April 5, 2024

Preventing Summer Melt: Three Strategic Outreach Tactics

As the summer months approach, colleges and universities brace themselves for the challenge of preventing "summer melt"—the phenomenon where students intending to enroll in college fail to do so, often due to financial aid uncertainties. This year those worries are exacerbated by delays in FAFSA that have resulted in institutions pushing back award dates and deadlines.

To tackle this issue head on, institutions must prioritize proactive communication and outreach efforts. Here are three essential strategies to help institutions do their best to prevent melt and ensure a smooth transition to college for students:

Personalized and Strategic Communication Plans

  • Develop individualized communication strategies for prospective students, leveraging diverse channels such as email, text messaging, phone calls, and social media.
  • Curate the timing of messaging to be continuous and simple, keeping students aware of important dates, deadlines, and information.

Tailored Engagement Opportunities

  • Create customized programming to keep students engaged and excited about the upcoming school year. Offering mentoring programs with current students in common interest areas can solidify connections for the upcoming year.
  • Develop engaging and informative content, such as webinars or videos, to educate students about financial aid options and enrollment deadlines.

Culturally Relevant Outreach Strategies

  • Design outreach campaigns that resonate with the cultural backgrounds and experiences of diverse student populations. First generation learners, for example, will require a unique approach compared with other demographics.
  • Incorporate storytelling and testimonials from alumni or current students who have successfully navigated the college enrollment process despite financial barriers.
  • Host culturally inclusive events and workshops to celebrate diversity and promote a sense of belonging within the college community.

By implementing targeted and strategic outreach tactics, colleges can effectively mitigate summer melt and ensure a smoother transition for incoming students. Through personalized communication plans, tailored resource development, and culturally relevant outreach strategies, institutions can provide the support needed for students to navigate FAFSA delays and enroll in college successfully. Anthology stands at the ready to help you initiate these plans.

Let us partner with you to continue to prioritize proactive outreach efforts to ensure that every student has equitable access to higher education opportunities. Reach out to our team today to schedule a time to discuss options for your campus.

lisa hansen headshot

Lisa Hansen

Director, Strategic Consulting, Global Solution Services

Lisa has over 14 years of experience in higher education, with a focus in student success and retention. At Anthology, she collaborates with colleges and universities to develop strategies related to enrollment and retention solutions within student service and engagement. Prior to joining Anthology, she served at Wichita State University, starting her career in Undergraduate Admissions, and then serving in a director role for six years over One Stop and First Year Advising. She has a strong passion for simplifying processes and improving the student experience.