Friday, October 11 – Monday, October 14,
Los Angeles, CA 

Are you a high school-aged student in California? Looking for ways to activate and engage your community? Apply today to join the California Advocacy Institute, a four-day social justice and civil liberties training for high school organizers in California.

Return to ACLU AdvoCacy Institute

Join us in Los Angeles this fall to:

  • Learn about advocacy and grassroots organizing,
  • School up on some of the most critical issues facing our communities,
  • Connect with ACLU staff and student peers from across the state, and
  • Get the skills to empower your own youth activist network.

Over the course of four days in Los Angeles, California, students will work with ACLU staff to build the skills they need to become America’s next generation of organizers and activists. Through a series of training sessions, action committee meetings, elective workshops, and networking sessions, students will learn strategies for grassroots organizing and advocacy, explore the most important social justice and civil liberties issues facing California today, and begin building an activist network and making concrete plans for future community action.

Key program activities will include:

  • Organizer training sessions led by ACLU and Close Up staff, who will help students develop the key skills needed for effective advocacy in California
  • Elective issue workshops taught by ACLU staff, who will dive into an array of priority issues in California using seminars, panel discussions, and interactive activities
  • Action committees that allow students to choose an issue that is important to them, work with fellow participants to identify strategies and tactics for action, and develop plans for future advocacy in collaboration with their colleagues and ACLU staff
  • Networking sessions that provide students with opportunities to connect with other participants, ACLU staff, and volunteers, and to identify and strengthen their advocacy networks.

Friday, October 11 – Monday, October 14
Los Angeles, California
UCLA Campus

High School students who are in grades 10, 11, or 12 in the 2019-20 school year are welcome to apply.

The ACLU California Advocacy Institute is looking for students who demonstrate a keen interest in civil liberties issues and social justice advocacy. Students are not required to have previous familiarity with civil liberties issues or advocacy methodologies (and those students who are already deeply immersed in civil liberties issues/advocacy will have a unique opportunity to deepen their skill-set and expand their organizing network).

Students are required to complete this program application before the application deadline for the admissions committee to consider the student for the program.

The admissions process for the program is built around two application deadlines: Early Decision and Regular Decision. Preference will be given to students who submit their applications by the Early Decision deadline. Students will hear from the admissions committee within three weeks of the deadline. Once students are accepted, they will be required to submit complete a registration form and submit a non-refundable deposit approximately three weeks after notification of the admissions decision (students receiving scholarships must complete the enrollment form within this three-week period).  

Early Decision: June 9, 2019

Notification Date: July 2, 2019

Prospective students applying under our Early Decision will have first consideration by the admissions committee. The Early Decision deadline for our 2019 program is June 9, 2019. All applicants who submit a completed application for Early Decision will receive a notification by July 2, 2019. 

Regular Decision: September 29, 2019

The Regular Decision deadline is September 29, 2019.  

The ACLU is committed to providing scholarship opportunities for students who qualify based on family income. Full and partial scholarships will be available. Financial aid awards are based on need. Students must apply for Financial Aid at the same time as the Program Application. Students will receive their program admissions decision and financial aid decision at the same time.

Please complete the separate financial aid application and include your application number.


A tuition fee of $1,750 per student covers all experiential learning activities, lodging, off-campus social events, and student meals. Transportation costs are not included in this program’s tuition.

Transportation to and from Los Angeles can be arranged by our partner organization, The Close Up Foundation, for an additional cost. Information regarding travel arrangements can be found in the Transportation section of the FAQs.

If you have any questions, please contact or visit our FAQs page.

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