This week I read a great article on Inside Higher Ed called “Warding Off Summer Melt”. Many of the points resonated with me.
May 1st has come and gone, and while many of us are tempted to focus all of our attention on recruiting, it’s important not to forget about deposited students to ensure they make it to their classes in the fall. However, remembering to communicate is only the first piece of the puzzle; how you communicate is just as important as the communication itself.
Tell Their Story
Even during the summer months, students are receiving information from other colleges hoping to sway them into attending their school instead. Finding ways to stand out from the noise so students can receive important messages from you is critical. One of the best ways to break through is by personalizing messages. Don’t just show students around campus, show them around the dorm they chose to live in or the buildings where they will be taking classes. Try to craft messages that feel as if you are speaking directly to them. This technique will help keep the reasons they chose to attend your school fresh in their mind.
People First Marketing
Building relationships with incoming freshman remains just as important during summer months as it was when recruiting them in the first place. Relationships create a strong sense of belonging and community. The best way to attach these types of feelings to a school is by “people first” messaging. Have current students tell their stories, highlight student activities on campus, or show off a day in their lives. Now is the time to ramp up the authentic stories in your communication and messaging.
For many of these students, it is their first time living away from home. It is also the first significant life decision they have made. It is easy to see how anxiety may build for incoming freshman. As a counterpoint to the apprehension, it’s important to remind students why they choose to go to your school in the first place. Just like it is a good time to ramp up the authenticity of your stories, it is also an excellent time to deepen your storytelling. Appeal to their sense of self by highlighting your school’s unique culture and values. Become something they feel connected to on an individual level.
Summer melt can affect up to 40% of deposited students, but by creating a proactive communication strategy, you can prevent many of these students from becoming a statistic. Help them feel like a valuable part of your campus.
For tips on how YouVisit can help prevent summer melt check out our Summer Melt Playbook.