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Summer Transitions

By: TxCAN   |   May 2022

Even after acceptance letters have been received and college decisions have been made, there is plenty left to do before the first day of classes in the Fall. To shed more light on this transition, Future Focused TX invited guest speaker Ann Marano to share more about summer transitions and ways college access professionals can keep students engaged.

Even after students have received acceptance letters, there is still a lot of work to be done before the first day of classes in the Fall. It is easy to lose track of progress points and ways to engage students, so the team at Future Focused TX recently held a webinar with Ann Marano, Executive Director for Colleges That Change Lives, to address this. Key takeaways from this presentation have been synthesized and condensed into a high-level overview to you with a better understanding of how to best serve and support students leading up to the Fall.
The end of the school year is a time for excitement and celebration as students prepare to graduate and begin their post-high-school lives. However, for those students who have decided to pursue postsecondary education, the end of the school year is also an important period of transition. In addition to mentally and emotionally preparing themselves to start college, there are a plethora of checklists, deadlines, and decisions that still need to be made regarding financial aid, housing, advising, orientation, meal plans, etc.

The most important step during this period is helping students stay updated. Guide students through the process of setting up their student portals and email addresses, and establish the routine of checking these accounts periodically. Students can also engage via social media by adding/following accounts for the incoming class on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Similarly, you can connect with your students through text reminder platforms such as Remind or Google Classroom for information on updates and deadlines.

One area students may continue to seek out support is financial aid. This is especially true for those students who are selected for verification. Verification can be an overwhelming process, but resources such as TxCAN’s blog post on Understanding Student Aid Reports and Verification can help you navigate the process with ease. Additionally, helping students review and understand financial aid award letters is simplified by using the Financial Aid Analyzer. Other financial aid topics you may be able to assist students with include scholarships, financial aid appeals, and loan counseling. The time left before the school year ends is also an excellent time to work with students on submitting enrollment deposits, registering for orientation, and ordering final transcripts.

If your students are considering living on campus, it is necessary for them to apply early and continually check for required information/documentation. Once housing has been confirmed, help students think through the list of dorm room essentials as well as logistics for moving day. Coordinating this transition will include communicating with roommate(s), family, and residence life staff. Regardless, of whether a student will be living on or off-campus, it is also important to consider transportation logistics and needed materials along with university requirements regarding vaccinations and health insurance.

Beyond the deadlines and processes, there are a variety of new experiences awaiting students in college. They may be living away from family for the first time, working, adjusting to a new class schedule and structure, interacting with new people, managing finances, or learning a new campus. These areas of growth can be discussed and explored with students in an exciting way by inviting community guest speakers, college admissions personnel, student affairs personnel, or even alumni.

Overall, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind when planning summer transitions, but there are also great resources and networks that can be accessed. College staff, local philanthropists, and alumni can be leveraged alongside resources from some of the largest national organizations such as Get Schooled, College Board, and the National College Attainment Network. Additionally, Ann Marano and Future Focused TX provide a great wealth of resources on the Transition to College Spring 2022 webpage. Click here to watch Ms. Marano's presentation.

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.