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Reducing summer melt for graduate students

3 min read

Students all over the country are currently making the tough choice to change paths or stay the course when it comes to graduate school. Here are six specific text message campaigns your college can send right now to fight melt and increase retention with graduate students.

With a diploma in their sight, soon-to-be college grads were ready to take their education to the next level in graduate school. Then, campuses closed due to COVID-19 and a clear vision of the future became cloudy. Suddenly, graduates aren’t sure if their chosen grad school, or a return to school at all, is the right move.

“I’ve been told by several applicants that the decision to come to our institution was because we were easy to get ahold of. Cadence has definitely played a role in that.”
- Keleigh Chummney, Admissions at Capital Law

Communicate a game plan for COVID-19

It’s hard to make a decision when you don’t have all the facts. The sooner a college graduate knows your institution’s plan to deal with COVID, the better they’ll feel about committing to and attending classes. Be upfront about how disruptions in classes may impact students, highlighting your school’s plan for alternative arrangements, if needed.

Craft specific text campaigns that address any anxiety or health-related concerns grad students might have. And, make it clear that they can reach out to your staff if they have questions.

Safety-related inquiry

Hello <FIRST NAME>, this is <STAFF NAME> from <SCHOOL NAME>, reaching out to ensure you that we’re doing everything we can to keep our students safe during the upcoming semester. Are there any specific health and safety-related questions or concerns you might have?

COVID protocol information

Hi <FIRST NAME>, we’ve compiled all the info our students might need heading into the new semester regarding safety protocols for COVID. I’ve emailed you a link. Do you have any questions or concerns?

Address students’ financial concerns

Economic uncertainty will play a huge role in the decision making process for college grads. Taking on more student loan debt for grad school might not be as easy a decision as it was six months ago. It’ll take even more of a concerted effort to guide grad students through available scholarships, loans, or tuition assistance programs.

Scholarship information missing

Hello <FIRST NAME>, this is <STAFF NAME> from <SCHOOL NAME>. I noticed that you still have not responded to your pending scholarship application for the upcoming semester and I wanted to reach out to see if I could help. Do you need assistance?

General scholarship information

Hi, <FIRST NAME>. With the semester approaching, I wanted to see if you had any questions regarding available scholarships. You can always visit our website to find useful info on the different kinds of tuition aid available to you. Would you like to talk to someone about your options?

Personalize your approach

Adding a personal touch to your communications is a great way to reduce melt and give grad students a connection to your school. A gap in communication is a sure sign that melt is likely to occur, so set up outreach that is conversational and empathetic to reach people who may be on the fence about the upcoming semester.

Lack of contact outreach

Hi <FIRST NAME>, It’s <STAFF NAME> from <SCHOOL NAME> admissions department. It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from you and we still need <MISSING FORMS/INFO>. Is there anything you need help putting together or any questions I can answer? I’d be happy to help!

Personal outreach

Hi <FIRST NAME>, we realize this is a confusing time for our incoming class of students and want to make sure you’re comfortable for the upcoming semester. Do you have any concerns or questions about <SCHOOL NAME>? I’d be happy to answer them.

There’s no telling when the cloud of coronavirus will be lifted, so preparing for retention tactics that don’t involve in-person contact could be the norm for a while. When possible, use video and virtual meetings to keep up with your incoming class of grad students.

While you can’t make up a grad student’s mind or know what’s best for their situation, you can be diligent in your outreach to help guide them to their goals.

Want to see how Cadence's two-way texting can help your school increase retention and reduce melt?

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[FREE TEMPLATES]  15 Texting Templates for Graduate Enrollment DOWNLOAD