

Enrichment and Athletic Instructors – Our instructors for the program are outstanding and talented individuals with the knowledge, skills and ability to engage teens and offer engaging and  interactive programming.

Student-to-Staff Ratio – Our student-to-staff ratio is no less than 10:1 which puts ACA at the very safest ratios in the industry.

Staff Orientation and Training – ACA staff will participate in expanded staff orientation, training and procedures, as well as, advanced health and hygiene training with medical professionals. All ACA staff will be educated on best practices regarding all health and safety protocols concerning standard medical issues and regarding COVID-19. ACA staff will be required to quarantine prior to the program. Testing protocols for staff will be in place.

Coach Busses vs Flights – ACA selected Burlington as we felt that coach busses was a safe option for students and families from the East coast region. Burlington also is accessible on the East coast and allows parents the ability to drop-off or pick-up students at the program and thus offers additional  peace-of-mind for East coast families.

Transportation – ACA students will only be utilizing private transportation throughout the program solely for ACA students and staff and all guidelines regarding safety procedures (such as masks) will be followed based on the guidelines provided by local, state, university, CDC and the American Camp Association at the time you are on the program. The guidelines may be subject to change while on the program, and ACA will communicate and update parents and students on any and all guidelines prior and during the program.




What Alumni are Saying

"ACA gave me a first hand experience of living on a college campus, and I loved it. I am so grateful and happy I met such amazing people at ACA!"
Skylar Kutasi
"What an amazing summer I had with ACA. I got a real taste of what a college experience is like, and have enough memories to last a lifetime."
Jake Coleman
New Jersey
"Thanks to ACA, it will be a summer I will never forget. I made so many memories and friendships that will last a lifetime."
Emma Poulshock

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