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Complexities in Understanding the Experience of Sophomore Students Presented by: Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. University of Dayton.

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Presentation on theme: "Complexities in Understanding the Experience of Sophomore Students Presented by: Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. University of Dayton."— Presentation transcript:

1 Complexities in Understanding the Experience of Sophomore Students Presented by: Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. University of Dayton

2 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Our Time Together □ A developmental model to understand the sophomore year. □ A look at the range of issues facing sophomores at different types of institutions. □ An opportunity to prioritize issues on our own campus. □ A look at possible approaches.

3 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Stages of the Sophomore Year Schaller (2005) Stages have tone and content Students may experience multiple stages at one time Major content areas: Relationships, Self, Academics □ Random Exploration: exuberance, lack reflection □ Focused Exploration: frustration, reflection begins □ Tentative Choices: relief, some lingering anxiety – action begins □ Commitment: confidence

4 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Random Exploration (often seen in first year) □ Traditional Students: □ Peer relationships – □ Students often dramatically expand their communities to include many different types of people (Parks, 2000). □ Self or behavior – □ Expanding notion of what is appropriate or acceptable □ Academics – □ Inability to balance time demands, unfocused

5 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Random Exploration □ Financial Issues □ short term or limited view of the financial impact facing the student (use of credit or loans, denial of the end of first year aid) □ Developmental Education □ not facing major or academic issues in ways to prepare for major choice □ Transfer Preparation □ because of survival mode, are not considering transfer options

6 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Transition Theory □ Transition into college has been completed. □ This transition is primarily external. □ Bridges (1980) calls this first step of transition the “Ending Process.” □ Services are frontloaded to assist in the transition in to college. □ Sophomores begin to experience the “Neutral Zone.”

7 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 “Neutral Zone” (Bridges, 1980) □ Period of great insight. □ Sophomores have gathered a good deal of new information about self, peers, the world. □ Loevinger (1976) called this the “conscientious” stage as students come to be self-evaluative, self-critical, responsible.

8 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Stages of the Sophomore Year Schaller (2005) Stages have tone and content Students may experience multiple stages at one time Major content areas: Relationships, Self, Academics □ Random Exploration: exuberance, lack reflection □ Focused Exploration: frustration, reflection begins □ Tentative Choices: relief, some lingering anxiety – action begins □ Commitment: confidence

9 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Focused Exploration □ Traditional Students: □ Relationships – □ become aware of the disconnect that exists between self and other, search for new ways to be in relationship or new relationships □ Self – □ identify frustrations with self and past decision making, yearn for finding ways to feel good about self and future □ Academics – □ pressure begins to build so students become active in the decision making process

10 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Focused Exploration □ Financial Issues – □ Pressure of finances increases and relates to academic choice/major selection □ For some becomes reason to drop out □ Quarter versus semester? □ Relationships – □ Changes in home and balancing demands of school – particularly spouse and children □ Expectations of those who are not college educated

11 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Focused Exploration □ New Definition of Self □ Dramatic change from past notion – both liberating and frightening □ May be more able to identify failures with few successes – doors closing with few opening

12 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Stages of the Sophomore Year Schaller (2005) Stages have tone and content Students may experience multiple stages at one time Major content areas: Relationships, Self, Academics □ Random Exploration: exuberance, lack reflection □ Focused Exploration: frustration, reflection begins □ Tentative Choices: relief, some lingering anxiety – action begins □ Commitment: confidence

13 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Tentative Choices □ Traditional Students: □ Relationships □ Begin to define “healthy relationships” and select accordingly OR settle for what is available □ Self □ Find clarity about self, begin to align behavior with values or views of self □ Academics □ Make a decision and begin to feel good about that or those choices

14 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Tentative Choices □ Relationships at home □ Become comfortable with changes that “must be made” for self survival □ Self as Successful □ If are committed to academics develop clarity about ability and are thus renewed □ Academics □ Quick move to TC because of limited (perceived) choices □ Pressure of $, success or ability can all cause this quick move

15 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Random Exploration Focused Exploration Tentative Choices Commitment First Year Range Sophomore Year Range Junior and Senior Year Range

16 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Random Exploration Focused Exploration Tentative Choices Commitment First Year Range Sophomore Year Range Academics What are the implications of a quick move to tentative choices, especially in relationship to academic/major selection?

17 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Application to Your Work □ What are the range of issues facing your students? □ How do you begin to prioritize them? □ How does that prioritization play a part in program design or outreach?

18 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Programming □ Sophomore programs must be based on assessment of your students’ needs and experiences. □ ALL programs should have academic, career development and personal development components □ MANY programs should have financial aid components

19 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. Students In Transitions Conference, 2006 Some Lessons □ In the CC setting, calling self a “sophomore” can be a powerful label. □ In light of developmental education, helping students maintain energy may be very important. □ Transfer preparation cannot wait, but timing is key and should be assessed. □ Designing timing for all “pressures” is important.

20 Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D. University of Dayton


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