what comes after freshman

What Comes After Freshman?

Freshman year, many students wonder if they’ll ever get it all figured out. Whether this year is a transition to high school or college, they’re in a new facility, surrounded by new people, and dealing with new rules. Navigating these complicated waters is a challenge for many individuals, but they’ll find that it’s a rewarding and fulfilling one that will help them succeed in their future academic endeavors. Following freshman year, however, many find themselves wondering simply, “What comes next?”


Following freshman year, students proceed to their sophomore year

Class Placement

Class placement is simple. Following freshman year, students proceed to their sophomore year, then junior year, then senior year. In most institutions, this isn’t just a matter of progressing smoothly from one year to the next. Students are also required to have a specific number of credit hours before they’re able to progress to the next level. In general, less than thirty credit hours is considered to be freshman rank, thirty to sixty is considered sophomore, sixty to ninety or so is junior level, and more than ninety is senior, but this may vary by institution.

Leaving Orientation Behind

At most institutions, whether high school or college, freshman year is about figuring out how to navigate the school setting. Classes are typically simple, intro-based classes. A full course schedule often includes orientation classes that are intended to teach students how to study, how to use the library, or how to take advantage of other resources offered by the school. As sophomore year approaches, that’s no longer the case. It’s assumed that students will know the basics and that they’ll be able to proceed appropriately. It’s important, as sophomore year approaches, to work with your adviser or guidance counselor to ensure that you’re familiar with everything you need to know and that you’re moving in the right direction.

Choosing Your Sophomore Course Schedule

Sophomore year, you’ll be able to take a full academic schedule. Depending on the classes you took freshman year, you may be able to move on to higher-level courses. Courses that had a prerequisite that you took during your freshman year are now options for your course schedule. Freshman year, most of your classes were likely basic or general education classes. Sophomore year, however, you’ll start to choose a more specific course of study.

Your sophomore year, whether in high school or college, you’ll need to choose the direction in which you intend to go for the rest of your academic path. For example, in high school, if there’s a course of study that you intend to complete, you’ll need to start taking the early classes in that subject so that you’ll be able to work your way through the full curriculum by graduation. This is particularly important if you’re planning to pursue a technical path or any series of courses that need to be taken in a particular order. Start asking yourself questions about your future. Do you want to take Theater IV by your senior year? Is it important to you to get take Spanish III or French IV? If you put off the early level classes for those subjects, you may have trouble fitting the later ones into your schedule.

If you’re in college, sophomore year is time to start thinking hard about your major. In many institutions, especially liberal arts schools, you can fill your freshman schedule with general education classes. When you reach your sophomore year, however, you need to start taking major classes so that you can collect the credits you need to graduate.

Odd Considerations and Your Classes

Some classes aren’t big enough for your high school or college to offer them every semester. Some classes are offered in the fall semester, while others are offered in the spring; others might only be offered every other year. It’s important to discuss those classes with your academic adviser or your guidance counselor so that you don’t miss out on the chance to take them. If they’re offered your sophomore year, you may not have the chance to take them again until you’re a senior–and that can be devastating to your academic plans.

Your sophomore year is also a great time to start thinking about whether or not you have plans to graduate early. If you’re in high school, you might consider the question of dual enrollment in both high school and college when you reach your senior year. While you don’t have to make these critical decisions now and plans can change throughout your academic process, knowing the direction in which you intend to go and pursuing the appropriate goals and classes can help you make critical decisions.

Progressing to your sophomore year is a milestone. You’re comfortable in your academic institution now. You understand the way things work, and you know which direction you’re going to take with your studies. It’s time to get serious, and you have the tools to do exactly that.