‘Summer melt’ presents challenges to college recruiters

Madison Rexroat

As hordes of college freshmen begin moving in before the fall semester, a small portion of potential students are forgotten – by everyone except college recruiters.  

At some schools, up to 40 percent of committed students in the spring fall through the cracks during summer. This is known by recruiters as the ‘summer melt.’ Even when they’ve put down a deposit, students don’t always show up on move-in day. 

‘Summer melt’ has grown in recent years as college prices increase almost as fast as the criticism of what a college degree is really worth. First-generation students are most at-risk, and for many prospective students, all the paperwork, packing and especially paying for school can become overwhelming in the hot summer months.

This phenomenon costs schools hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in lost revenue. For each student that doesn’t show up, that’s four years of not receiving expected tuition money.

Schools – and their recruiting teams – are fighting summer melt by earnestly staying in contact with students over the summer to answer any questions and keep them excited about school. Phone calls, texts, in-person visits, swag bags in the mail and huge orientations filled with fun activities are just a few of the methods recruiters use. Offering any level of help is important, too, as even small issues without guidance can sway students into not going to college.

These methods have proven effective for several colleges – the American International College has seen a four-year decrease in summer melt from 18 percent to 11 percent. With the college market becoming even more competitive and more expensive, college recruiters will no doubt have to employ even more aggressive strategies to keep up enrollment.

To read the full article in The Wall Street Journal, click here.