As we dive into a new year of ministry, and attempt to draw in the large class of incoming first-year students, might I suggest we consider offering something unique for Sophomores.
In a post last spring I talked about a phenomenon that those of us who work in higher education have come to know as The Sophomore Slump.
It typically consists of a lack of excitement about school (because the newness has worn off), a sense of feeling lost (in the sense that they should — as second year students — have a better idea of why they’re at college, as well as more direction about their future) and a little bit of a chip on their shoulder (whether they recognize it or not — because they were chased with opportunity upon opportunity as first-year students… and now nothing).
Now, I know that there are some of us who do provide intentionally designed programming for sophomores… but I know that many of us do not.
And the reality is that not all of us have the person-power to provide a wide-variety of niche opportunities… and that’s OK.
The biggest thing I think we can offer our Sophomores is an understanding that we get where they are.
We understand where they find themselves.
And it’s OK.
Being able to receive them, and consider their unique place within the university system, can go a long way.
It can shape how we converse with them.
How we train them as student leaders.
How we disciple them.
And if we do have the capacity to offer intentional programming and opportunities unique to Sophomores… then I definitely encourage us to do just that!
I mentioned in my post on The Sophomore Slump that we were in the process of hiring a Director of the Sophomore Year Experience — which we’ve now hired. This means that we don’t have to spearhead this effort, but need to look for intentional ways to come alongside this office and identify ways that we can partner and assist with what they are hoping to accomplish.
Again, I realize we all serve on different kinds of campuses, with different kinds of resources available to us (both internally and externally)…
But we all serve Sophomores… and need to consider how best we might be able to assist them during this important year on campus.
What do you think?
- Do you currently offer something specific for Sophomores? Where have you found success in this area?
- Is there a department on campus that currently focuses their efforts on Sophomores? Is there a way for you to partner with them?
- What do you believe to be the biggest challenge Sophomores face? How will you address that challenge in the coming year?
I invite you to share your wisdom, or offer up a question, in the comment section below.