Sophomore Experience

In their second year, students begin infusing their education with real-world experience and professional connections, through a required service or research project, internship, practicum, study abroad or other experiential opportunity. This opportunity enables students to explore career possibilities, make connections with practitioners in a chosen fields, or develop projects they are passionate about. Students must complete this requirement in the second year, as early as the summer before the second year at Wheaton through the summer after the second year.  A student’s MAP Advisor will certify completion of the Sophomore Experience requirement.

Here are the Learning Objectives for the Sophomore Experience (SE):

  • Examine how professionals in the private, public, or non-profit sectors approach problems, and practice these approaches themselves;
  • Apply elements of the liberal arts to tasks and activities within the SE;
  • Take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results, consistent with professional practice, and
  • Practice interpersonal skills and verbal and nonverbal communication in everyday social and professional exchanges.

Options for completing the Sophomore Experience

  • experiential courses offered each semester
  • internships, sustained volunteer/service learning not associated with a course
  • on-campus experiences (learning, leadership, employment)

Students can work with their MAP Advisor, faculty, Career Services staff, major advisor, Student Success Advisor and other mentors to determine the best option for them and their future goals.

Course Options

Each semester, departments and programs will offer course options with integrated experiential learning. 

  • Courses will be tagged as “SE” for Sophomore Experience.
  • Search the Course Schedule for Compass:Sophomore Experience under Attributes to find the list of courses.
  • Ask your major/program departments what SE courses they might offer for your area of study

Off-Campus Experiences

Students may complete the SE requirement through an internship or sustained volunteer/service experience not affiliated with a course.

  • Experiences must be at least 60 hours long and include clear learning goals agreed to by the supervisor outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
  • MAP Advisors will review and approve these MOUs prior to the student beginning.
  • Students will send an email connecting experience supervisor and MAP advisor to confirm satisfactory completion of the experience.
  • We encourage students considering this option to reach out to Career Services for support in their off-campus experience search.

Approved On-Campus

Some on-campus experiences that meet the learning goals of Sophomore Experience, such as student employment opportunities, research with faculty members, and more, will be pre-approved to count toward the requirement.

  • These experiences will not need a Memorandum of Understanding or pre-approval by your MAP advisor.

Examples: Dialogue Facilitator with the Marshall Center, Collections and Curatorial Assistants with the Permanent Collection, Social Entrepreneurship Launch Program

Process for Approval and Verification

Students will send an email connecting experience supervisor and MAP advisor to confirm satisfactory completion of the experience.

We encourage students considering this option to reach out to Career Services for support in their off-campus experience search.

Verifying your experience is complete

At the close of your off-campus or on-campus experience: EACH STUDENT is responsible for providing their MAP Advisor with proof of completion of the experience (typically an email from THE STUDENT that includes both site supervisor and MAP Advisor stating the experience is complete).

Important: This step is critical to ensure that the requirement is completed for notation on the student record.

Knowing Sophomore Experience is COMPLETE on your student record:

  • Courses Tagged as “SE” for Sophomore Experience
    • Course will appear as completing the Sophomore Experience and will display on your DegreeWorks audit.
  • For Off-Campus and On-Campus experience options
    • A notation will be made on your DegreeWorks audit recording the Sophomore Experience as completed.