The Sophomore Summer Experience
At Dartmouth, most sophomores are required to stay on-campus the summer following their second year. This term is known as "sophomore summer," but while it is a short and sweet phrase, explaining it to my friends and family back home has always been difficult. Let's break it down!
1. Who does "sophomore summer" apply to?
All domestic sophomores! Because of visa complications, international students may choose to opt out, as can domestic students in extenuating circumstances.
2. What happens during "sophomore summer?"
Affected students do not take a normal summer term off, but are obligated to take classes in the fourth quarter of the academic year (normally June through August).
Because sophomores are the only ones that are required to do classes during this time, it is typically a time when only sophomores are on-campus (de-densifying Dartmouth to only around 25% of the normal student population).
In a crazy world of conflicting D-plans, off-terms, and study abroad programs, sophomore summer is a great opportunity to reconnect with your class and see friends who you may haven't seen in a year. Many students report finding their "people" and really feeling at home during this time.
In addition, some people only take two courses this term instead of three, freeing up extra time for going to the Connecticut River, going on STRIPs (the sophomore version of Freshman-year trips), or exploring the Upper Valley. Whether it be going to the Norwich Farmers' Market, participating in the annual Prouty that the DHMC holds for cancer fundraising, or going star-gazing on the golf course, the weather in Hanover during the summer also makes it possible to do some really fun activities.
If you ever ask a Dartmouth student what their favorite term was, there is a large chance that it was sophomore summer!
3. When would I participate?
This term happens the fourth term of your second year at Dartmouth, so right when you are technically a "rising junior" at other schools. To replace the "off-term" that you lost, some students take off their junior winter to avoid the cold that takes over campus.
So there you have it! Some people have described Dartmouth during sophomore summer as feeling like a summer camp, and while there is definitely still work, I would agree that the general atmosphere is very laid-back in comparison to how it is normally. Sophomore summer is a great way to enjoy Hanover, Dartmouth, and your student experience in a different setting than you would get at any other college. I'm excited for when you get to experience it yourself!