Battling the Sophomore Slump: Involvement and Religious Participation

Lauren Michelle Hatfield, University of South Carolina


This study was created to examine the difference in means between a University of South Carolina sophomore students' level of involvement and levels of self-efficacy, meaning-in-life, and intent to re-enroll. Sophomore college students have less support than in their first year while struggling to develop purpose and declare a major. During this period of uncertainlty, sophomores may experience 'prolonged indecisiveness, poor academic course selection, low levels of academic and co-curricular engagement and integration, behavioral problems, and increased time to degree completion' (Schaller, 2010). To alleviate the symptoms of these problems, sophomores can develop self-efficacy and meaning-in-life. A modified version of Laurie Schriener's Sophomore Experience Survey was sent to all 4,016 second-year students at the University of South Carolina, Columbia campus. Three hundred forty seven (8.64%) students responded, self-reported to be sophomores, and completed the entire survey. Section C of the survey measured Self-Efficacy, Section E measured Meaning-in Life, and one question from Section E measured intent to re-enroll. A one-way analysis of variance was used to test the null hypothesis at a .05 level of significance. Results indicated that students involved in on-campus organizations, regardless of religious status, had higher levels of self-efficacy. Students in religious on-campus organizations had the highest levels of meaning-in-life, followed by students involved in non-religious on-campus organizations and then students not involved in on-campus organizations. The one-way analysis of variance revealed that there was no difference in means between the level of involvement and intent to re-enroll.