What is summer melt and how can universities overcome it?

4 min read

What is summer melt? The summer before college can prove difficult for students, as an abundance of free time creates uncertainty and the opportunity to think of alternative pathways to the ones that seemed so clear a few months earlier. Without the correct nurture strategy, a lack of support and engagement can make a student postpone or even cancel their idea of continued education. 

This is a crucial time when you need to provide a compelling argument to remind students of why they were interested in the first place. Think about it; there can be a sudden realisation that they may not have the help they need to pay/attend college, obtain financial aid or even something as simple as knowing what the next steps are in their application process. 

Studies have shown that ‘melting’ can increase to 35%-40% for students in lower socio-economic backgrounds. However, as an institution, you are now aware that this is a problem that must be dealt with, and we are here to help you address it. 

Make your life easier with a marketing automation platform

Akero is the perfect tool to automate your summer nurture strategy. You can create your emails and SMS ahead of time, and using our workflow feature you can set your time delays so students are receiving your communications throughout the whole of summer. 

This is a process that only requires an initial set up, which is then rewarded by a customised and personalised ‘summer nudging’ campaign to engage your leads. 

Our recommendation? Taking personalisation to the next level by creating separate nurture strategies for leads who are college ready, and another one for those intending to study but not quite there yet. 

How? Keep on reading.

Show you care

First-generation students have just gone through a confusing A Level Results Day, so the absence of a support network will further accentuate the lack of clarity that has plagued their education in the last 18 months.

Showcase your online resources depending on your audience. For example, ‘mental health’ and ‘confidence’ are two of the biggest barriers for students wanting to continue their education. Make sure leads are aware of the academic support you can provide over the summer. Include summer bridge programmes to help students get used to university life socially and academically.

But there’s more. Once a student leaves for the summer, all of their own resources can diminish. They might no longer have access to a computer or the voice of reason who recommended further education in the first place. 

Students want colleges to move towards more modern tools and communication channels, so make sure your nurture strategy provides a variety of ways in which a student can contact you. 

Think about your tone of voice and email/SMS call to actions carefully, too. Provide links to channels in which your leads can talk to existing students, a member of staff who can direct them to what they are looking for, and videos/FAQs that will show them exactly what the next steps are in the process. 

A helpful tip: Create social proofing and reinforce your message with quotes and testimonials from past students or figures of authority from within your institution. 

Quality over quantity

At the same time, don’t overdo it. We always recommend "only email or message when you have something to say"

Spamming leads with a multitude of emails will also get you nowhere. Plan out your comms frequency and stick to it. An institution should aspire to be “student-focussed”, and consider the journey from the student’s point of view. 

If this sounds like something your incoming students would benefit from, get in contact for more information on our automation/nurture strategy products.