Wartburg feels ‘sophomore slump’

More students in their sophomore year of college have less interest and desire to excel in their academic studies compared to their freshmen year, also known as “the sophomore slump,” according to a new article by The New York Times.

Dr. Edith Waldstein, vice president for enrollment management, agreed college students may struggle going into their sophomore year but looks at the process as a transitional phase instead of a “slump.”

As defined by urbandictionary.com, it is when a sophomore student fails to live up to the ideals of their first year in college academically.

“What happens in the second year, is that the shock of the first year is over,” Waldstein said. “But many second-year students still aren’t feeling settled enough in terms of where they’re headed and their academic planning.”

According to a report by the Education Advisory Board in 2012, six percent of students at state colleges leave in their sophomore year.

Additionally, a survey in 2012 by the firm Noel-Levitz says a fourth of sophomores reported not feeling “energized” by their classes or living on campus.

Waldstein said while the study results may show the sophomore slump is becoming more common nationally, it only reflects on Wartburg’s retention rates to a certain degree.

“Some will give up, step out or think the grass is greener on the other side,” Waldstein said.

“Interestingly enough, often times when that happens, they end up coming back to Wartburg.”

The overall retention rate from the fall term in 2012 to this year is 88 percent for the entire student body, the site said.

In terms of the freshmen to sophomore year retention rate, the school reported it at 81 percent.

Second-year student Angela Zook said she doesn’t believe she has experienced a “sophomore slump” but said she’s seen the phenomenon in action.

Zook currently majors in psychology with minors in communications arts and leadership.

“I know people who have experienced it,” she said. “Yes, classes get harder but that is expected. It differs from person to person. Some people go into a major with a certain expectation and then change their mind.”

First-year student Alex Gheysens said he never heard of a “sophomore slump” until his first year in college. However, he hopes it does not happen to him.

Gheysens has not declared a major yet and plans to make his decision by the next school year.

“I was always actually expecting that sophomore year would be a little easier than freshmen year because you get used to the entire college system, learn to plan and make your priorities,” Gheysens said. “I thought sophomore year would be the better version of freshmen year.”

To better prepare for sophomore year, Waldstein encourages students to take advantage of using the resources available at the college such as going to the Pathways Center, building a relationship with your academic adviser and getting involved in other activities.

“It’s developmental,” Waldstein said.
“This is the time where students want to be focusing on what the best major is for them.”

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