Should you apply to the Academies of Loudoun?

A closer look at what the Academies is about.



LEESBURG, VA – Jenna Gould, a Sophomore at Tuscarora High School, attends the Academies of Loudoun every B Day. She is on the computer science track in the Academy of Engineering and Technology (AET), which runs for four years.

The Academies of Loudoun is a program through the school that offers more specialized classes than a students’ home school. It has three different programs, AOS, MATA, and AET. AOS is the Academy of Science. MATA specializes in various classes such as Administration of Justice, Veterinary Science, Firefighting, and many more. The AET program has three possible tracks: engineering, entrepreneurship, and computer science.

But why should someone apply to the academies? Gould says: “I would recommend them as long as they are interested in the actual track… It’s very nice there.” Not only do they offer classes far different from the ones at Tuscarora, but the generic classes such as math that they do have are more focused on that specific subject and are actually applied to your track.

“The Academies have a lot more career centered courses… but what they don’t have, since they’re very academic based, is sport games or a stadium,” Gould states. One reason why she only recommends that someone apply to the Academies if they are truly interested becomes clear when she says, “You can get more distant with your friend group than you would like to.”

Aubrey Boissiere, a Sophomore at Tuscarora, is currently looking at applying to the Academies for the MATA program. “I applied to the Academies of Science in eighth grade, but I didn’t get in,” she says. [Now] I’m thinking of taking Biomedical Technology, which is a two year career path.”

The Academies of Loudoun is a competitive program, and not everyone gets in. “The best time to apply is in the summer… [but] applying earlier doesn’t give you a better chance of getting in, it just gives you an easier chance to prepare yourself for whatever path you choose,” Boissiere says. As to whether she thinks she will get in, she replies, “The chances are not very high, maybe like 40 to 30 percent.” The class that Boissiere is aiming for will only have so many open spots, similar to the other courses in the Academies of Loudoun. Still, when she was asked if her chances are higher than they were in eighth grade, her response is very confident: “Definitely.”

Her reason for applying to the academies was that “The Academies offer more classes that are catered to whatever career you want to go into,” she says. “This year I really wanted to apply to further my career path… My career path is in the medical field.”

The Academies of Loudoun halves your time at your home school, and you are there for either an A day or a B day. It usually means that you don’t have time for any electives at your home school.  “Whatever department you get into, like AOS, it’s all basically one thing, which is science or STEM. With Tuscarora, all your classes you can choose and mix and match. So you can be in one class for one field and then a class for another field.”

As if echoing Gould’s earlier statement, Boissiere agrees that you should apply to the academies only if you’re absolutely certain that it is the career path that you want to take.