What Causes Summer Melt?

It’s almost August and summer is starting to wind down. Students around the country are getting ready to head to college soon – except for the 500,000 college-intending high school graduates who will experience “Summer Melt.”

College is so close to being a reality for these students, and yet they won’t be on campus this fall. There are a variety of reasons Summer Melt can happen: College is expensive. Starting a new school is scary. Forms are confusing. There are too many options. Deadlines come and go. With all of these barriers to college access, it seems easier to give up than to try untangling the overwhelming web of information.

Complexity and challenges for at risk students

Fortunately, recent research is shedding light on effective interventions for reducing Summer Melt. It turns out that text messaging is a really great way to “nudge” students to check tasks off their college to-do lists. Something as simple as a “Hey. Just a reminder that your FAFSA form is due on Tuesday!” text can be the difference between attending and not attending college.

These text nudges go a long way. They can improve matriculation by 11% and first year persistence by 20%. Not only are more students actually making it to college, they’re staying there. Staying on top of everything is difficult sometimes. With the right support, students can finish their summers knowing that college is just around the corner.

Have you read the research published by EdPolicyWorks at University of Virginia on summer melt? 

Read it now