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The Importance of Applying for AIM

(Choosing the Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link   All Posts
Jacob Cheeseman

Hello perspective cadets!

Before I begin, please note that the advice/comments in this blog entry (and every blog entry) are not official guidance from the Admissions Office. You can take as much or as little of my advice as you would like!

To the future great Class of 2024: You are not as far away from the Academy as you think.

To many of you high school juniors, college might seem like it is far away. But in reality, it is not! What you do now in high school matters more than ever before! Just a year from this summer, you could be reporting into the Coast Guard Academy on Day One of 2020! Life moves fast for my class as well – by the time you are 4/c, we will be in our 1/c year!

However, let’s focus on the present for right now. I urge each of you to continue to work hard in academics, athletics, and community involvement. I also encourage all of you to enjoy your remaining high school days and cherish the moments you have in your hometown with your classmates – you only have 2.5 semesters left! When you look back on high school, you can be proud of the work you did and the memories you made.

I also encourage all of you to apply for AIM – the application is open now! In this fast-paced world, it is critical to get a head start on your college goals. A great way to do that is applying for (and hopefully attending) AIM! Let me explain to you why applying is so important:

1. Why would you not apply? If you are interested in the Academy and the Coast Guard, there is no reason to deny yourself a chance at attending AIM.

Even if you do not think you will be accepted to AIM, I still encourage you to apply! First off, you never know what will happen, and maybe you will be accepted! Secondly, by thoughtfully applying to the program, you show your true interest in the Academy. Even if you are not accepted, the fact that you made an earnest effort to apply for AIM can pay dividends later on when applying for an actual appointment.

If you are worried about financial need in relation to AIM tuition, I encourage you to visit the AIM tuition page and contact your Admissions Officer to learn more about applying for an AIM scholarship.

2. Learn something about yourself and define your version of a successful AIM experience. AIM is set-up so that you learn about yourself. It is a stressful, busy environment (but also a fun one!) that will challenge you. It the midst of this challenge, you will learn more about the Academy and the Coast Guard and will also learn more about college in general with the FIT workshops.

For many, AIM can provide important reassurance that the Academy is the right place for them! AIM gives students a degree of confidence that they can handle the Academy. Your experience at AIM will help you write a more confident appointment application and give you assurance that you will make the right choice if you receive a full appointment. For some, AIM can work in a different direction, but still in a very meaningful way. Some might realize during AIM that the Academy is not the right place for them. And that is ok! The Academy is challenging and is not for everyone. Attending the Academy without a desire to be serve in the Coast Guard is not a good strategy for anyone. If AIM helps you make that revelation, then AIM has been a success for you and will help you move on with your college decisions.

For many, the lessons you learn about yourself during AIM might not kick in immediately. As an AIMster, you live in the moment. Afterward, you have time to reflect. I questioned my plans during the stress of AIM, but later I knew that I could handle the challenges that come with Academy life. It took some time to figure it all out, but I soon gained the understanding and the assurance that the Academy was where I should be.

3. A pivotal experience and team bonding. There is a reason that you receive a mini diploma for completing AIM! It is not like attending other summer “camps” or “programs” you may have attended where memories and acquaintances come and go. Instead, AIM is an experience you will always remember, no matter whether you attend the Academy or not. You will feel accomplished after finishing the one-week program! It will be challenging, but will also be rewarding.

At the Academy, I have friends who are shipmates from my AIM company. We have a special bond and common stories from AIM Week 1, Zulu 1 in July 2016. Outside the Academy, I have met people who never attended the Academy, but still think back to their days of AIM. For example, riding a ferry one day, I met an AIM graduate who later became an Ivy league student. Although he chose to attend another institution, he was still proudly wearing a Coast Guard Academy shirt!

What are you waiting for? Get working on your AIM application!

As always, feel free to email me about anything at [email protected].