Universities Looking at Ways to Curb the ‘Sophomore Slump’

Universities Looking at Ways to Curb the ‘Sophomore Slump’

GREENVILLE, S.C.

      Universities are looking at ways to curb the “sophomore slump.”

      A panel of experts from around the nation attended a forum last week at the University of South Carolina that was broadcast to 138 schools across the country, including nearby Clemson University.

      Clemson is studying sophomore needs, and new programs geared to help second-year students could be introduced as early as this fall, says Flora Riley, director of Clemson’s Michelin Career Center.

      USC extended its much-praised University 101 program for freshmen to University 201 for sophomores and transfer students several years ago.

      The second-year program focuses on academic challenges and the depth of thinking and performance required for college students to succeed in their fields, says Dan Berman, who directs academic programs for USC’s National Resource Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transition.

      “The sophomore year is the invisible year,” says Mary Stuart Hunter, director of the USC center. “They’re not in their major; most of the time they aren’t doing internships; they aren’t as engaged as they are in their freshman year or their junior or senior year. It is an area that needs attention.”

      A growing number of schools are looking at similar programs.

      A third of nearly 400 four-year schools that responded to a 2005 center survey have some kind of initiative geared specifically toward sophomores, and another third are developing some kind of sophomore program, says Brad Cox, who conducted the center’s research.

      Students say that help can be important.

      “There’s not really a whole lot of that available to sophomores, at least not as readily as to freshmen,” says Clemson University sophomore Ben Drechsler of Clover. Drechsler says he “knew what to expect as a sophomore” but has friends “who didn’t quite put all the pieces together.”

      — Associated Press



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