Commitment to Sophomore Success
Freshman year is a time of new experiences and excitement, and students have hopefully formed many positive relationships with classmates and faculty through the Freshman Year Initiative (FYI) program at Lehman. The transition from freshman to sophomore year is a critical time for students as this presents a new period of exploration and an opportunity to solidify a sense of academic purpose. While this is an exciting time, sophomore year can also present some challenges.
Despite successful programming to increase freshmen retention at Lehman, many sophomore students experience great challenges including: (1) maintaining the grade point average (GPA) needed to remain in Lehman, (2) achieving the minimum GPA needed to enter desirable majors, (3) seeking and finding help when needed, (4) choosing a major by 45 credits, (5) finding a career of interest that is compatible with their skills and abilities, (6) balancing work and family with college, and (7) finding the financial resources to complete their baccalaureate degree in a timely manner.
The challenges that Lehman sophomores experience may be attributed to a variety of factors including a sense of personal and/or academic indecision as coursework becomes more demanding and students are faced with declaring a major. In addition to a period of indecision, many Lehman students are also working part or full-time jobs, caring for loved ones and/or dependents, managing personal relationships, and/or are the first in their families to attend college. Sometimes students can experience a “sophomore slump” when the pressures of indecision combine with pressures outside of school, which in turn can have a negative impact on students’ level of adjustment, commitment, and academic performance.
The “sophomore slump” phenomenon has been well researched. Lemons and Richmond (1987) define the sophomore slump as a “period of developmental confusion” and hypothesize that the “sophomore slump results from student’s struggles with achieving competence, desiring autonomy, establishing identity, and developing purpose.”
The SYI program will address these challenges and help students to overcome the “sophomore slump,” by providing direct support services including academic and career advisement, counseling, and tutoring support, as well as provide holistic programming focused on student persistence and success.