Rowan takes on sophomore slump

Rowan takes on sophomore slump

By Jessica Beym
jbeym@sjnewsco.com

It's not just the freshmen who need a little bit of guidance from college professionals.

Rowan University officials said that in an effort to make their second-year students more successful they've created a program called "SophoMORE," which is dedicated to providing the students the help and answers they need to make it through the year.

The new program launched during the first week of September as the university held a welcoming event in the Eynon Ballroom in the Chamberlain Student Center, where a panel of upperclassmen told the younger students what they know now that they wish they knew before.

Joanne Damminger, executive assistant to the vice president of student affairs, said many professionals from various departments of the university teamed up to develop ways to address some of the issues sophomores are faced with.

"We had a team that worked together to take a look at what's happening nationally with sophomores and then what's happening at Rowan University," Damminger said.

Over the past decade, an average of 15 percent of freshmen drop out before starting their sophomore year, according to Rowan University's statistics. By the start of junior year, an additional 10 percent of the students don't return.

Rowan's retention rates for sophomore students going into their third year have been as low as 69 percent since 1992, according to the statistics. But the rates have slowly improved, reaching nearly 80 percent in 2004, the most recent year for that data.

Damminger said that is one of the things the university hopes to improve through the program.

They also hope to help students overcome obstacles that prohibit them from succeeding, graduating on time or just enjoying themselves on campus in general.

"We weren't really communicating with the sophomore class as a whole, but the freshman class is kind of coddled all the way through their first year," Damminger said.

Two days this week on Monday night and again tonight small groups of administrators and faculty made "house calls" to some 800 sophomores who live on campus.

"We said Hi,' congratulated them on a second fresh year, let them ask questions," Damminger said.

Some students asked about where to find out about different clubs on campus, how to create new clubs and sports teams, how to arrange for a tutor, and questions about majors and course requirements.

On the questions that the groups couldn't answer, they took down the students information and promised a response, Damminger said.

"All the feedback that I've gotten today is extremely positive," Damminger said Tuesday. The SophoMORE program will continue throughout the year as the administration plans new activities and presentations for the sophomore students.

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Date Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 01:00