1. Research the various study abroad programs.
A wonderful part of the college experience is the opportunity to study in an international environment. Want to study in Europe, South America or Africa? Speak to your academic adviser to budget your semesters accordingly. Also, check out the Annenberg International Programs and Dornsife Overseas Studies websites for more information.
2. Take a gym class.
Sitting in lecture halls for hours every day isn’t healthy. Biking ten minutes from your apartment to class isn’t enough, so sign up for a gym class at the Lyon Center or add a gym class to your schedule to get credit.
3. Get a summer internship.
It might be unpaid, but a summer internship allows you to use your learned skills in real life. If it’s unpaid, take an internship credit class at a community college to save money. If it’s paid, you lucked out! If you’re an Annenberg major, contact Annenberg Career Development for assistance. All other majors will need to contact the USC Career Center, which is also an option for Annenberg majors.
6. Join a school organization that is geared toward your major or emphasis.
It’s cool to take things slow your freshman year, but it’s time to settle in during sophomore year. If you’re considering law school, join a pre-law fraternity. If you’re a journalism major, join Neon Tommy, Annenberg Radio News, or Annenberg TV News.
7. Make friends with a former professor.
Go to office hours. Keep in contact with former professors. Send holiday notes to your favorite ones. Chances are you’ll need a couple of them for letters of recommendation at some point.
8. Work toward a leadership position in a club you joined during freshman year.
If you put enough time and commitment into club activities, you can work your way up the ranks. By junior or senior year, you might just be president. Show initiative and your peers will notice. Start early, get ahead.
9. Consider pursuing a progressive degree.
If you don’t mind stacking your classes, you might want to consider a progressive degree. The idea is to save a year and some money by starting your master’s degree during senior year of undergrad. It’s a lot of work and it isn’t for everyone, but it’s worth checking out.
10. Clear out your GE classes.
By the end of sophomore year, you should be just about done with your General Education classes. Getting rid of those classes early into your college experience helps in case you want to switch majors or just aren’t sure what your interests are quite yet. At least you won’t be halfway into a major you decide you longer want to finish.
11. Stay focused.
It might be “just sophomore year,” but don’t think you can slack off until things get serious in junior year. Don’t let your grades slip. Show up to every lecture. Keep up with your class readings. Your GPA is counting on you.