Sophomore Class Notes

Now that you have a year of college behind you, you may be feeling more settled into the routine of your college life at Barnard. Sophomore year can be an exciting time. There are many choices before you and many more opportunities than were available to you as first year students. And there are decisions that you need to make—what major should I declare? does study abroad fit into my overall academic plans? where do I want to study abroad? what internships should I apply for? are there fellowships I might be interested in (see Fellowships link to the right)? The prospect of having to make these decisions can be overwhelming, but isn’t it better to have choices than not to have them at all?

Before you forge ahead to make these decisions, it is just as important to look back and reflect on the journey that you have traveled so far. It is likely that you have felt at least at some point over the course of the past year that you have never been so challenged before by the professors, as well as the students, and by the readings and writing assignments in your classes. Take the time to appreciate all that you have accomplished in just a year in college—all the new knowledge and skills that you have acquired during this short time and the growth that has already occurred in you. You may find the "Sophomore Self-Assessment" document to the right under Resources for Sophomore Students helpful as you reflect upon your first year and continue to explore your interests in the coming semesters.

Sophomore year is a time for you to take ownership of your academic study by declaring a major during the spring term. Deciding on an academic discipline based on an evaluation of your abilities and interests may not always be simple. However, there are many people at Barnard, including your class dean, who can engage you in constructive conversations that can help you to arrive at this decision. Both in the fall and spring semesters, each department or program will hold its own meeting to introduce you to the faculty and to apprise you of the major requirements as well as research and other opportunities within the department. I will also hold class meetings each semester. These meetings are a time when you will come together as a class to hear about some of the important tasks you need to accomplish this year and about how to apply for the many opportunities open to you. 

We have designed a "Sophomore Experience Program," a collaboration of different offices around the College, to help you make the most of your sophomore year. You should use this year to continue to explore your personal, academic and career interests. There are many of us within the College who can help guide you in this exploration, but you will need to play an active role—whether it's attending  programs specifically designed for sophomores or seeking the advice of faculty members, academic advisers, deans or others on and off campus. You won't know what will spark that interest or passion in you unless you put yourself out there and avail yourself of the many resources the College and the city have to offer. Come out for as many of the programs listed on the "Sophomore Calendar" as your schedule will allow. The time you take to attend these events will be time well spent.

I look forward to meeting many of you over the course of this year and to being on this exciting sophomore year journey with you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by email at or to make an appointment with me in the Dean of Studies Office, 105 Milbank Hall, by visiting my online calendar.

Christina Kuan Tsu
Sophomore Class Dean