Applied Computing Foundation


  • General

  • What is “Applied Computing?”

    Applied computing uses aspects of computer science to solve problems in various disciplines, including politics, business, education and the environment. Working in this field, you'll likely use a range of programming, software engineering, graphic applications, networking and operating systems management skills to collect, analyze, store and distribute information that will help resolve issues for individuals, groups and companies (definition from “”). ACF believes training students to enhance their problem solving skills is preparing them for life.

  • Why “Applied Computing” makes sense for students?

    We have seen many students intimidated by computer science and lost interest even before they start. Computer science is not just for students who are good at math, or who will major in engineering. Technology is the driving force of our time and transforming all the industries. The ability to understand and to use technology to leverage what they are doing will be critical for anyone in any field. We would like to empower our students via the cycle of learning, creating something they can use in a team, and contributing to their community. The confidence coming from “I did it!” is what we try to enhance through what we are doing.

  • Why is ACF the best option for my child?

    1. Equip students with key life skills and set up for lifelong success: Coding opens many doors to lucrative career opportunities. But even if students do not pursue a STEM profession, learning to code equips students with invaluable skills - such as problem-solving, and logical reasoning. Computer Science is becoming a fundamental piece of many cross-disciplinary careers, including medicine, art, engineering, business, law, and more. Many of the most innovative and interesting new companies are tackling traditional careers with new solutions using software. And ACF courses are designed to provide team work opportunities throughout, which is crucial to enhance leadership skills. Such skills empower students to navigate the world with a different perspective.

    2. Strong curriculum: ACF developed hands on, project based curriculum, carefully scaffolded to ensure progress and inspiration in games, storytelling, robotics, graphic art, augmented class series. Students have fun while being intellectually challenged.

    3. Personalized learning and collaboration experience: You can choose between our one-on-one class and small group class which is designed to ensure personalized learning and collaboration opportunity. Our personalized instruction guarantees that students get the attention they need to truly flourish at their own pace. Students work with an instructor, giving them support and space to succeed.

    4. Instructor Quality: The student/instructor dynamic is at the very heart of everything we do. Every instructor is intensely passionate about empowering the next generation. ACF coaches bring the best of themselves to the classroom and understand they are modeling and mentoring beyond tech coaching. Our coaches went through extensive onboarding training and continuous training.

  • What can my child do after joining ACF and completing the coursework?

    When our students complete our program, they are empowered to achieve their dreams in various ways:

    1. Our students build a robust technical foundation for everyday life.

    2. Our applied level courses are designed to provide opportunities for applying what they have learned to everyday life problem solving in team environments. It is a unique tech leadership opportunity.

    3. Our parents regularly report that students start achieving higher grades and that our program helps students navigate our increasingly technological world.

    4. ACF students have an advantage when entering college by starting early and having that real life problem solving experience.

  • Referral

  • How do I refer my friend or colleagues to ACF?

    ACF is always looking to bring the best Computer Science to students globally. To refer a new family, please visit to generate your unique referral link to share with your friends and colleagues. For new families that you refer who enroll a student in classes, the new family will receive a $100 credit and your family will receive a $100 credit. Referral credits are applied on a per-family basis, not a per-student basis.

  • Can my school/organization sponsor larger group classes?

    Yes! Please contact us at to discuss your needs.

  • My company is interested in offering ACF as a perk to our employees - is that possible?

    Yes! We work with employers to offer ACF as a perk to their employees to help boost employee engagement and help employees pass down an important skill to their kids. If you are interested in exploring a partnership with us, please email for more information.

  • College Prep

  • How does ACF prepare my child for college?

    ACF can help prepare your child by providing them “ learn-apply” experience cycles, collaboration and mentorship. There are a few ways that ACF helps students succeed in preparation for college.

    Admissions: Students can build a strong admissions profile for college through our application level courses: Science fair + Coding, Startup Teams, Internships. It demonstrates leadership, problem solving abilities, initiatives. We offer pathways to help students excel in competitions and in courseworks like AP Computer Science.

