Being accepted to college is a major milestone in your child’s senior year of high school. Seniors may feel like their future is set and excitedly start planning how they’ll spend their last summer with friends and family before starting college.
- But then something happens – the number of students who show up on campus in the fall is lower than the number who committed to attend in the spring. “Summer melt” is a phrase that is used to refer to students who, despite intending to head to college in August or September and completing some of the necessary steps, fail to attend college in the fall. The consequences of not graduating from college will be felt for longer than the four years it takes to graduate. Realizing this, our KIPP Through College team uses a number of best practices to make sure students show up to college on day one. The following tips will help families navigate the transition from high school to college over the summer months and put a freeze on summer melt.
- Stay Positive. Start with the mindset that college is possible and achievable. While your child will experience challenges along the way and this new chapter might seem scary, she/he is college material and deserves a degree. Remind your child of the hard work they’ve put in to make it this far and reassure them they’ve got what it takes to reach their next graduation day. As a parent, it can be a big help to let them know it’s ok to leave home, and you’ve got their back.
- Check your checklist. The KTC team has a checklist of all the deadlines – see below for more on this!- that need to be met and forms that need to be submitted to your daughter/son’s school before they set foot on campus. This includes everything from commitment forms to tuition deposits to financial aid forms to immunization records and more. Double check that all forms are completed and all of the information that’s been submitted is correct so there are no surprises come August.
- Attend college orientation. Many schools host orientations throughout the summer. If you and your student can attend earlier in the summer, it will help in the planning process. If you’re not able to attend in person, contact the school to see what other options are available. While attending orientation in person is preferred, some schools offer online orientation as an alternative.
- Check out the school website and social media channels, and read your snail and email. The college website has a lot of information on what to expect when you arrive, key dates, and links to resources. By following your child’s school on social media, you can both get a glimpse of the culture and start building excitement for day one. Also, open every piece of mail and email you get from the college, and read all of it! Once you’ve decided on a college, they will send you everything that needs to be read. You can also get updates from the school’s portal, and it’s a good idea to keep your login information in a safe place so you can easily refer to it when needed.
- Reach out to your KTC Persistence Counselor! Every graduating senior will be paired with a Persistence Counselor that will be able to guide your child when challenges arise. Counselors are also available to support academic, financial and socio-emotional needs to ensure that goals and graduation requirements are being met. Don’t hesitate to contact them with any questions!
Our KIPP Through College team has developed this helpful checklist to keep students from “summer melt” and help set them up for success their freshman year of college.
- Complete FAFSA
- Complete HESAA (or NJFAMS for NJ State Grants)
- Complete CSS Profile for applicable schools
- Complete verification worksheet to finalize financial aid
- Complete loan entrance counseling and sign Master Promissory Note (MPN) to finalize loans
- Keep a copy of your final financial aid award letter
- Pay tuition deposit
- Pay housing deposit
- Submit immunization forms
- Submit medical insurance waivers (if applicable)
- Sign in to your student portal (super important for freshmen)
- For students with IEP or 504s, register accommodations with the Office of Disabilities,and make sure you have a copy of your most recent IEP
- Attend New Student Orientation or Summer Bridge Program (if applicable)
- Arrange travel plans for move-in
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