Do Not Let Summer Melt Spoil Your College Dreams

Take Steps This Summer to Close the College Deal

It’s been a long and sometimes arduous senior year of high school, but you have finally graduated and are looking forward to attending college this fall. You’ve got the acceptance letter, have bought a few things for your dorm room, and are eagerly anticipating college life. But then something happens over the summer and you decide not to attend college, even though you have been dreaming about it for so long.

You’re not alone. A surprising number of high school graduates experience something called “summer melt” where they watch their college dreams melt away over the summer. There are many reasons a student may decide not to attend, but this decision can have life-long consequences. Here are a few ways to “keep cool” and stay on path towards your college career:

  • Watch Your Deadlines: Some students think they are all set once they have the acceptance letter, but be sure to read it closely as there are still a number of deadlines you have to meet. You have to let the school know that you will definitely be attending by a certain date, make an initial tuition payment on time, and register for classes within a specified period. Put these deadlines on your calendar, figure out what you have to do, and leave yourself plenty of time to accomplish everything before you head off to the beach.
  • Organize the Paperwork: There are students who are surprised by the amount of paperwork required once an application has been accepted - health care insurance, housing needs, financial aid, registering for classes - and it can feel overwhelming. Try to organize the paperwork by deadline so you can prioritize what needs to be done first. Be sure to talk to the admissions office if you have any questions. They have an interest in making sure you attend in the fall, and are there to help make sure that happens.
  • Add up the Costs: It may not seem like much at first - a hundred dollars here for a lab fee, another hundred there for a textbook, a few more dollars for the student activities fee - but suddenly these extra “little” costs are beginning to add up to significant money. Don’t drop out before you start because you don’t have enough money. Try to find out exactly how much money you will need and then look at your options for finding it. You could try to work a few more hours this summer, you might search for additional college scholarships, or you may need to borrow more through your college student loans. You can also talk to the financial aid office to see if there is anything else you can do to cover your total expenses.
  • Attend Orientation: Time might have elapsed since your last visit, and you could lose a little of your enthusiasm. You’ll have a chance to meet your classmates, get a taste of campus life, and meet with your academic advisor to learn about some of your classes. Colleges usually plan a lot of fun activities to go with these orientations.
  • If There is a Major Change: Something might happen in your family that could make it seem like college is out of reach, but don’t decide to skip it without talking to the admissions office at the school. They might be able to offer some ideas that will help keep your college dreams alive.

Summer may just be heating up, but don’t let your college dreams melt away.