    In College and beyond: Equipped with technical knowledge, ability to apply and collaborate, ACF students land on competitive internships and excel in college courses. Many of our advanced courses are equivalent to college level courses.

  • How can I build my child’s college resume with ACF?

    Demonstrating academic excellence: We recommend students start early in our program, from 8-10 years old, so that they have many years to develop their skills and build a strong profile in computer science. A sample progression for a complete beginner may be:

    ● 3rd - 5th grade: Scratch, Minecraft+Python,Web Programming I, Python I

    ● 4th - 6th grade: Web Programming I, II, Python I, II, Tinker I, II

    ● 6th - 7th grade: Programming III, Python III, Tinker III Game Development I

    ● 7th - 8th grade: Science Fair + Coding, Junior Startup Team Game Development II, AI I, Java I

    ● 9th - 12th grade: Science Fair + Coding, Startup Team, Internship, Game Development III, AI II, II, , Java II, III

    Students starting as beginners in high school would still start in Python Level 1 and have less time to prepare for USACO, but we have students who started in 9th grade who passed Bronze and Silver within 1-2 years.

    Demonstrating leadership and drive: In our applied level courses, students get involved early on with leadership and commitment in subject areas they are interested in serving the local community.

    Excelling in selective contests: Interested students may participate in the ACF global competition, Science fairs, and many tech entrepreneurship competitions. Doing well in these competitions can demonstrate a student’s excellence amongst a group of their peers. Check our “Success story” to our students’ achievements.

  • ACF Coaches

  • Who are ACF coaches?

    ACF instructors are career professionals working in education and tech industries and college students that went through rigorous interview and training processes. They are chosen for their technical aptitude and experience working with students. They serve as not only skilled instructors, but also as mentors and role models for their students. ACF offers continuous training and support programs for our coaches. Your child is getting mentored by the best and brightest in the field.

  • Camps

  • Where are your camps located?

    Our camps are located at Gunn High school in Palo Alto, Santa Clara studio, and Palo Alto studio in the bay area. We also host two international camps in Seoul, Korea and Qatar.. For a complete list of locations, please visit "??" page”

  • How many weeks of camp can students take in the summer?

    Students can register for as many weeks of camp as they would like. We encourage you to pick and choose courses from different categories to benefit from our diverse real project based interdisciplinary learning experience. See our course information pages for details..

  • What if the content is too easy or too hard once the course begins?

    ACF’s courses and curricula are built to accommodate a wide range of ages and abilities. This, along with a very skilled instructional staff and low student-to-staff ratio (average of 1:8 for in person class, and 1:5 for online class), allows us to individualize lessons, customize the learning experience and offer plenty of personalized, one-on-one time for each student. If you have a particular goal or project idea, instructors will work with you and guide you to help you achieve it.

  • How many weeks do students normally register for?

    Our Camps are offered as one to thee-weeks experiences. Many students register for more than two weeks to build on what they have learned to create projects they can use and share with their community. ACF emphasizes purposeful learning that students can use to realize their ideas and our students love the empowering experience. .

  • What steps do you take to make sure my child is safe in your program?

    We follow the current COVID-19 guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety and wellness. We adhere to strict background checks of each staff member and they are trained in both emergency response and child safety standards. All of our staff are well-trained and are all CPR and First Aid certified. We also require that all staff undergo stringent background checks, along with Mandatory Reporting training and Sexual Abuse Prevention training. We also employ Day Camp Counselors whose primary role is to supervise students during break activities and guide students around the campus during meal times. Our Camp Director is equipped with tools and resources to ensure the safety of each student.

    For any issues involving specialized diets or medications, our Camp Directors facilitate special training among camp counselors to make sure students receive any necessary or required medication as well as create an action plan each week that caters to our students’ needs. We encourage you to reach out with any questions you may have. Safety is our #1 priority.

  • What happens if my child needs to miss a camp day?

