CollegeBound Foundation: Decrease Summer Melt Rates
The CollegeBound Foundation provides college access services to thousands of students at select public high schools in the city of Baltimore. A College Access Program Specialist (CAPS) from the Foundation creates a college center at each high school to deliver these services to primarily first-generation, under-resourced students. A uniform curriculum keeps students engaged and on track with processes that include ACT/SAT support, one-on-one college access advising, and college tours. CollegeBound advises around 57% of the 4,400 students that graduate Baltimore City Public Schools each year. Approximately 23% of recent BCPS graduates are engaged in the summer texting program. CollegeBound Foundation uses Signal Vine to decrease summer melt rates.
CollegeBound realized that many of their students who were accepted to and decided on a particular college in the spring never enrolled in the fall. Nearly 30% of the students predicted to attend a two- or four-year college did not enroll. Most of the drop-off happened during the summer before college, a phenomenon known as Summer Melt.
CollegeBound initially partnered with Signal Vine in 2013 to text graduating high school seniors during the summer of their transition from high school to college. During the SAT registration process in the fall, CAPS collect cell phone numbers from students. Staff then send a letter to parents and guardians explaining the text messaging program and providing an opportunity to opt out. Historically, less than 1% opt out of the program. Text messages are customized with information about students’ intended colleges. CollegeBound staff members respond to text messages within four hours.
Over the past three summers, CollegeBound has found that students receiving texting support enroll in college at a 6% higher rate than those not receiving text support. CollegeBound also noticed a higher response to text messages during the summer (70%) than during the school year (30%). During the school year, students are more likely to walk into the college center to respond than to send a reply text. Overall, 85% of students reply to text messages within 24 hours.
CollegeBound plans to continue using summer texting as part of a multi-pronged student engagement strategy. The Foundation hopes to bring Baltimore City school counselors on board with the program to reach more students and continue improving enrollment rates.
Signal Vine’s texting platform has been a key element in CollegeBound’s efforts… to increase the rates that students matriculate to college.
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