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Academics > Advising > The Second Year
The Second Year.

Assess and Decide

Adapted with permission from Beloit College's Advising Manual

For many sophomores this is not an easy year: newness has worn off, choices are many, and the decision-making process is often difficult if not painful. Many question the values and assumptions they accepted from their families, but have yet to develop their own outlook on life. They are becoming independent and thus are faced with many decisions about relationships, life style and priorities.

Guiding Principles

  • Commitment to Monmouth
  • Decision on a major
  • Planning for the next two years
  • Continued exploration of their interests, their values, their opportunities, their world
  • Finding how Monmouth College's mission, general education program, and the major all tie together.
  • Review Goal Sheet. Fill out a new one.

Note:  the sophomore advisor should ask many of the same questions asked of first year students and give much of the same advice.

Discussion Points: Personal and Social

  • Do you feel you have adjusted to Monmouth College? The city? The United States?
  • How are you enjoying Monmouth College?
  • What extra-curricular activities are you involved in?
  • How is this year different from last year?
  • Have you a circle of friends?
Discussion Points: Academic

  • Do you like your courses? How are they going this semester?
  • Are you satisfied with your grades?
  • What can you do to improve your grades? (If grades are poor)
  • What are you thinking about for a major? (For students who haven’t declared)
  • Do you understand the major requirements? (For students who have declared)
  • Do you know about self-designed Topical majors? (For students who are struggling with a single major)
  • How do your current general education courses tie in with your general education courses from your first year? What is the mission of the college? How is Monmouth College fulfilling this mission in your college career?
  • Are you completing the goals you set out in your goal sheet? How are your plans changing? Give the student a new goal sheet to fill out and place in the folder.

Discussion Points: The Future

  • Have you started the process for applying to an off-campus or study abroad program?
  • How far along are you in preparing your academic plan (NEW OLD) or making your academic plans for the next two or three years?
  • Have you started the process of finding a summer internship or job?
  • What activities are you doing which will help build your resume

Additional Advice to Give to the Sophomore Advisee:

  • Talk to the college counselor about concerns relating to parents, friendships, sexual identity, relationships, depression, etc.
  • Talk to a variety of people about your values and philosophy of life (e.g. friends, family, religious leaders, faculty, and advisors.)
  • Join campus organizations. See the Dean of Students Office for ideas.
  • Do volunteer work.
  • Begin to develop your leadership and team player skills (through campus organizations, work-study, volunteer work, etc.)
  • Choose your courses with the goal of finding your major.
  • Find your major
  • Do not overload yourself with courses. Concentrate on doing four units well!
  • Declare your major by the end of the academic year.
    • Remember: it is still possible to change your major after this point but it might take longer than four years to graduate; check with the chair of the new major department.
  • Begin/continue to explore possible careers.
  • See Director of Off-Campus Study, for advice on off-campus study or study abroad.
    • Apply for off-campus or study abroad.
  • Continue to take a wide range of courses in order to discover new interests and develop a variety of skills and life-long passions.
  • Find something interesting to do over the summer, e.g. an internship or volunteer work.
  • Start your resume.
  • Consider taking a vacation term if you are feeling burned out, unmotivated, or generally not enjoying your studies; the break will almost certainly renew your enthusiasm.
  • Please talk to me (the adviser) if you are ever thinking about transferring, dropping courses, and/or taking a vacation term.
  • Talk to faculty about the opportunities available here, and how you could productively take a break from Monmouth
  • Interview the chair of department at the college(s) you are considering to find out what will transfer and how long it will take you to graduate, and to ensure you can get into classes.
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