Students Choose Soph. Standing

Eligible 2010s Gain Exploratory Option, Lose ABC-No Record

This year, 111 of the 187 students eligible for attaining sophomore standing chose to do so, a two percent increase from last year. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was the most declared course by students in this group.

Among these 111 students, 88 declared their major and 23 remained undeclared. The three top departments represented among students who declared their major were EECS (Course VI) with 22 students, Mathematics (Course XVIII) with 18 students, and Chemical Engineering (Course X) with 11 students.

“These numbers have been consistent with past years,” said Julie B. Norman, director of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming. Almost every year, she said, 80 percent of those students who declare sophomore standing choose their major and a large percentage of those students remain declared with that major. In 2006, of 165 eligible students, 95 accepted sophomore standing. Refer to the table for more details on past sophomore standing numbers.

“Many students come to MIT well-prepared and in a position to move forward,” Norman said. “From our perspective, we continue to emphasize that if students have a good idea of what they want to major in, it is a good idea to declare early sophomore standing.” Declaring early sophomore standing allows students to immediately engage with faculty within their major of interest, interact with upperclassmen earlier, start an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and reaffirm that their major is the right choice for them, according to Norman.

Andrea E. Robles ’10 was offered sophomore standing but declined, saying she was unsure of a major and was in no hurry to go ahead as a sophomore.

“I enjoy being a freshman,” said Robles, who praised the ABC-No record system. “Some people in my seminar [advising group] took sophomore standing … but my first term didn’t go so great.

For those who accept sophomore standing, the freshman credit limit does not apply.

“I wanted to do a UROP,” said Robles, “but could only apply for three units due to the freshman credit limit even though I do about thirteen hours of work a week.”

“We always push that the reason to take sophomore standing should not be to exceed the freshman credit limit,” Norman said.

She explained that there is nothing wrong for a student to not declare his or her major until sophomore year, as this allows more time to engage and explore. “These students can use the flexibility they have in their schedule to explore more.”

Sophomore standing is a program that allows freshmen, who have completed at least one quarter of their degree requirements by the end of the fall term, the option of becoming sophomores at the beginning of the spring term, according to the Class of 2010 Web site. These students may declare a major and begin working with their advisors, have no credit limit, are graded with the full A-F range, and may designate one of their subjects as exploratory.

In late November, the Registrar’s office determines the potentially eligible freshmen, assuming successful completion of the first term. In early December, Norman offered the option of sophomore standing to eligible students in writing. The deadline for accepting sophomore standing this year was March 9.