Enrollment Management

Understanding Summer Melt in College-Bound Students

For college-bound students, the transition from school to a higher education institution is a daunting yet exciting journey, full of surprises. From receiving the acceptance letter to arriving on campus in the fall, these young adults have to deal with some major enrollment-related responsibilities and decisions that carry significant weight and nerve-racking pressure. Consequently, a percentage of enrolled students intending to attend college never make it to campus, leading to summer melt. Wondering what that is? In this blog, we will discuss the fundamentals of summer melt, the factors contributing to it, and the steps you can take to overcome this problem.  

What is Summer Melt?

Summer melt can be described as a phenomenon that occurs among college-bound students due to which they fail to appear for classes in the fall. According to the US Department of Education, the percentage of college-eligible students that ‘melt away’ during summer across the nation is between 10% and 20%. Studies from the department also indicate that a vast majority of these students come from a low-income background and are also a part of minority groups.  

What Are The Reasons Behind Summer Melt?

While multiple factors contribute to summer melt, we have mentioned some of the most common ones below.

Lack of Funds

A college education is expensive. During the transitional summer, when students begin to assess the cost of necessities, such as tuition, housing, and healthcare, the reality of college expenses and their financial constraints sets in. Lack of funds contributes to the vulnerability of low-income students in particular, and they often end up withdrawing in the summer due to the absence of financial aid.

Lack of Support

Post-high school graduation, most students struggle to find a reliable source of advice and support to help them navigate through the enrollment process. Without adequate support, fulfilling even the simplest of pre-college requirements can seem like a challenging ordeal to some, increasing the likelihood of summer melt.

Transition Anxiety

Transition anxiety has a lasting psychological impact on students. According to research, college-bound students can suffer from disturbed sleeping patterns due to transition anxiety. Students emotionally unprepared to leave home are highly likely to be affected by summer melt.  

Keeping Summer Melt under Control

Colleges plagued by the summer melt can fight back by developing a sound understanding of factors causing the melt in their campus and taking effective measures to counter the effects of this phenomenon. The funding allocation program from Virtue Analytics, for example, enables colleges to optimize grant allocation which allows them to tackle summer melt. The program also comes with student lifetime value calculators and financial forecasting instruments with the help of which colleges can essentially freeze summer melt!