emphasis in colleges of engineering to recruit, retain, and graduate larger numbers of engineers that are more diverse has only increased over the past decade. to this end, the first-year experience has become a well-known and practiced set of theories, programs, and pedagogies where many institutions spend a lot of time, money, and expertise to ease the transition from high school to college. the capstone experience is also a known practice in engineering and one that is not only required for accreditation but one that has a long history of refinement. if we consider these two experiences the bookends of the undergraduate engineering experience, the mid-year experience would be what is found in the middle. this special issue highlights works focused on the student experiences within these years. with improvements mounting on addressing the freshman or first-year of engineering, the next large hurdle, especially with respect to retention, is the sophomore year where there can be even larger losses than the freshman year. just like in sports, record albums, and even faculty hiring, this second year or second experience is often referred to as the sophomore slump or the invisible year. following successful retention from the sophomore to the junior year, the emphasis shifts to discipline specific and professional preparation often referred to as the junior jump. thus, this special issue is focused on the sophomore slump to the junior jump.