Second-Year Guide

Welcome to your second year, a great time to get involved in wholly new things and explore professional development.

Amp Up Involvement

Hopefully, your first year was full of great experiences—and probably some lessons learned, too. Your second year in your college is a terrific time to go deeper and begin to build your resume! You may be feeling secure in your academic footing at this point, or you may still be struggling. Either way, look at your second year as your chance to take your experience to the next level.

Students studying in classroom with laptops and paper on desks

Staying (or Getting) on Track

At the end of this year, you will be halfway to graduation! Now is the perfect time to do a self-audit: are you on track with your courses and degree plan, with your resume, with the experiences you want to cultivate during your four years at UT?

Set up an appointment with your advisor

Not sure what questions to ask? Here are some to get your started:

  • Am I making good progress on my degree plan, or is there a class I may need to pick up over summer to stay on track to graduate in four years?
  • Are there credits I still need to claim, or transcripts I need to submit from other institutions?
  • I’ve decided I want to study abroad. How can I fit that into my degree plan and stay on track for my four-year graduation? 
Declare a major by the end of your second year

It is also good to know what you can do with that major. Not sure where you’re headed with your major? Set up an an appointment with a CNS Career Coach to talk about your options.

Make a plan B

If you haven’t already, consider your parallel paths for career/graduate school/professional school goals. (For example, what’s your back-up plan if you’re not admitted to med school?) Never put all of your eggs in one basket; make sure you're diversifying your experiences appropriately so you can feel secure in your options no matter what happens.

Study abroad or plan to

Are you interested in studying abroad? Start exploring now and working with your academic advisor to fit time abroad into your four-year plan.

Ask for help if you’re struggling (academically or otherwise)!

It can feel intimidating, but asking for help is a good thing! We are here to help you, and we want you to be successful. Please tell someone when you are struggling. Who can you talk to? 

Social media check-up

Now that you are a second-year student, it’s time to begin thinking about your professional image.

  • How does your social media reflect your image?
  • Are you cultivating an online reputation you would feel comfortable with an employer seeing? (Chances are, they’ll look!)
  • Google yourself and see what comes up
  • Decide if there’s anything you need to change/adjust on your social media accounts
  • Familiarize yourself with the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts
  • Are you sure that the people you want can see your profile?
  • If there are things you’d like to keep private, make sure they are set to private

Did you know you can use social media to network and leverage professional opportunities?

  • Set up an account with LinkedIn
  • Have a professional looking head shot taken for your LinkedIn profile.
Professional development

Your second year is prime time to think about your resume and professional experiences. Find an opportunity to develop leadership on campus.

Career Coaches

This is a great time to review the Career Services website and meet with a Career Coach. Begin planning your steps to get to where you want to be after you walk off that stage at graduation. 

Not sure what questions to search for on the site or what to ask if you meet with a Career Coach? Here are some ideas to start:

  • How do I write a professional email?
  • How do I create meaningful relationships and build strong recommendations for future applications? 
  • I want to get an internship, but I’m not sure where to start.
  • What should I include on my resume? How do I start creating a resume? 
Health professions planning

Aiming to enter a health profession? We have an office for that!

  • Set up an appointment with a Health Professions Coach.
  • Discuss your prerequisite courses and everything else that comes along with being pre-health-professions.
  • Join the Health Professions Office email list so you never miss important information. 

Not sure what questions to ask if you meet with a Health Professions Coach or to look into on the Health Professions Office website? Here are some ideas to start: 

  • What will help on my applications? 
  • How does my overall competitiveness look right now, and where are areas that I can strengthen? 
  • How do I get involved in the kinds of extracurricular activities that will make me stand out?

Here are some great opportunities to get involved and plan for a future of your own making:

  • ENACTUS is a student organization focused on social problems through entrepreneurial action
  • Inventors Program gives you opportunities to try your hand at solving problems with teams.
  • Longhorn Startup Lab is open to UT students and hosted off campus at Capital Factory.
Leadership opportunities

If you’re already involved in a student org or the Austin community, consider planning an event for or taking on a leadership role with your organization. Here are some leadership opportunities happening around campus:

  • Leadership Workshop Series offers teams and groups professional development, leadership training and personal growth activities.
  • LeaderShape is a week-long leadership retreat. Though its hub is in the College of Engineering, CNS students are invited and encouraged to apply
Leadership as a volunteer
  • Alternative Breaks – Want fun and travel while tackling social issues? Check out Alternative Breaks!
  • The Project – Apply to be part of the event staff, as a team lead or as a committee member for UT Austin’s largest day of service.
Start or continue research

Some of you are or were already part of FRI (the Freshman Research Initiative), but did you know you can also apply to begin research after your first year? Check out the Accelerated Research Initiative! If you weren’t in FRI, but you want to get involved in research and can commit to a 6-8 week research internship over summer, you can start your second year in ARI! Also Eureka is a database that houses information on all kinds of research happening across campus. Explore some areas of interest and see what’s out there!

Get involved

Our most successful students tell us that some of their best memories of UT involve trying something outside of their comfort zone.

During your first year you were placed into a small learning community, and hopefully you made some lasting connections from that experience. During your second year, you have the opportunity to strengthen or build your sense of community at UT, so don’t be afraid to try something new!

Not sure how to find a community? Here are some places to start exploring: 

Take ownership of your experience

If your academics are going well, what else can you get involved with that will help you broaden your experience? If your academics are not going as well as you had hoped, set that appointment with your academic advisor or a career coach to talk about where you are and how to get to the destination you have in mind. No destination in mind yet? Start that conversation today and navigate your experience!