Freshman, sophomore, junior, senior

brenobrendan

Senior Member
Portuguese - Brazil
Freshman - A student in the 1st year of High School/College
Sophomore - A student in the 2nd year of High School/College
Junior - A student in the 3rd year of High School/College
Senior - A student in the 4th year of High School/College

What if it is a 5 or 6 year program? What do you call a student in the 5th or 6th year of college?
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Do you know of any 5 or 6 year undergraduate programs? (Medical training takes a while but has its own specific terms like intern and residency etc). Otherwise a student in 5th or 6th year at the undergarduate level would be called a "slow learner":D
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Do you know of any 5 or 6 year undergraduate programs? (Medical training takes a while but has its own specific terms like intern and residency etc). Otherwise a student in 5th or 6th year at the undergarduate level would be called a "slow learner":D

    I attended university part-time after military service and while supporting a family. No I didn't graduate in four years and I really resent being called a "slow learner."

    The University of Colorado based such designations as freshman, sophomore, etc. based upon number of semester-hours completed.
     
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    brenobrendan

    Senior Member
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Do you know of any 5 or 6 year undergraduate programs? (Medical training takes a while but has its own specific terms like intern and residency etc). Otherwise a student in 5th or 6th year at the undergarduate level would be called a "slow learner":D

    :D!!!
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Do you know of any 5 or 6 year undergraduate programs? (Medical training takes a while but has its own specific terms like intern and residency etc). Otherwise a full-time student in 5th or 6th year at the undergraduate level would be called a "slow learner":D
    Added the "assumed but not overtly stated until now" qualifier for the humour attempt :(
     

    waltern

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    What if it is a 5 or 6 year program?

    The (full-time) 5-6 year programs I'm aware of are generally accelerated ones which combine a bachelor's degree with a master's, MBA, JD, etc. - are those the sort of thing you are asking about?
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's a fairly common practice among U.S. universities that (over)emphasize athletics to keep an athlete, especially a football (U.S. football, not soccer) player, on the sidelines during his freshman year when they already have enough good players at his position or when the university doesn't think he has the ability to graduate in four years while still playing a sport that demands a lot of time. He gets to practice with the team, he gets to grow a little and mature a little, he can accrue some academic credit, but he doesn't use up one of his four years of eligibility for intercollegiate athletics. This is known as red-shirting (hyphen optional) the athlete, from the practice of giving him a red shirt to wear during practice. In his fifth year at the institution (but his fourth and final year of intercollegiate athletics), he is known as a fifth-year senior.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    It's definitely possible to be a college freshman, for example, for more than one year. Your status is based on credit hours, not years. Part-time students do this sort of thing all the time. There's really no mystery about it.

    The class designations become problematic when the student has enough credit hours move up a level but the credit hours aren't in the right courses for the degree he's working for. This might easily happen if the student changed majors, for example, or didn't take enough upper division credit hours. That's when you get "fifth-year seniors."
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Not exactly. It depends on what you mean by subjects.

    History is a subject but for a certain kind of degree you might need specific history courses to meet the requirements. You might have taken other history courses that don't meet that requirement.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    A course is a series of class meetings occurring two or three times a week (usually) for a semester (usually).
    Suppose your college requires 120 credits to graduate, and suppose most courses are worth three credits each. You might, let's suppose, need to take 12 courses (36 credits) in general education/core curriculum/breadth requirements; at least 14 courses (42 credits) in your major; and the remainder (120-78 = 42 credits) in elective courses in order to graduate. If you're majoring in history, you might be required, in order to complete the major, to take two courses in Asian history, two courses in European history after the time of the Roman Empire but before 1700, two courses in European history after 1700, etc., which add up, at this college, to 14 courses. You find out at the beginning of your spring semester of your senior year that you need another course in Asian history. So you either have to take one then and graduate when you intended to, or come back in the fall and take the last requirement. You would then be in your fifth year in school but you would still be a senior.
    I write from experience as one of those people who checked students' records.
     
