McQueen Optimistic about New Sophomore Experience Program

Simeon Pogue, Features Editor

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For many college students, the first year is for acclimation. During the second year, things often start to get more serious — students make more of a commitment to who they are, what they want to do, and what path they should take to get there. Some students find the process overwhelming.

I’m here to help navigate that journey.”

— Rebecca McQueen, Director of Sophomore Experience

I’m here to navigate that journey,” said Rebecca McQueen, the director of Sophomore Experience program launched at the beginning of this semester.

The Kentucky native lived in North Carolina most of her life and brings 12 years of experience in Residential Life and Student Affairs. In the last five years, McQueen was the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina. McQueen said she is thrilled to be here at Wesleyan and is eager to work with students to help them on their path to a successful sophomore year.

Last fall, KWC received a $450,000 grant to create the Sophomore Experience program. It was specifically designed to increase the rate of students transitioning from their second year to their third year.

There is a nationwide trend of low retention rates with sophomores – 71 percent according to McQueen. Some call it the “sophomore slump.”  The slump comes from sophomores facing issues such as declaring a major and correcting wrong decisions made in freshman year.

Since KWC’s current sophomore-to-junior-year retention rate is lower than the national average McQueen’s goal is to increase it by 22 percent. The Sophomore Experience aims to help students fulfill the program’s motto, “Lead more, learn more, be more.”

* “Lead more,” she said, emphasizes student involvement, such as joining a club and taking leadership roles in organizations on campus.

* “Learn more” is focused on informing students about graduate school, how to write a resume and getting prepared for the future.

* And “Be more” is about connecting sophomores to who they are and helping them become a well-rounded person with stress, financial and time management.

“People talk about the sophomore slump and how awful it is,” McQueen said. “I think instead of treating the sophomore slump as a negative thing, we should celebrate it as a period of growth and opportunity.”

The Sophomore Experience will offer such activities and events as Mystery Bus Tours and the Gives Kids the World service trip to Disney World.  There is no charge to participate.

“So far, Sophomore Experience has been an exceptional tool for learning how to get through your second year of college,” said sophomore Amber Bryant.

Bryant said she definitely would recommend this program to an upcoming sophomore.

McQueen’s sophomore year, the most transformational year of her four-year college experience, she said, pushes her to help students on their path in any way she can.

Rebecca Mcqueen