How To Write Your Sophomore Paper (or Plan)

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

This was published in 2010 as a note on Facebook. Elizabeth is now a senior. We wanted to share it with ya’ll currently struggling through the Sophomore formerly-paper-now-plan process. Enjoy!

So, I put together a chart of what I wanted to take and wrote a three sentence introduction describing what I was majoring in. I thought I was done with my sophomore paper.

Then I discovered:

How to Write a Sophomore Paper

As a part of an application for a major, students are expected to prepare, with the assistance of their designated advisor, a reasoned plan for their last two years at Swarthmore. This paper is to be a thoughtful reflection of a student’s educational objectives (in the form of a 200-500 word essay) and should, therefore, include the following particulars:

(a) A description of the primary interests, purposes, and principles that organize the student’s program of study.

Questions to consider include:

Why have you chosen this major?
Cause I felt like it, that’s why.

What prior educational experiences have led you to this choice?
Well, let’s see, perhaps the prior courses I have taken in Latin and Physics.

What do you wish to learn in the next two years?
Please consult my handy chart of courses to take over the next two years and the course catalog.

How do you want to organize your learning experiences?
Again, look at the handy chart.

How do your curricular choices relate to each other?
They don’t. I’m majoring in Latin and Physics.

What choices have you made between depth and breadth?
I’m majoring in Latin and Physics. I own breadth and depth.

Are you planning to prepare for a graduate or professional school?
I mentioned in my three sentence introduction. I’m fulfilling the pre-med requirements.

Do you plan to study abroad and why?
No, because if I study abroad I won’t graduate.

Do you plan to make connections between community service or activism and your academic program? How?
No. I’m taking 4.5 credits every semester and more labs than I care to count. Leave me alone.

Do you intend to apply for the Honors Program?
Yes. Mentioned that in the three sentence introduction.


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