Sophomore Action Plan

By sophomore year, you know the campus and Princeton environment quite well. This year you’ll be assessing where you’ve been and where you’re going, and the range of choices you have may seem daunting. You’ll be making some big decisions about your major (B.S.E.s will begin to take courses in their chosen fields), your leadership path, internships, and housing and dining plans. Some general guidelines:

Make academic connections. Begin to reflect on the things that interest you intellectually, both as you declare your concentration and consider your options for independent work. Identify experiences that broaden your horizons, through study abroad, research, and more.

Build leadership skills. Seek out opportunities to take on new responsibilities, serving as a mentor to others and working with teams to problem-solve. Your activities help you to build competencies that future employers or graduate admissions committees find valuable when considering applicants, and they also help you to clarify your goals.

Build your network. Deepening your relationships is critical to your education this year. By May, at least three people at Princeton should know enough about you, your work, and your aspirations for the future to write you a letter of recommendation. You should also be working on your network outside Princeton, through internships and co-curricular involvement. 

Together, these decisions and relationships will begin to shape your upperclass experience, and your life beyond Princeton.

We’ve put together this timeline and resource guide to help you think through some of your options, but remember that you are not required to decide everything all at once, or all alone. We invite you to talk with your faculty adviser and college office about charting the path that’s right for you.

Summer

Begin to discuss study abroad options with advisers in the Office of International Programs.

Early September

Reconnect with your faculty adviser to review summer and plan ahead. Talk with your adviser about some of the following questions: When you came to Princeton, what did you think you wanted to study? Has that changed or developed over the past year? What worked well last year and what didn’t? Take a step back from courses, concentrations, and careers and think about what interests you in the world: What draws your attention in the newspaper, online, in books, movies, and in conversations? What kinds of questions do you like to think about? There is still time to explore your academic interests!

With which faculty members, graduate students, deans, or other teachers did you make a real connection last year? Reach out to them and stay connected.

Think about the skills gained from each extracurricular activity you participated in last year. If you haven’t become involved yet, now’s the time to begin volunteer work and other extracurricular activities. Visit the Activities Fair, and check out the options at the Pace Center.

Mid-September

Sign up for OA leader training.

Attend the OIP Study Abroad Fair.

Start completing applications to study abroad for spring term programs (deadlines run from September through November but often fall in late October).

Late September/Early October

Meet with Career Services to explore your options, create a plan, and develop a solid resume. Use TigerNet or the LinkedIn alumni search tool to connect with the alumni who can provide advice about majors and careers.

Attend the HireTigers Career Fair for internships. Meet with employers and alumni for recruiting and networking.

Before you tackle your next major paper, review these helpful hints on acknowledging your sources and developing good working habits. 

Mid to Late October

Begin the RCA application process.

Visit the Fellowships Advising Office in OIP to discuss your eligibility for sophomore-specific fellowships like the Dale (personal growth experiences), Gilman (study or internships abroad), Boren (study abroad), Goldwater (science and engineering), and Mellon Mays (mentorship and support for academic careers).

Explore research in different fields before you make a major choice, connect with graduate students to learn what the research life is all about, and get some great research experience before your JP/senior thesis by participating in Rematch.

Early November

Start applying for Princeternships for the January reading period.

Late November

Begin to discuss summer study abroad options with OIP advisers. 

Apply for summer PICS (Princeton Internships in Civic Service) programs.

Meet with your faculty adviser to discuss courses for the spring term. Consider your major selection, and discuss your plans to pursue any certificates. Research the requirements and application deadlines for certificates, which vary widely.Be on the lookout for the Halftime Retreat application. This is a great opportunity to step back and reflect on your first two years, and think about what you want the rest of your Princeton experience to look like.

Apply to be an RCA (deadline is early December)

Early December

Be on the lookout for the Halftime Retreat application. This is a great opportunity to step back and reflect on your first two years, and think about what you want the rest of your Princeton experience to look like.

Deadline to apply for Princeton International Internship Programs.

Apply for fellowships like the Guggenheim Internship in Criminal Justice.

Begin applying for Princeton summer study abroad programs. Most deadlines fall between late January and mid-February but some, such as the global seminars deadline fall as early as early December. 

January Reading Period

Attend the Sophomore Dining Choices Panel (Sponsored by the Sophomore Class Council).

Special Needs Housing Application Opens.

Apply for the sophomore Dale Summer Award. How would you like $5000 to do something transformative with your summer? The Martin A. Dale '53 Summer Awards provide financial support to enable a small number of Princeton sophomores to pursue worthy projects that provide opportunities for personal growth, foster independence, creativity, and leadership skills, and broaden or deepen some area of special interest.

Apply to become a Dormitory Assistant.

Attend the HireTigers Meetup for Internships. Meet with employers and alumni for recruiting and networking.

February

Eating club sign-in begins.

Start applying for Princeternships for March (Spring Break).

Apply for the ReMatch+ Summer Program.

Begin to discuss fall study abroad options with OIP advisers (or spring study abroad options for the following year for Oxford and Cambridge).

Apply to the Office of Undergraduate Research Student Initiated Internship Program (OURSIP).

March

Apply to be a Community Action leader.

Late March - Early April

Departmental open houses for A.B. sophomores. Attend lots of these to meet faculty and other students in your prospective major departments; think about the community that you may join, and ask questions about how to prepare for junior independent work.

Develop and propose a Breakout Trip.

April

Invite your faculty adviser to lunch, and discuss your plans for declaring a concentration.

A.B. students choose a concentration and meet with your new departmental adviser to select courses for the fall term.

May

Deadline to apply for study abroad for fall term programs.

Attend Princeton Research Day to learn about the research and creative work being done on campus and come away with new insights on choosing your major. 

Resources

Fellowships

Independent Student Guide

Eating Clubs

Study Abroad

International Internship Program

PICS (Internships in Civic Service)

Center for Career Development

Tigernet

Halftime

Dale Summer Awards