College administrators, faculty, and parents place a lot of emphasis on the transition to college and the first-year experience. We all know that these new college students, and their parents, will be undergoing a tremendous change in their lives as they enter the world of college. Colleges run orientation programs, offer special classes and seminars for first-year students, communicate with these new students with encouragement and reminders, and often have a “let it go” attitude when new students make mistakes or miss deadlines.
Once students complete that tumultuous first year of college, they face sophomore year and the changes that it brings. Our sophomore students need just as much support from home, even though that need may be less obvious. As college parents, we can help our sophomore students realize that the concept of sophomore slump really does exist.
What is sophomore slump?
Sophomore slump refers to the phenomenon in which a second effort fails to live up to the quality of a first effort. The term is also used in sports (for second year players) and in music (for second recordings by an artist). At college, students in their second, or sophomore, year often experience both a let-down and a decrease in their grades. If the word sophomore means “wise fool,” it is an accurate description of how many second year students feel: they aren’t sure whether they feel wise or foolish at any given moment.
Why does sophomore slump happen?
There are several things that occur during the second year of college that can contribute to the slump that sophomores may encounter. These are especially troubling if your student is unprepared for the differences during this year of college. Parents and students need to understand the ways in which this year is different from that first year of college.