Cooling Down Your Summer Melt

Carnegie Higher Ed May 19, 2014 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

Summer melt . . . for a “warm” premise, it certainly sends chills down the spine of every admission professional around the country. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, I can only guess that you are fairly new to college admission, and you should ask someone to explain it for you—ASAP. But for seasoned veterans, you know what it means to see all of your hard work slowly slip away throughout the summer as deposited students call or write to say they aren’t coming.

I’m familiar with the waiting game too: Everyone holding their breath, watching to see how many students didn’t show up for yield events. Trying to anticipate the fallout based on historical data and trends. But for the most part, it’s purely guess.

Most schools will try to accept extra students because they know they will they will lose several before the start of the academic year. But what else can you do to help save your class? I have a few ideas that might help.

Immediate impact

IP Targeting: IP targeting allows you to serve up online banner ads specifically to your deposited students directly through their home IP address. These ads would be seen on every device in the home that uses the IP address (computers, cell phones, and tablets). Not only will the student see your ads but so will their parents. Your special yield events and branding ads would reach everyone in the home, and with a carefully crafted message selling your school’s value, these messages can make a significant impact.

PC&U Transfer Edition: This resource is a great way to engage transfer students and bring them into a dwindling freshman class. Our proven transfer platform reaches over 1,600 two-year colleges and over 750,000 current college students through print and our websites.

Long-term solutions

The guesswork of predicting how many students you will lose over the summer will continue to happen year after year. At some point you need to start thinking about how to do things differently. The college admission landscape is changing, and you need to make sure you are keeping up and layering in new methods. The bottom line is you want to keep your deposited students engaged and connected with your university and feel that they are part of your campus family from the time of application to the time they are an alumnus.

Integrated Direct Marketing: Part of offsetting summer melt is keeping your incoming students engaged. Send a personalized variable data printed postcard reminding them of important upcoming dates or next steps. Do you have summer orientations coming up? Send a tailored invite or e-mail that includes a link to a personalized landing page (PURL) where they can register for the event and you can ask a few detailed questions about their student life interests, things they are most excited about on campus, or other preferences. Then use the info you gather to make your next touch point more relevant. And it doesn’t have to be all business. Try to make it fun and keep them active. Or perhaps consider a text campaign to keep them informed with timely reminders about campus events or important dates.

By developing an anti-summer melt communication plan, you can hopefully keep your incoming 2014 students informed, engaged, and far from melting away!

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