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|All Authors / Contributors:||Jimmie Gahagan; Mary Stuart Hunter|
Three decades of research and practice have demonstrated the power and importance of the experience of students who are making the transition from high school to college. Student persistence to the sophomore year and, ultimately, persistence to graduation are at stake. This recognition of the critical nature of the first year has motivated thousands of institutions around the world to provide a wide range of programs and services for new college students and fueled the movement to improve the quality of the first-year experience. Less well understood is the experience of students in their second year: a different and, at times, even more challenging period than the initial transition to college. In this article, the authors explore the current literature and institutional initiatives addressing the second-year experience. In particular, they outline difficulties in defining "sophomore," explore the unique challenges that sophomores face, and conclude with a set of recommendations and a call for action for institutions interested in improving the second-year experience of undergraduate students. (Contains 14 notes.)
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