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AIM Academy Emphasizes College Readiness for Student Success

Serving children with learning differences in grades 1–12, AIM Academy prepares and supports their college-bound students with AIM Forward and AIM Advantage

AIM Academy emphasizes college readiness. High school students' desks are arranged like a college classroom.

For many students, especially those with learning disabilities, making the leap from high school to college can be a challenging transition. To best prepare its students for success, AIM Academy makes college readiness a central component of its Upper School curriculum. 

AIM Forward

College readiness at AIM Academy begins in earnest when students enter Upper School in 9th grade with the AIM Forward college and career curriculum. This program allows students to explore careers, discover how they learn best, and develop skills for civic engagement and social awareness. Students prepare for standardized tests and learn about colleges. And during their senior year, AIM students participate in dual enrollment and spend time on area campuses taking college classes.

Through this program, AIM students are given a variety of tools to discover their interests and understand their learning needs in order to find college success. These tools include executive functioning, civic engagement, and self-advocacy. For example, building executive functioning skills is a key part of instruction in both Middle and Upper School to help students effectively manage their time. As another aspect of the program, all students must take a Civic Engagement course in 10th grade. This helps students learn to think critically about addressing global issues that are relevant to them. Additionally, AIM’s dual-enrollment program allows students to experience a college course, practice requesting accommodations, and adjust to learning platforms commonly used in higher education.

Dual Enrollment

Dual enrollment is an especially powerful tool in the AIM Academy college readiness program. Recently, a member of AIM’s Class of 2023 had a successful freshman year at St. Joseph’s University, directly as a result of her dual enrollment experience.

While she was a senior at AIM, this student took a project and assignment-based class at St. Joe’s. She did exceptionally well and earned an A. However, for her spring dual enrollment, she took a class that was much more test- and quiz-based, and earned a C. 

After discussing this experience with AIM’s director of college counseling and her teachers, she determined that test-based classes did not suit her learning style as well. Therefore, when choosing college classes, she would opt for those that were less test heavy, when possible. The following year, when she enrolled as a freshman at St. Joe’s, she leaned into her strengths. Based on what she learned from her dual enrollment at AIM, she selected writing-heavy classes that align with her learning style. This strategy resulted in a very successful first semester, where she earned A’s and one B+!

Another aspect of AIM’s college readiness program is that the school provides all its students with opportunities to discover and explore their passion and interests. As students move to Middle and Upper School, they have leadership opportunities on the field in athletics, in service organizations, and in many clubs and activities, such as Robotics. 

AIM Advantage

AIM’s support of students doesn’t end when they receive their diploma. Once AIM students reach college, they have the opportunity to enroll in the AIM Advantage program. This program pairs students with a teacher or college counselor for the school year to support scheduling, time management, editing papers, and more. This continuum of support keeps students on track as they navigate the new demands of their college career.

To bring it all full circle, AIM invites alumni back to campus each year to share their college experiences. This helps Upper School students envision their own college journey. During the College Panel, current students and parents learn about some of the challenges that students face when transitioning to college. More importantly, it illustrates the many ways AIM prepared them for college and aided their success. To listen to alumni stories firsthand, you can find a recording of this year’s 2024 College Panel here.

Learn more about AIM Academy on their Profile Page and their Facebook Page

This story supports the Main Line Parent Community with photographs courtesy of AIM Academy. 

AIM Academy is a coeducational, independent school in Conshohocken dedicated to providing extraordinary educational opportunities to children in grades 1-12 with language-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Our rigorous, academic elementary, middle and high school programs, taught by experienced and creative faculty, incorporate evidence-based interventions in an arts-based learning environment that is college preparatory in scope and sequence. Our programs are designed to foster self-esteem and social responsibility both in the classroom and through our comprehensive athletics, extracurricular and summer camp programs.

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