What Students Can Do to Avoid Summer Melt

In our last post, we talked about the phenomenon of summer melt, where up to 1/3 of the students who graduate high school with plans to go to college never make it to a college campus.  We discussed what the student’s support team could do to help keep the student on track—but there’s also plenty the student can do to make sure their college plans don’t get derailed.

Open every piece of snail mail you get from the college, and read all of it.  You’re probably used to getting all kinds of mail from all kinds of colleges, but once you’ve decided on a college, anything and everything they send you needs to be read.  Just ask the student who opened the letter congratulating him for being admitted.  He didn’t read the next page, which told him he had a $42,000 scholarship.  Read it all.

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Summer Melt: Why One Third of College-Bound Students Don’t Make It to Campus in the Fall

Graduation is one of the most exciting times in the life of a school counselor, but as tempting as it is to look at graduation as the end of a school counselor’s work with a class, the exact opposite is true, especially for students heading to college.  An astonishing number of students who walk across the stage at graduation with plans to go to college never get there. Too many students overlook the letters and emails colleges send over the summer, asking students to complete financial aid forms, turn in important health documents, sign up for orientation and more.

If a student misses any one of these steps, the college will assume the student isn’t coming to college after all, and they’ll remove them from their attendance records.  Suddenly, due to a couple of missed emails, the student’s plans for the fall, and for their future, take a turn for the worst.

This phenomenon is known as summer melt, and it affects more students than you might believe.  According to surveys, up to one third of all students who leave high school with plans to attend college never arrive at any college campus that fall.  Summer melt tends to hit low-income students hardest, as well as students who are the first in their family to go to college.

Realizing the devastating effect summer melt can have on students, there are some key steps the student’s support team can take to make sure their senior is on campus come the fall.

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