    We understand that the summer months can be busy, however, we do not recommend missing a day of camp. Due to the fact that our programs are only one week long, missing any portion can have a significant impact on the academic component of the program and negatively affect your child’s experience. There will be a lot of pressure on your child to learn any missed material in a shorter time to catch up by the end of the week. Our staff is always willing to work with individuals as needed, but it is not recommended that any time in class is missed.

  • Can I sit in the class with my student?

    Parents are invited to come to the class on Monday morning to see the location of the room, meet the instructor and teaching assistants, and go through the camp orientation with their students. We do not allow parents to stay in the classroom during the day while class is in session. For the safety of all our students, we can not allow any adults in our camp or classrooms who are not employees of ACF. On Friday, we welcome you to join us during the Friday Open House, where you can see the projects your student has been working on during the week.

  • My child has to bring medicine to camp. What is your process for administering medication to children at camp?

    The process for administering medication is as follows:

    1. Medication is kept in a lock box in the camp office (unless otherwise requested by parents and approved by Camp Director).

    2. Each day at the appointed time, the participant is brought to the office and the Program Director or Residential Coordinator/Counselor will ensure that they take the medication.

    3. The Program Director or Residential Coordinator/Counselor keeps a logbook of each day that it’s administered, how many pills are taken, and what time. After the medication is provided to the participant, both the Program Director or Residential Coordinator/Counselor and the participant will initial the logbook.

    4. Parents/Guardians will need to do the following: At check-in, provide the Program Director or Residential Coordinator/Counselor with the medication in the original container with the pharmacy label and the following:

    ● Name of Parent

    ● Name of Participant

    ● Telephone Number

    ● Name of medication(s)

    ● Best time to administer to student

  • Do students need to bring their computers?

    ACF provides computers to the elementary students, but older students from 6th and up graders should bring their own computers..

  • Do any of your courses have prerequisites?

    Most of our summer courses do not have prerequisites other than age limit, but several programs have pre-requisite. Please check the course description. For the courses space over one weeks, we require to enroll for the whole period. For those students with previous experience, contact us at for the individual consideration.

  • Can you make an exception if my child is on the borderline of one of the age cutoffs?

    We can make exceptions for children who are on the border of the cutoffs on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us at for more details on the requirements.

  • What’s next after camp? How can my student stay engaged?

    This is why ACF camp differentiates from the other camps. Students will start their own portfolio throughout the camp. And those who joined our camps for over two weeks will be given one pass to hackathons hosted by Applied Computing Foundation. Our camp thrives to offer purposeful learning experience that goes beyond just summer, just exposure or just experience. We encourage students to apply what they learn to create valuable products that they and their community can use. We also continuously challenge our students throughout monthly online code challenges and many other both online and offline events. Once you join our camp, you are part of our community.

  • Do you have programs running through the school year?

    ACF offers year-round afterschool programs at the parner schools and at learning centers, and online. We also organize events and programs for students at other schools or organizations. If you are interested in organizing a customized program at your school, please contact us at

  • Can you accommodate students with special needs?

    ACF is not a special needs camp, however, we welcome students with special needs. We can accommodate special needs at each location, and historically have had a high success rate with students and parents who are vocal about their needs and how our camp can help the child have the most positive experience possible.

    If you decide to register for the course there will be a section where you can add any pertinent information that can assist our on-campus staff in making this a positive experience for you and your child. Please give us as much information as you feel necessary for us to provide a good experience for your child. We encourage you to talk to the on-site Director upon arrival at camp as well, and make sure you convey any additional information.

  • Can you accommodate dietary restrictions or food allergies?

    We are aware that students may have special dietary needs. When going through your registration process you will be asked about any medications or dietary needs the child may have. Additionally, you are more than welcome to contact us once your registration has been processed and we can add additional notes to your account for extra assurance. We also encourage you to speak with the director on-site at check in to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

    If your child has severe food allergies, we would recommend sending a sack lunch from home each day. Your child’s health and safety is very important to us!