Each year, admissions staffs across the country work hard to make their classes, only to find that enrollment number reduced due to summer melt. So what can a college do about high school graduates who change their minds about a school, or attending school altogether, even after depositing? Attention to detail is a strong ally in the fight against melt.
1. Clear the confusion
The majority of high school grads who melt do so because of finances, whether it’s confusion over the process or anxiety over the cost. The best way to ease a student’s mind is to make your staff available to answer questions and make students aware of the resources available to them. Be personal in your communications. This is especially helpful for first-generation students who do not have a guardian to turn to for assistance.
The more guidance you provide students to get them through the financial aid and tuition portion of the registration process, the better the chances they register for and attend classes at your institution.
2. Be transparent with costs
Sticker shock is one thing, but it can be even more overwhelming for a student to be continually hit with expenses at several points before they’ve even attended a class. Be as clear as possible with your incoming class on what to expect as far as tuition costs, fees, costs of supplies and books, and opportunities for tuition aid and scholarships.
When students know exactly what their education will cost from the start, and what they can do to offset or gain support for that expense, they will be more confident about their decision.
3. Get parents involved
Now, more than ever, students depend on their parents to help them make decisions, so it only makes sense to keep guardians in the loop. With an open line of communication, you can let parents know what is expected so they can guide students and discover any pain points.
Encourage parents to meet with their children at certain intervals through the process to make sure they’re on track to meet deadlines.
4. Pay attention to the gaps
Has a student completed the tasks required leading up to the start of the school year, such as submitting housing forms and filling out medical documents? If there are large gaps between due dates and responses from a student, that’s a warning sign the student is a summer melt risk.
Keep track of when students complete forms and move on to the next steps, and reach out to offer guidance. If a student has completed their financial aid forms but has not registered for classes, send a reminder and see if they have questions. If you have an event planned such as orientation, require that the student RSVP’s so you can keep a gauge on their intentions. A simple nudge can help guide students along to the first day of classes.
Support reduces melt
The summer after graduation is an exciting time for students, and it’s also incredibly stressful. There is not one, all-encompassing way to explain every step of the enrollment process. Creating and fostering a relationship with your incoming class requires work, but the benefits are many. The more they know, the less they melt.