Meeting Your Sophomore Advisees

It is recommended that you meet with, or contact, each of your sophomore advisees three times during the fall term and the spring term: (1) at the beginning of the term (during add/drop period), (2) at the midterm, (3) and at the end of the term (during the preregistration/advising period):

Your first FALL-term meeting will be dedicated to reviewing the previous year and summer updates; their ideas about choosing possible areas of concentration or major; their extracurricular interests; and other topics of interest. Your advisees will also want to discuss any prospective changes to their schedule (adding or dropping courses for which they had preregistered) . This meeting is best held in the opening days of the fall term, but some sophomores are ready to meet as early as the end of August (if that also fits your schedule). 

Your second FALL-term meeting  will take place around the midterm and will be a check-in meeting during which you may follow up on any issues raised during the first meeting, answer questions that have arisen since then, check in about their general wellbeing, and mention that you will contact them at least once more for the third and final meeting of the fall term, during the preregistration/advising period at the end of the term. See Advising at the Midterm and End-of-Term for more detailed information.

Your third FALL-term meeting  will be dedicated to following up on any issues raised during the first two meetings, answering questions that have arisen since the midterm and checking in about their wellbeing, and reviewing their  ideas for course selection for the spring term. See Advising at the Midterm and End-of-Term for more detailed information.

Your first SPRING-term meeting will take place shortly after school reconvenes after Winter Recess. Your goals include helping students reflect on the fall term, and discuss any courses they intend to add to, or drop from, their spring course schedule. The first spring-term advising meeting is not too early to bring up summer plans, as many applications for summer courses or internships take place between January and March.

While sophomores are encouraged to contact their advisers, you may find that they are late to do so and you may end up emailing them, using the information in Student Profile, to set up your advising meetings. Your preparation for those meetings might consist of a review of your advisees’ fall-term grades (and, with regard to grades, it’s important to keep in mind that some students may consider, say, a C as a “failing” grade, while others may be relieved to have done “so well”). It’s useful to ask your advisees what they thought of their fall grades, before issuing any statements of your own.

Your second SPRING-term meeting will fall at the midterm will include a review the spring term so far; a new inquiry about their ideas for a concentration or major (now that they have one-and-a-half years under their belts); their extracurricular interests; and their plans for the summer. 

Your last SPRING-term meeting will fall towards the end of spring term period and serves to help your advisees recap and review their sophomore year. Nearly all sophomores declare a major by the end of their sophomore spring, so this may be your final meeting with your sophomore advisees (once they declare a major, the DUS or the DUS’s designee becomes their adviser).


Your goals for the spring-term meetings include helping students process their previous experiences at Yale, think about summer activities in a timely manner, and finalize a spring course schedule based on a realistic assessment of preparation and goals. (Click here for an expanded discussion of the Goals of Spring-term Sophomore Advising). You might care to review their information in Student Profile to refresh your memory about their geographic, personal, and academic background.  You will also want to look up their fall grades and ask their assessment of their courses and their performance in them.

You will want to help undecided students plan a schedule that begins to zero in on their choice of a major, while referring students with specific departmental interests to directors of undergraduate studies, your colleagues in other departments, or to residential college deans. Do not hesitate to refer students with specific questions about distributional requirements, acceleration, and premedical requirements to their dean (if you are not able to answer them yourself).

Striking a Balance

Your advisees may need you to help them appreciate the need to strike a balance between academic commitments and extracurricular opportunities. In some cases, this will mean asking whether they have gotten themselves overly involved in clubs and activities; in others, it will simply mean asking whether they intend to maintain the same level of activity. While all of our students juggle complicated schedules, it’s common for sophomores to find that the strategies they used to manage their time as first-years don’t work well in their sophomore year. You can help them think about new ways to approach their work load that may be more appropriate. In other cases, you will need to help your advisees avoid overly ambitious course loads.  The time management workshops offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning may be especially helpful for such students.

Advisers outside of STEM fields matched with STEM-intentioned students may interpret those students’ schedules as overly ambitious.  In many cases, however, STEM majors require certain set course sequences or combinations of courses. It is particularly important that sophomores considering a STEM major continue (or, in some cases, begin) the appropriate course sequences during the sophomore year. 

For Advisers to Prospective STEM Majors

If you are a non-STEM faculty member and your advisees have now determined they will major in a STEM field, you have two choices: 1) continue to advise them while insisting they also meet with the DUS of the relevant department; or 2) suggest your advisees submit a Change-of-Adviser Form to their residential college dean designating the DUS of their intended major as their new sophomore adviser.

Promotion to Junior Standing

To be promoted to junior standing after four terms of enrollment, a student must have earned at least sixteen course credits or the equivalent and is expected to have fulfilled the distributional requirements for the sophomore year (students must have enrolled for at least one course credit in each of the three disciplinary areas — Hu, Sc, and So — and for at least one course credit in each of the three skills categories — language, QR, and WR — by the end of the fourth term of enrollment).