The Sophomore Year

Welcome back, hopefully you have completed many of your GEs and are closer to determining a major. The sophomore year experience offers opportunities to take what you’ve learned and apply it to pursuits in your fields of interest. You can explore leadership opportunities, become further involved in the Pitzer community and address any changes in where you want your Pitzer experience to go.


  • 1. The main point of a small liberal arts college is to speak with professors.

    Talk with your academic adviser for advice on how to manage everything. Invite your academic adviser and your professors to lunch at McConnell. The main point of a small liberal arts college is to have close contact with your professors. They will be writing your letters of recommendation in the future. Professors schedule office hours for the sole purpose of meeting with students. There are only upsides to getting to know your professors, especially if later in the semester you run into some snags.

  • 2. Review the academic support resources available

    You should know about the academic support resources available on campus. If you are having academic difficulties, try to understand the nature of those difficulties. You should talk with your professor, go to their office hours, go to tutoring sessions, arrange study groups, share class notes with other students, and talk with academic support personnel in the Office of Student Affairs. We run various workshops on time management, relaxation techniques, note taking skills, etc.

    •  Another valuable academic support resource is the Writing Center. You can book an appointment with a writing fellow from the Writing Center website, for assistance during any part of the writing process.
    • If you are experiencing personal or academic stress and need additional support, you can schedule an appointment with Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services. Sessions are confidential and free to Pitzer students.
    • Student Disability resources are also available for various methods of support.
    • The Claremont colleges offer numerous shared support services for students, which can be found here
    • For additional sophomore-specific guidance, visit our sophomore co-curricular page
  • 3. Start planning now for your life after Pitzer.

    You should start planning now for your life after Pitzer. You should polish your resume, network, do research through Career Services, use your summers wisely, craft your online persona, and understand your own strengths and weaknesses. Talk with your adviser and your professors about life after Pitzer. Pick their brains about the world of possibilities out there.

  • 4. Regularly check academic calendar for important deadlines.

    Get to know the academic calendar and important deadlines. In September (February), know the deadlines to add classes and finalize your schedules. In October (March), follow up on any low grade notices and pay attention to the deadline to drop classes. In November (April) you pre-register for next semester. And in December (May), know the deadline to withdraw from classes and your final exam schedule. Frequently monitor your Pitzer email since all official communications will go there.

  • 5. Plan to declare a major by the end of your sophomore year.

    During your sophomore year, several general education requirements should already be complete. Courses can double or even triple count across designated sections, but not within. You should also take some introductory courses in areas of a possible major. As you continue in your Pitzer career, you will focus more on courses in your major and other areas of interest.

    You should plan to declare a major by the end of your sophomore year. Major declaration is due by the Fall term of your junior year. Talk with your academic adviser about possible majors. Familiarize yourself with our various (40+) majors and their requirements. Also explore our 22 minors. Your adviser can put you in touch with faculty in your fields of interest, and you are encouraged to take courses in a variety of fields. If you have a major adviser in mind, your academic adviser can send an introductory email to the faculty member for you. Career Services can also help you with this process by helping you to better understand your own interests and skills.

  • 6. Most sophomores need to make study abroad preparations for their junior year

    Most sophomores need to make study abroad preparations for their junior year. In September you should talk to your academic adviser about your study abroad ideas. You must go to a study abroad information session and submit a study abroad application during the Spring semester if you want to study abroad during the Fall of their Junior year. A study abroad information session is required the semester before you plan to go abroad.

      • Consider declaring your major ahead of your study abroad plans as major declaration will be required to attend the program.
      • Study abroad is meant to contribute to your major and academic plan. Even if you haven’t declared your major, it is best to meet with your academic advisor and the faculty in your intended major before going abroad.
      • You will get four Pitzer credits from any Pitzer approved study abroad program, but those courses may or may not satisfy the requirements for a specific major. You must have your study abroad courses approved for the major by the faculty in your major.
  • 7. Try to complete all your general education requirements before the end of your sophomore year.

    The requirements include one social justice theory course, one social responsibility praxis course, one written expression course, two humanities courses, two social science courses, one quantitative reasoning course, and one science course.

    Courses can double or even triple count across designated sections, but not within. You should also take some introductory courses in areas of a possible major. You can focus on your major requirements and other areas of interest during your last two years at Pitzer.

  • 8. Talk with your adviser about your summer plans.

    Talk with your adviser about your summer plans. Summer jobs, summer internships, summer research projects, summer fellowships. You should try to obtain an summer job/internship to explore possible career fields and develop career-related skills. You should be updating your resume, exploring and applying early for summer jobs and internships.

    The Career Services team is here to help you consider your interests, values, talents and goals and to plan for ways to put those into action. We encourage you to participate in the many workshops, alumni visits, company/organization information sessions, career fairs, and other events at Pitzer and The Claremont Colleges. After you settle into your classes, please schedule an individual conversation with a career advisor to get to know us and to think about what you might do this summer and beyond. You can schedule an individual conversation and explore all career-related events on Handshake.

    You should apply for some fellowships which target sophomores. You might think about the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, Boren Scholarship, Benjamin Gilman Scholarship, Congress-Budestag Youth Exchange, Critical Language Scholarship Program, Fulbright Commission: Summer Institutes, Mellon Mays, Humanity in Action, and/or the Morris Udall and Stewart Udall Scholarship. Sandy Hamilton can help you track down the most appropriate fellowships.

  • 9. Get involved on campus and in the community.

    Get involved in campus activities such as Clubs, PAct, Student Senate, and Varsity sports. Every year in the fall, there is a Pitzer Club Fair. Involvement will help you meet other students with simi interests, learn new skills, and help you feel more connected. This will help you develop your leadership skills, and look good on your resume. You should also visit the Community Engagement Center (CEC). The CEC supports Pitzer faculty, students, staff, and community partners in forwarding social responsibility and community engagement in surrounding communities through research, service, advocacy, and action.