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    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I've heard fifth year student but I'm not certain I've heard fifth year senior.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    I've heard fifth year student but I'm not certain I've heard fifth year senior.
    To me, fifth-year students might possiby be doing some kind of combined Bachelor's-Master's degree program that takes five years, or possibly some kind of BS (Bachelor of Science) in Engineering and BA (Bachelor of Arts) in something else. I can imagine people calling themselves fifth-year seniors but it's not a term that administrators would use, since one's official status as first-year, sophomore, junior, and senior depends on credits, not years in school.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I can imagine people calling themselves fifth-year seniors but it's not a term that administrators would use.
    I was a fifth-year senior due to switching majors. For the students, it can be a big deal to have a separate term. The other seniors know you weren't in their freshman courses, etc. I also had a choice of getting a class ring for my social class or my graduating class (different year number engraved on the sides).
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    To me, fifth-year students might possiby be doing some kind of combined Bachelor's-Master's degree program that takes five years, or possibly some kind of BS (Bachelor of Science) in Engineering and BA (Bachelor of Arts) in something else. I can imagine people calling themselves fifth-year seniors but it's not a term that administrators would use, since one's official status as first-year, sophomore, junior, and senior depends on credits, not years in school.
    For the record, my :oops: comment at the top was based on many dictionary definitions (including the WRF entries), that don't mention credits, but only years.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Courses mean subjects here?
    Not exactly. It depends on what you mean by subjects.

    History is a subject but for a certain kind of degree you might need specific history courses to meet the requirements. You might have taken other history courses that don't meet that requirement.
    A course is a series of class meetings occurring two or three times a week (usually) for a semester (usually). ...

    The word "usually" in Roxxxannne's post is essential here. At MIT, for example, "course" refers to a course of study, such as Civil Engineering, or what is called a department in most other places. (They're numbered, and MIT people usually refer to them by their numbers; for example, Civil Engineering would be referred to as "Course 1.") The word "subject" is used for what most other U.S. colleges/universities call a course. MIT is not the only university to use this terminology, but it is the most prominent one.

    The point is that there are no official standards for this. You must find out what terminology a particular school uses.

    [Discussion of staying for a fifth year as an athlete deleted since an observant member pointed out that I said that seven years ago, in post #8 above. I had forgotten, and didn't read through the thread before posting.]
     
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    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    I was a fifth-year senior due to switching majors. For the students, it's can be a big deal to have a separate term. The other seniors know you weren't in their freshman courses, etc. I also had a choice of getting a class ring for my social class or my graduating class (different year number engraved on the sides).
    I certainly believe that, and sympathize; suddenly the people you have been going to school with are gone, and I've seen students who end up taking a semester in their fifth year express a little regret that they didn't switch sooner.
    From an administrator's point of view, there always seem to be students who apparently can't read and think that a course they took called "Statistics for Non-Majors" should count toward the major. So it is somewhat anxiety-producing to be checking a statistics major's record and see that they took that course. Finally when you add everything up --- they did have the correct number of stats courses for the major (administrator delicately wipes brow, wonders why she doesn't keep restorative whisky in her top right desk drawer).
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    The word "usually" in Roxxxannne's post is essential here. At MIT, for example, "course" refers to a course of study, such as Civil Engineering, or what is called a department in most other places.
    And some places have two or three major programs of study in one department, so a course of study in those cases would be a 'major program' or a 'major' within the department (e.g. French, Spanish and Italian all in a department of Modern European Languages). Also, in the last 20 or so years, more and more interdisciplinary major programs have been created that don't exist within a department. So at places like Princeton (which I have knowledge of only because I just looked at their website) there are majors like Asian American Studies that do not correspond to departments.
    Egmont is right. Terminology and requirements vary quite a bit from school to school.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    What about 'ADVANCED'? It's just a question.
    No, that doesn't work. For one thing, 'advanced' is too general a term: someone can take advanced math courses in their junior year. Also, if you switch majors late enough in your undergraduate career that you have to use a fifth year to finish the requirements for your new major, you're not advanced, you're just catching up to where other people were a year or so earlier.

    I've never heard 'super-senior' but I like it.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Oh, I didn’t mean to dispute the usage. So many people here mentioned it that I had no doubt, without googling, that it was an established usage, at least among certain groups of speakers. Nevertheless, in almost 20 years as a student and/or instructor at various US universities/colleges, I’ve never heard the term, whereas I’ve frequently heard “super-senior.” I haven’t googled, but I’m sure you’ll find lots of hits if you do!

