What a long, strange admissions cycle this year has been! Historically, when we think about yielding students, there has always been the idea of preparing for the potential melt that we might experience. Usually it’s over the summer, post orientation, when students might get cold feet, or feelings have changed and the school where they deposited is no longer the one they want to attend. As experienced enrollment professionals, we try to combat these scenarios with thoughtful communications and innovative experiences, where we can show students that, yes, our school is where you belong.

It’s likely that this year we’ll be running into similar reasons why students change their minds, but in addition to the normal melt we’ve come to expect and prepare for, we’ve also had a difficult year awarding financial aid due to the challenges of a restructured FAFSA, updating calculations in SAI (Student Aid Index) to account for inflation, and delayed release of information to schools. It’s going to be more important than ever to make sure you’re doing everything possible to help students figure out their financing for college, and to reduce melt by proactively engaging students and their families through the spring and summer.

Keep Up Engagement

This year, providing personalized outreach and opportunities for students and their families to connect with your campus, faculty and staff, and other resources will allow you to show your commitment to providing the best possible experience for students looking to enroll at your institution. Ideally, offering tailored campus visits promoting academic experiences, offering one-on-one financial aid counseling to students and their families, and building connections between current and future students will help maintain engagement levels and continued interest in attending your school.

Keep Communicating

In addition to your outreach efforts, it’s going to be more important than ever to communicate timely information to students about their financial awards, acknowledging the delays and when they can expect to learn more information, and how you are prepared to support them through this process. By providing this information, you’ll save the students and their families the anxiety of not knowing what is going on. While you may not have clear timelines laid out internally, it is also important to show your prospective students that you’re supporting them, that you understand how difficult decision-making can be, and are continuing to work diligently in partnership with them to make their experiences as beneficial as possible.

If you’re looking for other ideas to help diminish melt, check out my earlier blog post, 5 Tactics for Preparing for Summer Melt. And if you need additional ideas to address summer melt or other pain points you’re currently facing, please reach out to us. Our experienced strategy team would love the opportunity to help you succeed in meeting your enrollment goals.