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Second-Year/Sophomore Success Initiatives

The Office of Undergraduate Studies (OUGS), under the direction of the Graduation Initiative Steering Committee, is looking into several options for Sophomore Success initiatives to support students in their second year at CSUSM.

second year attrition

Around 15-17% of second-year students that started as freshmen at CSUSM leave before the start of their third year.  This attrition has been rising even as first-year retention rates have stabilized at around 80%.  The problem of second-year attrition is not unique to CSUSM; it reflects a trend across the CSU system and the United States as a whole.

OUGS is beginning its investigation of this phenomenon through a campus survey of second-year students.  The survey measures concepts that have been shown in the literature as particular challenges for sophomores, including academic engagement, sense of belonging, satisfaction with institutional interactions, relationships with faculty, and perceptions of campus climate.

The Second-Year Student Survey (SYSS) opens on Monday, October 16th and will run until Friday, November 3rd.  The SYSS is only open to students who started as first-time-freshmen (FTF) in Fall 2016 and is not intended for transfer students, who have very different needs in their second years that will hopefully be addressed by other initiatives.  The survey will help us identify the factors that facilitate and inhibit success in the second year.  The data collected will be analyzed along with qualitative data collected throughout the 2017-18 academic year and will be available to the campus in Spring 2018.

If you have questions about the SYSS, please contact Adam Petersen, Student Success Analyst in OUGS ( or 760-750-7327).