University of Wisconsin–Madison

Second Year: Transitioning to Junior Year

The best advice often comes from our students. Below are some suggestions and tips based on reflections of current students. While every student’s transition is unique, it can be helpful to talk with your student about their goals and expectations for the coming year.

  • Students often report that their intended major is an important part of their identity. For many students, entering their junior year means taking more classes in their major. If your student is still deciding on a major, suggest connecting with the Cross-College Advising Service (CCAS), a resource designed to provide academic advising and facilitate career development for undergraduates who are exploring majors and careers. CCAS includes the Career Exploration Center, and together they serve UW–Madison across all eight undergraduate schools and colleges.
  • Encourage your student to take advantage of the opportunities offered by specific schools and colleges, such as events, career fairs, and career advising.
  • Some students may find they have more time commitments and continue to work on time management. Building up a résumé and looking for internships may sometimes feel like another class. Encourage your student to take advantage of wellness resources offered by University Health Services and the campuswide UWell program, and time-management resources from the Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS).
  • Some students report taking a more active role in student organizations and as leaders on campus during their junior year. This often strengthens a student’s connection to the university and fosters friendships. There are nearly 1,000 organizations that students can choose from, or they can create their own.
  • Students also shared that they found themselves making more decisions in their junior year. Empower students to make decisions by supporting their interests and encouraging them to take advantage of campus resources. An advising appointment is a great place for your student to start.
  • Encourage students to find their niche on campus, whether that’s through a student organization, campus job, or volunteer work. It’s important to have an outlet and a community.
  • Because of increased involvement opportunities and connections to campus, many students say that they feel more like a campus role model as juniors. One student said, “I would tell students coming into their junior year that they shouldn’t be afraid to share their ideas and make an impact on campus. Junior year has been a great time for me to reflect on my leadership experiences and identify the things that I still want to do before I graduate.”