Identifying the Problem: Defining Summer Melt in 2021
In fact, students who belong to one at-risk group often belong to another, compounding the factors that make getting to college in the fall will be even more difficult. First generation college-intending students, for instance, are more likely to be in the lowest 25th percentile of socioeconomic status, more likely to belong to a minority group, and more likely to enroll in a community college, all of which make them more likely to melt.
Here are the Reasons Students 'Melt' Between High School and College
There’s even a name for it: verification melt. In 2015, it was responsible for 20% of Pell recipients melting away from matriculation.
What School Districts Can do to Help Protect Students From Summer Melt
Understand what seniors plan to do after graduation
Offer additional support after the school year ends
There’s research that shows that even two or three hours of additional guidance over the summer can bump up the percentage of matriculating students by four percentage points. By giving students the opportunity to meet with counselors in the interim summer months you’ll increase the chance of catching them as they encounter obstacles and pointing them in the direction of the resources they need.
Connect with students over the summer
Find ways to collaborate with colleges
A study conducted in Albuquerque, New Mexico, showed that collaboration like this improved enrollment rates by around 12%, which is extremely promising for at-risk students.
Better data collection at every stage
Engage students from SchooLinks even after they graduate
Foster near-peer mentorships with alumni who have 'been there'
Sometimes, the best way to support students is by putting them in touch with peers that have already been through the process they’re about to navigate. This is where the alumni portal on SchooLinks can be especially helpful.
In the same way that students can reach out to real-world professionals within the SchooLinks network to ask questions about what it’s like to work in their field, alumni can field inquiries from students and answer them by uploading content like selfie videos for districts to approve. Once they do, every student in the district can access that content, too.
Collaborate with higher education to get students over the finish line
A major component of the experience SchooLinks provides is the ecosystem of support that communities and districts can work together to build on the platform. This includes engagement with partners in higher education. If you use SchooLinks, consider inviting reps in before the end of the school year to interact with students that intend to enroll in the schools they represent. Sometimes, putting a name to a face or collecting supplementary information like registration and housing paperwork deadlines or contact information for the financial aid office at the college students plan on attending can help solidify student plans for the fall.
Bring everything full circle with National Student Clearinghouse data
Our partnership with National Student Clearinghouse helps SchooLinks’ districts create a clear picture of the effectiveness of their efforts to reduce summer melt as they undertake them — or give them a place to start from if they haven’t yet begun. By comparing senior exit survey responses and NSC data, school districts can continue to identify, improve, and innovate for students without the need for piecemeal solutions or endless spreadsheets.
Summer melt happens is a problem with more than one root cause, and it requires a solution that’s just as multifaceted. SchooLinks is proud to be a part of that solution for tens of thousands of students across the country. Get in touch today to see how we can partner with your school district to be a part of the solution for your students, too.