Summer Melt

Every summer, up to 40% of students intending to enroll in college for the fall fail to do so. Despite completing key preparation steps such as applying and being accepted to college, applying for financial aid, and committing to an institution, these motivated students’ aspirations “melt” away during the summer. Summer melt rates are highest among first-generation college students, students enrolled at two-year institutions, and students from low- to moderate-income families. To support institutions in their efforts to minimize melt, Trellis Company developed a comprehensive summer melt support campaign to help maintain student motivation and support institutional student success efforts.

Best Practices

The evidence-based Trellis approach to summer melt combines the power of automated text messages with counselor outreach to provide personalized, targeted, and timely guidance to students through the summer. Through our experience with over 70 institutions, Trellis has devised a set of guiding communication principles for summer melt campaigns.

  1. Personalization – Messages have higher response rates when personalized.
  2. Relevancy – Not every student needs every message. Students will tune out if the message does not apply to them. Most engagement comes from messages that are relevant to the students’ specific needs.
  3. Timing – Messages should be delivered in a timely manner relative to the task/deadline we are talking about. This gives the students enough time to act.
  4. Action – Messages should include a clear call to action to let students know how and where to take action.
  5. Accessibility – Provide a number, email, or other reliable contact information so the student can ask questions as they complete enrollment steps.

About Trellis

Trellis Company is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation focused on helping people leverage the power of post-secondary education and learning to improve their quality of life and the communities where they live. Trellis supports institutions around the country in reducing summer melt. If your institution, college access organization, or state agency is interested in reducing summer melt, please contact a Trellis team member at