Sophomores

As you navigate through the academic year, review the appropriate tab below for useful tips and advice.

Summer

  • Explore different majors. Familiarize yourself with various majors and their requirements. Also explore your options for minors.
  • Understand distribution, writing, and university requirements.
    • H = Humanities (classics, English, film and media studies, foreign languages at the intermediate level and beyond, history, history of science, history of art, philosophy, theatre arts, and writing seminars)
    • E = Engineering
    • N = Natural sciences (biology, biophysics, chemistry, cognitive science, earth and planetary sciences, neuroscience, and physics)
    • Q = Quantitative (applied math and statistics, mathematics)
    • S = Social sciences (anthropology, economics, history, political science, psychology, and sociology)
    • W = Writing intensive (denoted by an asterisk * on your transcript)
  • Be flexible. For course registration, be open and flexible about your class selections. Always have alternative options.
  • Exercise your freedom. Make a habit of taking one unique class each semester.
  • Learn how AP credits work for pre-meds. If you are pre-med, read the Office of Pre-Professional Advising AP guidelines.

Fall

Early Fall (September)

  • Get to know your faculty advisors. If you declared your major last spring, become acquainted with your faculty advisor. Your faculty advisor can answer questions specific to your major, guide you into your discipline, and be an invaluable resource.
  • Narrow your focus. If you have not declared a major, narrow your focus to one or two possible majors and take courses in these areas. Talk to the director of undergraduate studies for more information about the major.
  • Know important dates, deadlines, and policies. Know the deadlines to add, drop, withdraw, or change to S/U grading.
  • Revamp, redevelop, or revisit your study skills and habits. What you do now will affect your future.
  • Get active. Get involved on campus through activities, organizations, community service, sports, work, etc. Make connections with your peers and try something new.
  • Build healthy mentoring relationships with upperclassmen. Understand that your experiences may not be the same as theirs. You each have different strengths and interests.
  • Exercise your freedom. Make a habit of taking one unique class each semester.
  • Learn how AP credits work for pre-meds. If you are pre-med, read the Office of Pre-Professional Advising AP guidelines.

Mid Fall (October)

  • Build an academic plan for the next three years. Understand graduation requirements and incorporate them into your plan.
  • Listen to your instincts. Your instincts will help you know if and when you need to drop, withdraw, or S/U a course. They will also tell you when it’s time to ask for help.
  • Handle stress. If you begin to experience stress, anxiety, or any cause for concern, meet with an academic advisor or stop by the Counseling Center at 3003 N. Charles Street, Suite S-200. In times of academic stress, you may need to further develop your study techniques. In times of emotional stress, you can learn effective techniques to cope better.
  • Study abroad. Go to the Office of Study Abroad and check out the library resource center. Schedule a meeting with a study abroad advisor to talk about specific programs and application options. The earlier you plan for study abroad, the less complicated it will be completing graduation requirements.

Preparation for Registration (October-November)

  • Meet with your advisor. Meet with your assigned advisor to discuss your academic plans and spring semester registration. If you have declared a major, you must meet with your faculty advisor, not your freshman academic advisor. Your assigned advisor will clear the advisor alert in SIS. Failure to meet with your advisor could delay your registration.
  • Explore different majors. Familiarize yourself with various majors and their requirements. Start narrowing your focus on potential majors if you have not yet declared a major.
  • Select small classes. Try to take at least one small class a semester. Small classes provide the opportunity for you and the faculty member to get to know each other. Building relationships now will make it much easier when you request letters of recommendations later.
  • Be flexible. For course registration, be open and flexible about your class selections. Always have alternative options.
  • Select a well-balanced schedule. Graduate programs, law schools, and medical schools all want to see diverse courses among your selections. Do not overload on any one area.
  • Research. Begin seeking research for spring and/or summer. Talk to your faculty advisor or director of undergraduate studies in your department.
  • Take an intersession course.

End of Fall (December)

  • Complete your assignments. Give yourself proper time to complete end-of-semester projects, papers, and exams by mapping out the last 2-3 weeks of the semester well in advance.
  • Take advantage of academic assistance. Go to your professors’ and TAs’ office hours. Meet with a Study Consultant. Attend tutoring at the Learning Den.
  • Plan for finals. Two weeks prior to finals, create your study calendar. Dedicate time over several days to prepare and study for each of your classes. Review all necessary materials, including PowerPoint slides, class notes, textbooks, etc.

Winter

  • Begin looking for internships. Visit the Career Center to understand what services they provide.
  • Explore independent study options. An independent study is when you pursue a topic of special interest that is not covered in regular course offerings. You must initiate the process. The content and expectations are formalized in negotiations between you and the faculty sponsor. The credits assigned to an independent study cannot contain an internship component, though it is acknowledged that an internship experience may inform the academic product(s) of an independent study. Students may seek up to 3 academic credits in one term for an independent study.

Spring

  • Study abroad. Go to the Office of Study Abroad and check out the library resource center. Schedule a meeting with a study abroad advisor to talk about specific programs and application options. The earlier you plan for study abroad, the less complicated it will be completing graduation requirements.
  • Meet with your faculty advisor. Meet with your assigned advisor to discuss your academic plans and fall semester registration. Your advisor alert will then be cleared in SIS. Failure to meet with your advisor could delay your registration.
  • Review your academic plan. After reviewing your academic plan, decide if you need to take summer courses. To transfer courses from another university, download the PDF Document: Permission to Transfer Summer Credit form and follow the instructions.