The Summer Melt Problem

“Chris, a student in one of your local high schools, has worked hard to become the first member of his family to apply to and get into college. Chris’ counselor and teachers have supported him through the college application and decision process. As Chris walks across the stage on graduation day, he and his family are proud of his accomplishments but also uncertain of what lies ahead.

A month into the summer, Chris begins receiving mail from the university he plans to attend in the fall. First, he receives a letter that gives him directions on how to sign onto the university’s online portal and learn about required tasks for admitted students. Without internet access at home, Chris puts aside the letter and decides to sign in later when he can get to the library. But that letter is just the beginning—soon he starts to receive a flood of information…Then suddenly it is September, and he finds himself working full time at what was supposed to be a brief summer gig. In spite of his work and aspirations, Chris does not end up enrolling in college that fall” (Download the Summer Melt Handbook).

Chris’ experience is not unique to him and in fact it is a reality for a large proportion of low-income students across the country; a phenomenon called “Summer Melt.”

In the summer of 2011 we began implementing three interventions (Proactive Advisor Outreach, Peer Mentoring, and Texting) to change this reality for our students, and all had a measurable impact. Our work has been highlighted by leading education and social service agencies including the US Department of Education, National College Access Network (NCAN), National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and the Chronicle of Higher Ed among others. 

We want to share what we’ve learned with the broader college access and success community and have launched a series of trainings to do just that. Check here for some upcoming opportunities.

If you’re interested in support for the design of your program please fill out the form below or send us an email at