Norfolk State University Newsroom  



  NSU Program Reaches Out to Sophomores

(NSU NEWSROOM--Dec. 18, 2013)--The Spartan Success Center is proactively working to retain sophomore students through its Sophomore Year Experience (SYE) program.

According to Sheryll Heard, SYE coordinator, second year students often experience what’s called the “sophomore slump”—a time that students are often confused and overwhelmed.

During sophomore year, students are asked to declare their majors, find internships and make decisions about studying abroad. When these new expectations are combined with other stress factors, students may fall into the sophomore slump.

SYE is designed to provide innovative and intrusive academic advising, connect students to campus resources and develop programs that guide them toward declaring a major. Sophomores are encouraged to meet with their academic advisers and to develop relationships throughout the campus community. All of these efforts are meant to help sophomores stay enrolled, progress and reach graduation.

So far, the SYE program has held a “Welcome Back Sophomore Celebration,” followed by an academic skills seminar in September; a majors fair in October; and is holding bi-weekly academic skills sessions and a speaker series throughout the semester. Heard said that an SYE focus group made up of students who have diverse backgrounds, classifications, majors, genders and campus involvement, is providing data about the program’s efforts. The group meets monthly and SYE will use its data to plan and implement future sophomore programs.

“We are also partnering with many organizations on campus because research shows that it takes the entire campus to respond to the needs of our sophomores,” said Heard.

While any sophomore can take advantage of the program, this first year has more than 100 students who are participating in the pilot. One of the factors that will help determine how well the program is working is the term-to-term retention, year-to-year retention, good academic standing and sophomores declaring majors.

“Sophomores want to talk about their lives and future goals,” said Heard. “It is important that we provide opportunities for them to hear from former students that have traveled this path,” she said. “Everyone has a story and they are not all the same nor are they perfect.

This gives our students an opportunity to perhaps think about other possible choices while building strong relationships that promote success.”

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