Document Type

Doctor of Education Capstone

Original Publication Date



Old Dominion University


Norfolk, VA

Date of Submission

May 2022


The Division of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services at Old Dominion University (ODU) submitted a Request for Assistance to examine the challenges sophomore students face that can lead to attrition. A doctoral research team conducted an exploratory, sequential, mixed-methods study consisting of a literature review, focus groups and interviews with current ODU juniors and seniors, surveys of current ODU sophomores, staff, and faculty, and interviews with benchmark institutions that have successful sophomore student programming at their schools. The team explained the commonly found needs and barriers that sophomore students face, and specifically examined the expressed sophomore student challenges as revealed by ODU students, staff, and faculty. Findings indicated that there is a lack of transitional support, sophomore student development training, and a defined sophomore student experience at ODU. In response to these findings, the team created a sophomore student success model that recommends developing a sophomore orientation program, training staff and faculty on sophomore needs and development, creating a streamlined mentoring program, evaluating current academic advising models, and designing a Sophomore Year Experience (SYE).


© The Authors