Let’s face it, freshman year is a fiasco for most students—or all students. Experiencing college for the first time leads to crazy stories, embarrassing memories, and learning curves in every which way.
But guess what? Now you’re not a freshman anymore. That alone is a reason to celebrate.
And during your celebration, it’s also time to plan ahead for your second year before it’s too late. To guarantee your sophomore year isn’t a rerun of your freshman year, you need a strategy.
That’s why I created a sophomore year of college checklist. This list ensures that you cover your bases so you don’t fall behind in any area you would regret.
Here’s everything you should accomplish by the end of your sophomore year:
- Decide on a major
- Add a minor
- Choose your friend group
- Prepare for a summer internship in January
- Take care of your body
- Dedicate time to a student organization
Keep reading to get the reasoning behind each item on this checklist and why it’s important to your college success.
Decide on a major
Many college students, this may include you, pick a major their freshman year and then try to find a career based on their major. Because they don’t start with their career in mind and work backwards, they may switch majors four times.
However, my solution to pick a major is to first start with what you’re curious or passionate about. Then have a job or two in mind that aligns with your passion. And lastly, choose a major that will help you excel in that job.
Changing your perspective to look at your future and work backwards—by choosing your major last, instead of first—will give you more clarity and long-term focus.
Add a minor
Because of the expert knowledge gained and low-credits required, adding a minor is worth it. So after figuring out your major, the next step is to decide on a minor.
And when you start taking minor classes during your sophomore year, it’s super easy to graduate with a minor. Or if your minor overlaps a bit with your major, (for example: finance and accounting) it’s even less difficult.
For example, say you normally register for five classes each semester. About three of those classes will be for your major. Instead of taking the two left over classes for general education, make one count for your minor. Schedule one class a semester for your minor from now through senior year and you won’t have to take extra credit hours.
Choose your friend group
Your friend group from freshman year probably resembles a few people from your dorm, classes, and fraternity or sorority that you hung out with on familiarity rather than common interests.
I’m not saying to ditch these friends. But if you don’t like your friend group or don’t have much in common, sophomore year is the time to find the friend group you want. Since college campuses are filled with thousands of students, you’ll meet better friends if you look for them.
I’ve found this is best done by doing an activity you love and meeting other people during it. For example, if you love wakeboarding but none of your friends are interested, join the wakeboarding club and you’ll instantly make friends over your shared interested.
Prepare for a summer internship in January
The rest of the checklist items are best done as soon as possible, but preparing for your summer internship search doesn’t need to happen until January.
Starting the process this soon will seem early, but it’s necessary. Some internship applications have deadlines for February or March, so the students who are on top of it get their applications in while other students miss them. And if you need to revise your resume or get a recommendation letter, you’ll have plenty of time when you’re prepared. I’ve never been a bird, but they say it gets the worm when it’s early.
Take care of your body
While I’d advocate for you to be healthy freshman year, sometimes you live and you learn. Plus, it’s never too late to take care of your body and improve. So I encourage you to take your health and fitness serious in your second year.
Students who exercise, eat healthy, and get enough sleep are rewarded by their body with ample energy. They’re not dragging through their schedule in the afternoon or near the end of the semester. Your meals might not be as fun, but the rest of your day will be better when you eat with nutrition in mind. And you’ll look hotter if you stay away from getting fat in college.
Dedicate time to a student organization
Your freshman year may have looked like this: You went to the fall mega fair event where all the student organizations set up tables. You signed up for five of them on the spot. Went to a couple of meetings for each club, here and there. But never truly became involved with one to give a consistent effort.
Joining too many groups makes you feel uninvolved and not a part of any. It’s far more rewarding to get extremely involved in one club and cut off the rest. (If later on you find that your schedule has room for another student org, go for it.)
So sophomore year is the time to determine what student organization you want to dedicate your time and energy. This is especially true if you strive to be president of a student org. Making your presence known is crucial. And if president is too ambitious for you, it’s still a great idea to join a club’s executive time. Employers love leadership experience.
Following this plan above will set the foundation to win your second year of college and set yourself up to succeed in your junior and senior year.
As long you can accomplish everything on this sophomore year of college checklist, you can slack in other areas.
Again, cheers to advancing to sophomore-status. You have three more beautiful years of college on your plate.
Since millions of people would trade situations with you in a heartbeat, do yourself a favor and live it up!
What questions do you have about your second year? If you’re an upperclassmen or you graduated, what do you remember about your sophomore year?