    Maybe it is generational? I don’t know everyone’s age here!
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I have heard fifth year senior many times, super senior never. I'm in the aged half, if you divide things down the middle. But I can still easily get out of a chair.
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    I bet it is generational. Maybe those of us who are older have heard it occasionally but just don't remember it because we use only the older phrase among our agemates. I spent more combined time than elroy in a total of five universities in four different parts of the US (including Chicago), and I never heard 'super senior,' although I heard and used 'fifth-year student' and 'fifth-year senior' pretty regularly.

    I hop in and out of chairs all the time. Just to prove to myself that I can still
    fdjsfqpe 83y h
    plf

    ouch.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I’ve never heard “fifth-year senior.” The term I know is “super-senior.”
    I've never heard "super-senior," and I've attended three universities as a student, was a full-time faculty member at three more, and have taught part-time at another three after retiring. May I ask where you heard this term? It might be local usage.

    (BTW, I just got out of a chair without pushing on its arms or my thighs, and while holding a laptop computer.)
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    May I ask where you heard this term? It might be local usage.
    I can't say exactly, but I've been a student at four different universities/colleges in New York, Vermont, California, and Illinois, respectively; and an instructor at two different universities in Illinois.

    Okay, now I've done some googling.

    It seems that "super senior" (without a hyphen, apparently) is more common than "fifth-year senior." This is the term Wikipedia uses: Super senior - Wikipedia

    My conjecture based on this and the responses in this thread is that "fifth-year senior" used to be the more common (or the only) term, and that "super senior" has gradually gained sway and has become the more common term.

    It's striking, by the way, that none of you have even heard "super senior" (and I hadn't heard "fifth-year senior")! This must be a very clear generational divide!
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    To be fair, I haven't had direct contact with university life since I graduated.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Super-senior sounds humorously self-deprecating to me. I failed a lot of classes but I want to pretend it's a good thing. I'm super, thanks for asking. ;) "Red-shirt" was invented after my day. It's the players who are going to die first, isn't it? (Star Trek joke)
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It bears a striking resemblance to the use of supercentanarian.

    A centenarian is someone over 100.
    A supercentanarian is someone over 110.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I can't say exactly, but I've been a student at four different universities/colleges in New York, Vermont, California, and Illinois, respectively; and an instructor at two different universities in Illinois.

    ... This must be a very clear generational divide!
    I doubt it's generational in my case. Granted, I'm old as those things go, but I have regular contact with college students via teaching and talking to one of my grandchildren. Given the student demographics of the university where I teach, many of my students make slower progress than they would if they were able to study full time. If this were a common phrase in southern New England, I think I'd have heard it by now.

    That said, I'll ask my younger son the next time we talk. He took five years to finish his bachelor's degree in Vermont, due in part to a change of major and in part to a semester abroad for which he didn't get as much academic credit as he would have earned on campus. Since you mentioned Vermont, if the term is widely used there, he'd know it.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Some colleges (especially higher cost residential schools) have students enter and complete in 4 distinct years. Most of my experience has been in public universities that are "commuter schools," where students can attend year round, or part time, or full time, or take a year or two off. So the 4 distinct years become meaningless and are not used to refer to students or classes. We do make a distinction between first year, second year, and upper level courses in our curriculum planning.

    But you can be in your final semester and still picking up a first year course required by your program.

    So in general the freshman sophomore junior senior nomenclature is not used in Canada. It tends not to be used in high schools other than Grade 12 is senior year. Different school districts divide the grades differently. When I was in school, high school was typically grade 8 to 12 so five grades. We didn't have middle schools.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I asked a friend who's around my age and has lived in the Chicago area his whole life what he would call a high school or college student in their fifth year, and without any hesitation he said "super senior." When I told him why I had asked, he said he had also never heard "fifth-year senior."
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    Well, what can I say? I am quite sure I said 'fifth-year senior" in Chicago in the late '90s and early '00s. But that was in my guise as college administrator. We had all sorts of jargon that I doubt students used -- but it was still American English. :)
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    ... That said, I'll ask my younger son the next time we talk. He took five years to finish his bachelor's degree in Vermont, due in part to a change of major and in part to a semester abroad for which he didn't get as much academic credit as he would have earned on campus. Since you mentioned Vermont, if the term is widely used there, he'd know it.
    He said he had never heard "super-senior," but pointed out that - at his school - few people mentioned or cared about a student's year after the first, so he didn't hear "fifth year senior" either.

    (It's too late for me to edit my earlier post to include this information. I could ask a moderator to do it, and he or she probably would, but it hardly seems worth the trouble.)
     
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