Overview of Sophomore Year

Over the course of the year, the school counselors will continue to work with sophomores to assist in the success of the student. To find out more about the schedule planned for the sophomore year, please read below.

First Semester

Sophomores will meet individually with their counselor starting in November. This meeting will:

  • help them continue their process of self-discovery
  • set goals
  • develop strategies for this challenging year of transition in their lives

Since performance in sophomore year classes has a bearing on curriculum options available in junior and senior years, sophomores need to reflect carefully on their study habits, time-management, and priorities.

Opportunities to enroll in junior classes such as AP English and AP Physics, to name a few, hinge upon very solid student performance in sophomore year courses. Setting goals for each sophomore course and specifying what needs to be done to attain these goals will be an important topic of this individual conference.

Equally important is your son's personal, social and co-curricular development:

  • Counselors will ask students to reflect on their lives in each of these areas and to set goals in these areas as well.
  • Feeling connected here at SLUH is critical to student success. This meeting allows your son to fill his counselor in on what he has been involved in and allows student and counselor to explore together other opportunities for involvement.
  • In some instances, young men need to learn to prioritize, or even cut back in some areas so that they do not become over-extended.

Also, since junior year is the year that college admission testing begins, the sophomores will take the PSAT.

Second Semester

In February, sophomores will have a class meeting lead by the Assistant Principal for Academics and department chairs, where they will hear about their options for courses next year.

Each sophomore will need to make an appointment with his counselor to discuss his course requests. The requests will be entered on special forms, which will require both parent and student signatures. The actual student schedule will be determined during the summer.

Regarding honors, advanced, and AP courses, it is usually best for a student to take the most challenging courses offered to him that the student, parents, and teacher feels he will do well in. Sometimes, this may result in a student taking three or four advanced courses. These courses are a way of placing your son with students who are similar in motivation and ability. Call the counselor if you have questions.

Summer Options

Summer brings an opportunity to live differently from the regular school routine. While it can be a time for rest or for physical activity, it is surely a time to explore possibilities outside of a classroom that could introduce or take a student to a deeper level of an area of interest. These could involve independent reading or writing, the arts, research, employment, career shadowing, travel, and service. Student Support Services receives literature on many opportunities and will post them on the website. We are also eager to discuss these programs with students, including courses, workshops and career-exploration seminars. These summer programs vary in length from one week to full six to eight-week college credit courses. Costs also vary a great deal.

Many students will be taking summer classes at SLUH, to make the school year schedule work better for them, and many are involved in athletic camps. It is hoped that the historically restorative nature of summer is not lost in the continuous flow of activity. Young people flourish on a breadth of activity and on the time to rest and to reflect on their experiences.

Recommendations for Sophomore Parents

Managing Homework

You should expect your son to have consistently more homework than freshman year! Two hours of work each night could be considered a rough minimum, with three hours per night more the norm. That's about 30 minutes per subject per night.

Many of your sons will have difficulty organizing themselves effectively. Since sophomore teachers tend to place more responsibility on the students for keeping up on daily assignments, many sophomores put off their work until they can no longer catch up.

Should your son allow himself to fall victim to this trap, you need to be careful in how you intervene. Ask him to set up a plan which he thinks will work. Have him establish some way to insure that he is keeping up. Talk about how he thinks you might be helpful. Then listen! If this does not seem to work, call your son's counselor, before you display your frustration as anger and try to "motivate" by punishing.

Study Habits

We advise parents to expect to see their sons squirming under the increase in the quantity and depth of material to be learned in sophomore year. There is usually some resistance to assigned homework, but mostly there is little expectation or understanding of the regular review that would reduce the strain before tests and quizzes.

Note-taking skills for reading and lecture material are essential. Sophomores are likely to have little by way of skill or habit in this regard. While Global History teachers try to make these skills a focus, sophomores tend not to see these skills as applicable anywhere else in the curriculum, when they are not expressly told to do so. Your most supportive stance is often one of pacing, as a partner, rather than supervising from a distance. This may be needed to get new habits started.

Sophomores want to be independent, but may lack the needed competence in skills or organization that would make them truly self-sufficient in matters of academic performance. Those who lack such competence are also likely to fear adult involvement as a threat to independence and to their much-needed, "front" of competency.

One way to start is to let them know that they are not expected to have acquired the skill or capacity already and that they simply need to be "groomed" into discipline and success, as we were.

  • Try having them teach you what they learned from a book or lecture, in a class where their performance is an issue.
  • You could also remind them that they could rewrite their notes, condensing them onto review sheets.

Those who have tried these methods are reporting greater satisfaction, not only grade-wise, but also in their relationships at home and school.

Dealing with Frustration and Disappointment

Please call your son's counselor, if you are anxious about your son's performance. Remember that they do not need punishment or threats, but concrete plans in how to work more effectively.

Certainly, many students will have to make some difficult choices and may try to blame you or the system for putting them in such a bind, but calmly focus on helping them to come up with a strategy that works, not on what pleasurable activities he might need to curtail.

Sometimes, students get unnerved by a lack of immediate success and may be losing hope. Your anger and frustration may only compound the pressure.

If you would like some assistance in this, we are eager to meet with you.

Issues of Drugs and Alcohol

Many students are just beginning to broaden or deepen social connections. The issue of using alcohol or other drugs, in order to escape the pressure and disappointment, or to fit in with a particular group, often begins at this point. All SLUH students have to make a decision on this issue. The more hospitable you are to discussing the inevitability and complexity of the choice, rather than preaching dictums, the more likely you are to have balanced and open responses.

Again, we would be happy to be of assistance.