Analysis of last year’s continuing student survey confirmed what our ASC and Career Center colleagues already suspected, sophomores often face issues related to retention and success. “It’s an ‘in-between time’ where Sophomores are settled into campus, so the nerves and excitement have calmed down, but then they face the big questions of ‘what do I want to do with my life?’ Students also begin to take more challenging classes in their major and even realize they may not want to pursue the major they intended” says Anne Marie Roberts, Associate Director of Advising.
Continuing Student Survey data showed that Sophomores were:
- Less likely (than other classes) to agree that they have at least one faculty or staff member with whom they can talk about important things (40% disagreed, whereas other class levels averaged 22% disagreement);
- Less likely (than other classes) to have conversations with professors outside of class about their career plans (57% of sophomores disagreed whereas, other classes averaged 44% disagreement).
This is why something was created exclusively for sophomores, almost a VIP experience. The Sophomore Elevation Experience began as a credit-bearing class that lasted an entire semester with curricula that the career center and advising offices developed together around values exploration, identity development, career searching, academic majors, and having students make the connection between the liberal arts and their future.
The experience is rooted in the SPARK credit based course. It helps students get to know their own interests, abilities, values, and what they truly enjoy. They learn how to make a practical connection from those things to real world experiences and opportunities using their Liberal Arts Education as a base. In essence, students are asked the question, what is your SPARK? What lights you up and makes you want to change the world? Then they are guided along the way.