Apr 09, 2019

Freezing the summer melt in higher education

Melissa Ross Advertising, Full Funnel Marketing, Trending Now, Trends
Melissa Ross Social Media Manager

The U.S. Department of Education has recently reported that one-third of college-bound students don’t make it to campus in the fall. Why is that?

Throughout the summer, too many students overlook emails or letters in the mail from universities requiring action on the student’s part – whether it be to complete their application, fill out financial aid information, submit health forms, finish class registration or sign up for orientation. Many students neglect to take action – whether intentionally or by sheer accident – and in doing so, they derail plans to attend the university. This enrollment drop-off is informally referred to as “summer melt,” and it results in the university removing a student from their records.

To help combat the devastating effect summer melt can have on a student’s future, the U.S. Department of Education believes there are three key steps that a student’s support team can make to ensure those students get to school in the fall.

First, the Dept. of Education believes it’s the school counselor’s job to support and encourage students even after graduation. An easy way to accomplish this is by directly communicating with the student through text messaging. Weekly reminders to check their email or send in appropriate health records or financial aid documents can give those students that push to get things done and out of the way. There are available texting programs that make it easy and less time-consuming for counselors to implement this type of communications.

Next, parents have been advised to meet with the graduating student for 20 minutes each week to discuss plans for college. The education department believes these meetings should continue in the summertime, and should focus on reviewing mail or forms the college has sent to the student.

Last is getting the student to visit the college campus’ for summer visits. Sometimes, summer melt occurs because the student is afraid or has doubts about being successful at college, and one of the ways to relieve those fears is to get acclimated to the school, meet their academic advisor, and explore places such as the dining halls or student center.

Even missing one request for information from a college can set a student’s college plans back. The Department of Education says it takes a village to get these students to school in the Fall. But students aren’t the only ones feeling the heat caused by summer melt – universities are too. And Geile/Leon can help with their full array of marketing support and communications services geared toward enrollment marketing.

A university client recently came to us wanting to help solve their summer melt problems. They needed support to help reach those accepted prospects and encourage them to complete the application so they could determine which candidates were still considering enrollment for Fall.  GL developed a direct digital/social campaign to support the “final push” and create a sense of urgency in all materials.

Through Geile/Leon’s five-step marketing approach, 25% of those targeted students completed their enrollment process. Assuming each of those students attend the university for four years, this will equate to over $5 million dollars in tuition.

Want more information on how we did it? Let’s connect.