Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Scott Gaier

Second Advisor

Todd Ream

Third Advisor

Stephen Bedi


The present study sought to understand the reasoning behind the occurrence of the sophomore slump through the perspectives of students. Though the sophomore slump is defined as overall poor academic performance and apathy toward academia, the reasoning for this trouble has not received deep exploration. The researcher for the present study surveyed fifty-one seniors to understand better what year of college these students considered their worst, most difficult, and/or most disappointing. Sixteen of those seniors (31%) indicated at least one semester during their sophomore year that they would categorize as the “worst.” Sixty-seven percent indicated freshman year, and 50% indicated junior year. The participants then explained why they would label certain semesters as such. Findings from this study show multiple explanations for a student who slumps during his or her second year of college. Following the discussion, this study includes implications for practice, suggestions for further research, and the limitations of the study.