You’ve Heard of Senioritis, What About Summer Melt? Author: Marcia Page

Seven Tips to Smooth the Transition from High School to College

The first three years of high school went by quickly and the senior year will also, but it will be more exciting and for many, more emotional too. It is a time of many lasts: last first day of high school, last homecoming game, last prom and of course there will be many good-byes to teachers, classmates and your school. Plus there is also extra added time pressure. You’ve heard it many times, you must submit your college and financial aid applications, additionally you will need to plan for graduation, live up to your other commitments, like part-time work and you also need to maintain your grades throughout senior year. (Remember even early college admissions can be rescinded if grades falter.) Developing a plan or schedule, managing your time and staying motivated are critical steps to overcoming senioritis. If you are focused, it will be far easier to be effective keeping the big picture and your goals to attend college in the fall top of mind.


While focused on your plans for college, stay in the moment too. Enjoy your graduation– celebrate, you’ve accomplished a major milestone. Just don’t lose your momentum after the big day. You’ve heard Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion, “an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless impacted by an external force”. Well the key here is to beware of external forces or the phenomenon called “summer melt”.


Summer melt is the term used to describe when students with college plans the spring before graduation do not make it to campus in the fall…their intentions to attend college melt away during the summer before fall admission. The Summer Melt Handbook, published by Harvard University Center for Education Policy Research, estimates 10 to 40 percent of students planning to attend college do not follow through on their plans. The rates tend to be even higher among students from urban districts, low-income families and for those who are the first in their families to attend college. Even if you think summer melt would never happen to you, it is far too common an occurrence to ignore. Better to have a plan and not need than to need it and not have it. You must be diligent, but do not go it alone, enlist your support network (your family, your high school and college resources such as Education is Freedom).

Follow these seven tips to help you stay on track and develop your own Anti-Summer Melt Playbook:

What you, the senior student, can do:

  1. Sign into your college’s personalized webpage or campus portal, note key dates and take action.
    1. Register and attend the college’s orientation session (this is mandatory for many schools).
    2. Complete placement tests if required.
    3. Check on the status of your financial aid applications and key tuition due dates.
    4. Complete housing forms.
    5. Check on your school’s pre-admission vaccination and health insurance requirements.
    6. Submit any other required paperwork or forms.
  2. Connect with friends also planning to attend college; form a support group and share important news and resources to assure everyone conquers summer melt.

What your family and friends can do:

  1. Your family can help you stay motivated and confident by offering praise and support for your ambitions to attend college and they can help remove obstacles that could hamper your success.
  2. Set aside some time each week to check in with your family; share with family and friends what’s on your mind and ask them to help you come up with solutions to help resolve persistent issues.
  3. If there are questions your family and friends cannot answer, ask a trusted family member or role model to place an inquiry call to the college’s office of Student Affairs to identify additional aid and resources.

What your high school and your college can do to help and what are the resources that may be available to you:

  1. Ask a school counselor (college or high school) for assistance and guidance over the summer to answer questions and serve as your accountability coach.
  2. If your high school or college has a social media (text, email, Facebook or Twitter) program for incoming college freshmen, sign up to have messages delivered directly to your cell phone or email.

You may not have all of these tools available to you, but that’s not a good excuse; leverage the resources you do have. Well timed activities and communications throughout the summer will work wonders to keep you focused and excited to begin college in the fall.

Internships: A Win-Win for Everyone Author: Marcia Page

Today, the demand for educated and skilled labor has never been greater but unfortunately, given the youth employment (or unemployment) crisis we have around the world today, there are far fewer opportunities for young people to gain the required skills.

Historically the summer months were a critical time to earn extra money and gain needed skills. Additionally, summer jobs have been associated with higher graduation rates, better future employment prospects and even higher earnings later in life. But in America over the last 12 years, there has been a 40% decline in the youth summer employment rate. You may think that this phenome only impacts the youth, but the real truth of this employment shortfall has far-reaching consequences, of course for the young people, but also for our communities and the broader economy overall. Couple these statistics with the reality that many companies hesitate to hire high school students because of their preconceived notions that they are too young, require a lot of training and have no value-added skills and it makes for a depressing, although very realistic picture.

It is not a surprise that Internships are good for the person seeking the new experience (especially given the dearth of jobs available to high school and college age students) AND they can also be a boon to employers too. For the employee, an internship can provide a peek into a new career, a field of study, excellent networking in the interns’ chosen field, great on the job experience, and financial literacy as they learn how to manage their paycheck earnings. There are many practical and long term benefits for young people. Plus, consider that the cost of a disenfranchised and disconnected young person just 16 years of age, may add both taxpayer and social burden of $1 million during his or her lifetime according to statistics published in The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth, 2012 . The case seems pretty clear on the value for students, but consider this…internships are great for employers too giving the hiring company the opportunity to build brand awareness among emerging young or established consumers, build a talent pipeline that can be leveraged for years to come and add experience in areas like social media where they may need to bolster their approach to be competitive or where their current staff may have less experience. In short, it is a win-win for everyone.

Research suggests an internship can be a key ingredient to setting a student apart from other applicants. In fact, one study suggested that 90% of all respondents agreed that a high school internship could help students get into better colleges. When it comes to getting a better job after college the differentiator may also be an internship. In both cases, it’s important to stress that students should use internships as an opportunity to stretch their abilities, showcase their willingness to learn new tasks and skills. Plus, take the chance to network with colleagues. Sometimes who you know is just as important as what you know. A well-placed personal referral for a candidate goes miles in terms of breaking the tie between candidates to fill a job opening or used as recommendations for college applications.