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Summer Transition Engagement

By: TxCAN   |   May 2023

Summer Transition (also known as Summer Melt) has been used by college admission practitioners to refer to the phenomenon when college-intending students fail to enroll at a post-secondary institution in the fall after high school graduation. In this blog, TxCAN will highlight some of the ways you can implement a summer counseling initiative in your community to address this phenomenon.

College advising is a year-round profession. Even though many of your students have received acceptance letters and walked across the graduation stage, there is still work to be done to ensure that they make it to their first day of classes in the fall. Here are a few steps you can use to implement a successful summer transition initiative:

  1. Create a senior exit survey
Many school districts administer senior-year exit surveys to ask about students’ post-secondary plans. This will allow you to investigate if they enrolled in the institution of their choice, if they have completed registration for orientation, and are not pending any information needed for their financial aid. If you currently work with a college access organization, check to see if they already have a survey in place. That way, only one survey is distributed to the graduating senior class, but the data is shared between both parties as needed.
Sample of senior exit survey here
  1. Distribute a general list of key tasks prior to high school graduation for college going students
Financial aid is a big barrier for students during the college admissions process. According to surveys, up to one-third of all students who leave high school with plans to attend college never do.(dept of Ed) Providing students and families with a list of key tasks related to their financial aid award letters, understanding tuition payments, housing options, registering for orientation and other related tasks can be instrumental to first-gen students and families.  
  1. Partnering with area college and/or college access organizations
Consider contracting local area college access counselors or local college access organizations to outreach to students proactively during the summer months. Through phone calls, text messages, and face-to-face meetings, this additional support, and guidance can be essential to your district. Counselors hired during the summer months can help students review their financial aid packages, and understand and complete required and, at times, complicated paperwork.
  1. Digital Outreach
Reaching out to students and families with a digital messaging campaign in which text messages are scheduled to the intended audience with reminders of key summer tasks they need to complete. To implement a digital messaging campaign strategy, find out if your district currently has a messaging delivery service that allows for customization and automation. Digital outreach
If your district does not have a messaging campaign or the capacity to run one, consider having your students sign up for existing text support like ADVi or Get Schooled.
ADVi is a chatbot that uses text messages to proved helpful, student-friendly information about college. Any student in Texas can start getting support from ADVi by texting COLLEGE to 512-829-3687 or by opting in on their freshman application in ApplyTexas. Get details about how it works for students here.
Get Schooled is a national nonprofit that helps young people get to college, find their first jobs, and succeed in both. Their Textline team is ready to answer any questions you have about applying to college, finding a first job, how to succeed in high school, and more. To get started sign-up in your profile or text ‘HELLO’ to 33-55-77.
If you would like to learn more about Summer Melt and how to address it, take a look at the Strategic Data Project’s Summer Melt Handbook.

The Texas College Access Network (TxCAN) connects and supports college access initiatives across Texas, with the goal of increasing access to college and certificate programs.