Tales From the Slump: Perceived Barriers to Sophomore Student Success

Victoria L Martin, Fayetteville State University


Concerns about sophomores' success seemingly date back to 1956 when Freedman was credited with coining the phrase “sophomore slump." Despite the continuous research on the sophomore student experience, there continues to be an apparent disconnect between the sophomore student experience and what resources are needed to help them successfully navigate their sophomore year. This research study explored the sophomore student experience across various higher education institutional types (i.e., The participants were drawn from public and private HBCUs, PWIs, MSIs) to determine what experiences created barriers and contributed to success over the sophomore slump. The researcher used the Martin-Moffett Model of Phenomenological and Descriptive Statistical Analysis to explore the sophomore experiences. Specially, the experiences from voluntary participants who met the criteria of having graduated from college and enrolled in a 4-year college after graduation, consecutively completed their first and second year of college at one institution within the University System in the Southeastern region in the USA, a selected Private PWI with aver SIB endowment and a Research 1 Carnegie Classification, and selected Private HBCUs with Research 1 or Research Intensive Carnegie Classification were collected. The data collection considered the demographic variables from the lived experiences of the participants for the purpose of analyzes from responses to the instrument items. The researcher identified the following themes: trust vs. mistrust, sophomore slump: internally or environmentally motivated, perceived barriers to sophomore success (expectations versus reality of the sophomore experience, the advisee and advisor relationship, and the value of the student/faculty relationship), and the impact of C0V1D-19 on the sophomore slump. To combat the sophomore slump, institutional policies and practices related to academic advising, faculty engagement, the incorporation of external support systems, and the long-term impact of CO VID-19 on students that were in their sophomore year during COVID-19 or were entering their sophomore year during COVID-19. Additionally, the research study identified student athletes whose response suggest an expansive study that has longitudinally application should be conducted on the application of the Martin- Moffett Model for Student Success before and after the sophomore year. Further research is proposed that can be used with Student athletes and other professional students for at least the next 5 years after graduation and eligibility for NCAA participation.

Subject Area

Higher education|Educational leadership|Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Martin, Victoria L, "Tales From the Slump: Perceived Barriers to Sophomore Student Success" (2021). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI28943446.