summer melt

Every year, colleges and universities face the challenge of “summer melt,” a phenomenon where accepted students fail to enroll in the fall semester. While summer melt can be attributed to various factors, including financial concerns, changing plans, or simply losing touch with the institution, colleges can take proactive steps to mitigate this issue. One powerful strategy is to use promotional items strategically to keep students engaged and committed during the crucial summer months.

The Summer Melt Challenge

Before delving into how promotional items can help, it’s important to understand the extent of the summer melt challenge. According to research by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), summer melt rates can range from 10% to 40%. These rates can have significant financial and resource implications for colleges and can leave students without the opportunity to pursue higher education.

Keeping the Connection Alive

Promotional items can play a pivotal role in maintaining a strong connection between the institution and accepted students throughout the summer. Here’s how colleges can use these items effectively:

1. Personalized Welcome Packages:

Begin the engagement process with a personalized welcome package sent to accepted students. This package can include a welcome letter, key information about the college, and a few branded promotional items such as a custom pen, a branded keychain, and a college pennant.

2. Orientation Swag:

Hosting virtual or in-person orientation sessions during the summer can help students acclimate to their new environment. Include branded items in these sessions, such as t-shirts, water bottles, and notebooks, to foster a sense of belonging and excitement.

3. Regular Communication:

Stay in touch with students through regular emails, newsletters, and social media. Send out informative updates along with the occasional surprise promotional item, like a college-branded USB drive or a portable phone charger.

4. Financial Aid Information:

Financial concerns are a common reason for summer melt. Include essential financial aid information along with branded calculators or financial planning tools to assist students and their families in managing costs.

5. Deadline Reminders:

Use promotional items like custom magnets featuring important deadlines, including payment dates, housing assignments, and class registration. These items can serve as daily reminders.

6. Social Media Campaigns:

Encourage students to engage with your college on social media by organizing contests and giveaways. Award branded promotional items as prizes, creating an incentive for students to actively participate.

Benefits of Using Promotional Items

1. Tangible Connection:

Promotional items provide a tangible connection between students and the institution, making them more likely to remember and engage with the college.

2. Boosted Morale:

Branded items foster a sense of pride and excitement about attending the college, helping students feel more committed to their decisions.

3. Practical Utility:

Promotional items that are both attractive and useful, such as custom notebooks or tech accessories, can integrate into students’ daily lives and serve as constant reminders of their college choices.

4. Increased Engagement:

Hosting contests or social media campaigns involving promotional items can boost engagement and encourage students to stay connected with the institution.

5. Support in Decision-Making:

Financial planning tools and informative promotional items can provide valuable support to students and their families, potentially easing the stress associated with the college enrollment process.


Summer melt can be a daunting challenge for colleges and universities, but with thoughtful planning and strategic use of promotional items, institutions can significantly reduce the risk of losing accepted students. These items provide a tangible and lasting connection, offering students a constant reminder of their college choice and fostering a sense of belonging and excitement. By keeping students engaged and informed throughout the summer, colleges can help ensure that those who were once accepted become enrolled and successful members of the campus community. Don’t let the summer heat melt away your prospective students; instead, use the power of promotional items to keep them cool, connected, and committed.