What in the world is summer melt? Well, it’s much more than what happens to your ice cream on a hot day or what it feels like your body is doing on a blazing hot day. Oddly enough, neither one of those is it. Summer melt refers to the students who are on track to attend college at high school graduation, but don’t actually make it on campus. That’s a thing. Summer melt.
It’s an interesting term, right? Well, it makes sense. At first, I thought it was about each student’s level of motivation to engage in the process of preparing for college. However, I soon learned that it was about each student’s ability to engage in the process. See, many students – particularly those who are first generation – are accustomed to the guidance of their counselors and other school/program staff to keep them on track for completing forms, submitting information, and meeting deadlines. However, there are many more things that come up between graduation and the first day of classes that students can miss without someone pointing them in the right direction.
Events and activities such as orientation, summer bridge programs, housing deadlines, enrollment information, AP score reporting, deposits, etc. are a few of the things that students can be responsible for after graduation. If a student isn’t checking their college email address daily, it is possible they have no idea these things are happening.
So, what can you do to avoid summer melt? Go back to your acceptance email/letter and be certain you have logged on to any platforms/systems that were suggested. Check your school email every day at least once per day. Use official and unofficial social media groups to be in the know about what other students are doing in regard to deadlines. As another freshman asks questions in the group, you may realize something you forgot to do. Better yet, you may even help another student get something done.
So you see, graduation isn’t the end. It’s only the beginning. Before you can live the best days of your life on a college campus, you have to make sure you arrive on time with a place to live, classes to take, and food to eat. Take the time to engage each day and summer melt will only refer to your ice cream. Preferably chocolate chip.