ACA Maryland @

University of Maryland

Home to the Big 10 Terps!

Welcome to ACA @ the University of Maryland!

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.

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 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 Maryland 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 Maryland 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.

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:

University of Maryland Campus

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.

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?

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!

Do you have an eye for the work of Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and other top designers? This intensive program will help you hone your fashion sense and express yourself at the same time! You’ll learn how to combine colors, shapes, fabrics and textures to create a look that’s all your own. You might start the next fashion craze! You’ll learn essential fashion design concepts, and study the skills needed to bring fashion vision to the runway. You’ll experiment with fashion sketching, pattern-making, sewing, and construction. You’ll have access to a variety of materials and styles, both classic and contemporary.
The mind is a limitless frontier. What do we know about its inner workings? You will get insight into what makes people tick in this popular introductory course. You’ll study personality and psychological development, attitudes, cognition and intelligence. And you will learn a bit about how you think and feel yourself.

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!

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.

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!

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.

Looking to be accepted at your dream school and then survive there? This class gives you intensive work on the college entrance application and tips to survive freshman year while keeping your sanity. This course focuses on writing effective admissions essays, getting noticed during interviews, mastering study success in a college environment, library research and winning test strategies. Teachers will keep you on your toes as you navigate this comprehensive course.

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 web site. When it comes to social media, learn about the international ramifications, risks to your privacy, and how to best navigate the newest communication technologies. For Web design, gain knowledge of HTML, JavaScript, WordPress and the latest software-development technologies essential to smart web work. So whether you’re the next social media savant or Web-design darling, this course is sure to get you there!

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 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.

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.

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

* 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!

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 Maryland 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. Catch your favorite program on cable TV, play some Xbox, or watch a DVD. 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 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. Get all your questions answered. It won’t be hard to picture yourself at home here for the next four years. 

Afternoon & 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,. and Baltimore, and the Ocean City beaches and Six Flags American at the peak of their summertime excitement. And remember, the cost for these adventures is already included in your tuition — that’s the ACA way! 

Baltimore and six flags america Weekend
(3 Week Program)

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!

Six Flags America– Featuring thrilling rollercoasters, shows, and attractions. Brave Firebird, get a speed rush on Superman: Ride of Steel, and so much more! Six Flags has dozens of thrills to test your limit.


DC and Ocean City Beach 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.

*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.

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.

Boston Extension

Add 5 days to your Maryland Adventure

Add to your Maryland experience and visit and tour the top of colleges and universities in the Boston 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. 

Sometimes you just have to see a place to know what it’s like. Nothing could be truer for your future college location. Visiting and touring potential schools is so important to the decision-making process. That’s why ACA shows you the most pristine campuses. 

Along with college tours, you will explore the sights of Boston and see what makes it the nation’s ultimate college town. From American history to pro sports loyalty, Boston is one of America’s most exciting cities. From Newbury Street to Davis Square, the combination of big-city excitement and unbeatable college-town charm has something for everyone.

During your stay in Boston, you will get to visit up to 9 of the following schools:

Residential stay at one of the listed universities with accommodations including suite style, air conditioned residence halls.




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.

The most Personalized program

LEt's start
your Summer!