College Possible has always offered support to students over the summer, but this year it is even more important as we continue to see the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students and higher education. Summer melt is the phenomenon where high-school graduates apply and are accepted into college, say they’re planning to enroll, but then don’t. Though summer melt has been researched and is known to happen in the transition from high school into college, we are anticipating that this year, due to the effects of COVID-19, summer melt will impact many more students as they transition from distanced learning to in-person learning.
Here’s what we’re doing to combat summer melt this year:
Graduating high school seniors are required to participate in summer bridge. This includes curriculum focused on academic (choosing a major, connecting to tutors, what’s a syllabus), social (impostor syndrome, roommates, family and school expectations) and financial (account balances, gaps, tuition statements) aspects of college plus one-on-one coaching sessions focused on getting through their enrollment checklist. Because many institutions have extended deadlines this year, we have also extended our one-on-one coaching sessions to continue through July. These sessions are between a student and either an Ambassador Board member, a staff member or a trained volunteer. The enrollment checklist that’s covered during these coaching session include things like accepting financial aid, registering for classes, signing up for orientation and all other tasks students need to complete before school starts.
Summer Transition Coaches
This year we have transition coaches who each will serve about 300 hours with us this summer. Two of these coaches served with us last school year and are staying on for the summer, and three are College Possible student alumni who just graduated from college themselves. We are thrilled to have this team in place to support students this summer!
Summer Transition Coaches and College Possible Alumni, Amanda and Gia.
Together, these coaches are supporting students on different tasks depending on where they are on their college journey.
- Rising high school seniors—A portion of these students will be taking the ACT over the summer because of the scheduling impacts that COVID-19 had on standardized tests last year. Coaches will make sure they have everything they need to be successful!
- Rising first year college students—Some students will have additional enrollment tasks, make last minute decisions or face unexpected challenges over the summer. Coaches will be there to support students to make sure they enroll this fall.
- Current college students—We continue to focus on first to second year persistence for college students because it’s historically a crucial time period where many students do not proceed with college.
All students will receive at least one text per week from College Possible with reminders of tasks that need to be accomplished this summer. For students who are more at risk of unengaging or not persisting, they will receive one-on-one coaching and more intensive support. Most of our summer support will be virtual, with the exception of an orientation event for our first-year college students enrolling at Portland State University (PSU) this fall. PSU is where we have a large number of students committed to attending and in addition to the social, academic and financial programming we are offering, the in-person component will allow College Possible students from all different high schools to meet, form peer connections and create community that will support them throughout their time at PSU.
All of this summer programming is made possible by generous partners. Thank you, Oregon Community Foundation for their support through the K-12 Summer Learning Grant Program and to Alaska Airlines, Barran Liebman, LLP, and OnPoint Credit Union for your sponsorship of our summer programming.
Interested in supporting important work like this? Contact Christina Carl, CCarl@CollegePossible.org to start the conversation.