Suppose student A is enrolled in a university in 2015. I wonder if there are any ways for him to call students enrolled in 2014 or 2016. Specifically, I want to complete the following sentences.

Hey, you know what? _______(students enrolled in 2014) only had one midterm test for their Calculus I last year, but we are going to have three of them!

I heard professor B is planning to retire after this semester. I am afraid _______ (students enrolled in 2016) won't have any opportunities to take class with him.

  • 1
    Seniors, juniors.
    – vickyace
    Jun 16, 2016 at 3:30
  • @vickyace You mean I can say "senior students only had one midterm test....", "Junior students won't have any opportunities....."
    – No One
    Jun 16, 2016 at 3:33
  • No need to say students because that'd be understood from the context. Just say seniors and juniors.
    – vickyace
    Jun 16, 2016 at 3:34
  • @vickyace And "juniors/seniors" means exactly the student enrolled one year before/after me? Don't they also include the students enrolled in 2013/2017?
    – No One
    Jun 16, 2016 at 3:38
  • 4
    You could use cohort, which is not that common a word, but very well suited to your use. Not all the people taking a course after you are necessarily one year behind you. But if you say "the next cohort taking that class", you have created and defined an ad hoc group. And you can go on talking about the cohort in later sentences.
    – Phil Sweet
    Jun 16, 2016 at 3:42

2 Answers 2


There isn't a generic term that defines classes in relation to a particular student. Instead, we have names for each class in relation to how many years of school they have completed/have left.

In my neck of the woods, students in your example would be juniors and freshmen once school starts.

If this is talking about American college or high school students, traditionally graduation takes four school years. In your first year, you are called a freshman (or "frosh" at some schools), in the second year you are called a sophomore, in the third a junior, and in the fourth a senior. See this Wikipedia article for slightly more detail.

Schools here typically begin in the fall so that an academic year actually spans two calendar years, so those who enrolled in the fall of 2014* would be expected to graduate at the end of the 2017/18 school year. Since it's summer right now, they should have just completed their sophomore year and will be juniors when school starts again in the fall--over the summer they can be called "rising" juniors. Those who are enrolling now will be "incoming" freshmen. Once school actually starts in the fall, you could just say juniors and freshmen, without the "rising" and "incoming":

Hey, you know what? Juniors only had one midterm test for their Calculus I last year, but we are going to have three of them!

I heard professor B is planning to retire after this semester. I am afraid freshmen won't have any opportunities to take class with him.

You could also just say "third year students" and "first year students," respectively, or "the class of 2018" and "the class of 2020".

This makes your class, those students who enrolled in the fall of 2015, the sophomores, or second year students, or the class of 2019--students who have completed one year of school and are in their second year, with expected graduation after two more years (for a total of four years) in 2019.

If by "enrolled in 2014 or 2016" you mean "enrolled in the 2013/14 school year or 2015/16 school year" then the cohorts would be a year advanced, so seniors and sophomores, respectively.


You can use freshman for first year students, sophomores for second year students and senior for third and final year students. More specifically, junior is for students in the third year of their four-year course and senior for the final years.

See juniors and seniors.

Juniors Dictionary.com

(in American universities, colleges, and schools) noting or pertaining to the class or year next below that of the senior.

Seniors Dictionary.com

(in American schools, colleges, and universities) of or relating to students in their final year or to their class.

(in certain American colleges and universities) of or relating to the final two years of education, during which a student specializes in a certain field of study.

See this discussion.

  • 1
    Note that these terms are not used outside the United States, and the OP has not indicated a locale. Even within the U.S., they are not used at every institution.
    – choster
    Jun 16, 2016 at 3:51
  • Thanks a lot anyway! Indeed It's enough for me to know how native speakers of English express themselves in these cases.
    – No One
    Jun 16, 2016 at 3:58

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