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Frontman William Beckett and guitarist Michael Carden first came together in 2002, adding Adam T. Siska on bass, Adrian LaTrace Jr as a second guitarist and drummer Mike DelPrincipe before heading into the studio and recorded their self-titled debut EP, The Academy Is (2004), for the Chicago-based label LLR Recordings. LLR Recordings had released Beckett's solo project Remember Maine's debut album The Last Place You Look in 2002. The ep was recorded in Villa Park, IL at The Gallery of Carpet by Producer Brian Zieske. Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy heard it and was so impressed that he convinced his label, Fueled by Ramen, to fly out and see them. The label immediately signed the band. Contrary to popular belief and what has been said in the press, a good portion of the music written on the album has actually been done by LaTrace as he was the lead guitarist and Carden was the rhythm guitarist at the time.

In 2004 the band headed to Florida to record their Fueled by Ramen debut Almost Here, produced by James Paul Wisner who's worked with Dashboard Confessional, Further Seems Forever, and Underoath. After recording and a summer tour, the band underwent a lineup change. Tom Conrad, formerly of Chicago local band 504 Plan, replaced LaTrace as their second guitarist/backing vocalist and Andy Mrotek, formerly of Last Place Champs, replaced DelPrincipe as their drummer. Andy Mrotek and Thomas Conrad are listed in the liner notes, but were added to the band after the recording of Almost Here to replace DelPrincipe and LaTrace, respectively. They hit the road hard, touring with Fall Out Boy, Something Corporate, Midtown, Matchbook Romance, Motion City Soundtrack and Armor for Sleep.

The album was released on February 8, 2005. During the summer of 2005, the band embarked on their first headlining tour alongside Plain White T's, Days Away and June.

Members of The Academy Is... recently did a cameo appearance in Fall Out Boy's music video for their single "A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More 'Touch Me'", as vampire enemies alongside members of the bands Panic! at the Disco and Gym Class Heroes. William Beckett and Mike Carden played vampire dandies, and Beckett was their leader. William also lent his voice to Fall Out Boy on the song "Sophomore Slump Or Comeback Of The Year" on the album From Under The Cork Tree.

William sings the chorus of Bring It (Snakes on a Plane), by Cobra Starship, for the soundtrack of the movie Snakes on a Plane.

As of October 26, 2006, The Academy Is... had announced via the blog on their official website that Tom Conrad and the band have parted ways. Although it provides no reason, Tom later made a post on his website Forevernever.net, of which he says that he never "quit the band", which has led fans to speculation about Tom's departure. Michael Guy Chislett joined the band to replace Tom on Guitar.

While featured on the 2006 Warped Tour, they began the process of writing songs for their second release. Once they finished up with the Warped Tour, they moved to finishing the writing process and eventually towards stepping into the recording studio. They flew to Los Angeles to record their record with Butch Walker. As of December 23, 2006, the band had officially finished the recording process. The album, entitled Santi, was released April 3, 2007 on Fueled By Ramen. The release of this album is listed on Blender's 25 reasons to love 2007. On January 26, 2007 a sample of "LAX to O'Hare" was released on a link from their MySpace account, LiveJournal community, and website. The song was streamed from their Absolute Punk profile.

The band began their Sleeping With Giants tour in Milwaukee on September 5, 2007 with support by The Rocket Summer, Armor for Sleep and Sherwood. The tour ended on November 24, 2007 in Chicago. Andy Mrotek, better known in the band as The Butcher, created the poster art for the fall tour.

The band plans to release their followup to Santi this year (2008).