There are four classified types of college students namely: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior. A freshman is a college student on his/her first year. On average, a college student needs 0-29 credit hours to be considered a freshman. A sophomore is a second-year college student who needs 30-59 credit hours. A junior is a third-year college student who needs 60-89 credit hours. Finally, a senior is a fourth-year college student who needs 90 or more credit hours. The term freshman is idiomatic featuring a novice or a beginner. Within this classification, the freshman status implies one’s belonging to an educational institution (high school (9th grader), college, university) on their first year of study. The classification remains the same to all the higher educational institutions across the United States. The parallel (synonymous) term in some US colleges is a ‘first year’ student. Freshman is a novice or someone who is fresh in something, therefore the term freshman is popularly applied. This is a stage to start with a college studies so the minimum credit hours (up to 29) are required.
The second year college or university students are referred to as sophomores, or 10th graders in high schools. Following the first year adaptation to the college environment, college sophomores start thinking about their futures and career options. Typically, in addition to their studies, most sophomores get actively involved in social activities across the campus and volunteering. The ‘sophomore’ period is generally referred to as the forgotten year of college for the freshmen are busy with their adaptation and maturing as students while the juniors are busy doing their homework and advancing their academic performance, and seniors are focused on scholarships. The sophomore year is, therefore, least talked about.
Prior to their third year of study, college students are aware of and ready to declare their academic major. On their third year of study, the US college students turn into juniors who typically begin their internship process and get prepared for additional education in their preferred domain (architecture, marketing, design etc). Junior is a well-accepted term describing a younger, or less experienced participant of some environment or member of an organization. On this stage, they actively submit applications to the universities and take additional exams. The junior period features academic maturity and focus on future career choices.
A senior college student is on his/her fourth (final) year of their study. Senior is a general term featuring an older, or more experienced participant of some environment or member of an organization. A senior year matches a critical period of transition from college to university featured by applying for majors and scholarships. The senior year is decisive of whether a student continues his/her education and pursues higher academic status (Peterson 39).
All the stages at college and respective statuses of college students are equally important as each features a gradual progress in a student’s personal and academic maturity. The classification is fair enough to let students adapt to a college environment and life on campus. The gradual classification of the types of college students makes the US educational system soft and open to individual student needs on all the stages.

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  • Peterson, T. Nightwork: A History of Hacks and Pranks at MIT, 2003. Print.