The Summer Melt Playbook

A guide to beat the heat and meet your goals

It’s that time of year again. Graduation caps fly through the air. Students get ready to make their first significant adult decision, and joy beams from everyone. As this milestone is wrapping up, it’s time we turn our focus to on a risk we all know is coming- the dreaded summer melt.

We have identified three major groups of students most likely to enroll but unfortunately not attend your college: out of state students, waitlisted students, and first-generation college students.

You might have experienced this before. A student is admitted and puts down a deposit to save their spot at your school. However, when Freshman Orientation arrives they didn’t show up. In fact, many students you had counted as part of your class didn’t make it to the first day of school. What changed over the summer and what can we do to make it through the next few months without your class melting away?

This playbook will provide strategies and examples of how to give students the highest chance of attending classes in the fall.

Key Takeaways


  • Use multi-channel methods to show more to your students
  • Give students the right information to make a decision
  • Be proactive in providing support following high school graduation


A multitude of studies report summer melt ranging anywhere from 10% to 40%. What these studies show is summer is a critical time for institutions to be communicating with students. Proactive strategies require an omnichannel presence.

Students have graduated from high school creating a gap in which they lack structured counseling from an academic institution. Colleges and universities which bridge that gap increase trust, forge relationships, and inevitably win over students. 

Home Away From Home

There are many things about college life that creates anxiety for incoming freshman. One of them is living on their own for the first time. Going to college out of state can magnify this apprehension. Showing them more of the college experience without making them feel overwhelmed is key to having them feel at ease about moving away from home.

Studies show that students use social media to see what life is like on campus. By using a mix of social media channels to drive students back to your website, you can effectively show students what they might expect from living on campus. Make the student feel they have all the information needed to start classes long before move-in day arrives.

Use your Facebook page to promote Welcome Week by having your Social Media Admitted Groups drive students to your website. On the webpage, create a dedicated landing page where they can experience what it will be like their first few days of school.  

On Instagram, post a picture of a student at the entryway of their dorm room with a call to action, "come on in." With our platform, you can integrate video directly into a 360 photo, so they can hear from the current student why they love living there.

Eliminate Uncertainty

Imagine a domino chain. One after the other each piece falls until we reach the end. Students who place a deposit at two or more schools create a domino effect in admissions. A student finally decides on a university, which lets a student in off the waitlist. The waitlisted student had a deposit elsewhere, but once admitted, they change schools and so-on. Instead of waiting for the pieces to fall, it’s essential to be proactively communicating with students over the summer months.

Emailing is generally the most effective way to stay fresh in a student’s mind, but when competing with other summer activities, a traditional email may fall flat. When you email students, link back to your admissions page that leverages an interactive experience highlighting financial aid programs, residential life, and other areas that are important in determining if a student will ultimately enroll.

Personalize emails by embedding links which will lead them to specific experiences on your website. Be sure to highlight what campus life would look like for them. If you are engaging a performing arts student, have a link which brings them backstage and lets them peak out behind the curtains to see the audience. Tell their story while also providing guidance and information on all they need to know to make an informed decision.


Help Them Lead The Way

Even after being admitted there is still a daunting amount of paperwork to do before the move-in day. Many students are lucky enough to have a parent/guardian who has been here before to guide them through the process. Without that helping hand, many first-generation college students find themselves unable to navigate their way to Freshman Orientation. 

While still in high school, counselors provide students with a great deal of motivation during the search and application process, but after graduation, they're no longer by the students' side to ensure they're doing everything they need to enroll. Institutions must be proactive in bridging this gap.


Engaging with students is a crucial piece, but it’s important not to forget the parents/guardians in the process. Try and remember that while the student is living the experience, this process is unfamiliar to both of the student and their guardian. Keeping parents in the loop ensures they stay active in the enrollment process.

Send parents text messages with links back to virtual tours of your campus on your website. Highlight academic programs and buildings that will remind them how proud they are to have their child attend your institution.

With YouVisit's platform, you can embed a 360 video of graduation on a web page. Let them look around and see the proud parents, and imagine their child being the first in their family to receive their diploma.


Using these techniques will motivate students and parents to complete all the necessary paperwork to attend college. Our strategies were created to highlight three personas of the summer melt, but they are not one-size fits all. Mix and match different techniques across all groups for the best chance at beating the heat, and meeting your goals.


About YouVisit

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This asset can be embedded in your landing page to provide an immersive experience across your website which will evoke powerful emotions and increases conversions.