Addressing “Summer Melt”: Resources to Prepare Students for Day One of College

“What does it mean to get a financial aid verification letter?” “What’s a placement exam?”

These are just a couple of the questions that graduating seniors may ask themselves in the months between college acceptance and the first day of class. Between submitting immunization records, verifying financial aid documentation, attending orientation, paying tuition and registering for classes, students have to navigate a number of complicated processes as they prepare for the start of college. A misstep can result in a student starting classes already behind.  According to research conducted by Ben Castleman and Lindsay Page, “one in five—and in some communities nearly one in two—low-income high school graduates who have college plans in place at graduation fail to actually matriculate in the year after high school—a phenomenon known as summer melt.”

To support the transition to college, New Visions would like to highlight key resources and programs available for students, their families and college counselors.

Matriculation Guides

In order to combat "summer melt," New Visions has partnered with a number of community-based organizations and school support organizations (Bottom Line, College Bound Initiative, College Now, Goddard Riverside Community Center - Options, Graduate NYC!, iMentor, Linct to SuccessNew Settlement Apartments and the Urban Assembly) to develop a series of matriculation guides with specific tips for enrolling in more than 60 colleges throughout New York State. Each guide serves as a checklist, providing students with links to school specific information on what’s needed to enroll successfully. A complete listing of the guides can be found at, including all of the CUNY  and SUNY guides.

Bridge to College Coaching

Bridge to College coaches discuss problems students may face as part of a 3-day training institute led by Urban Assembly.

These guides though are just one component of New Visions’ College and Career Readiness initiatives, which focus on strengthening the capacity of schools' counseling teams to support students in the college application and enrollment process. New Visions is also partnering with the Urban Assembly network to train college students and recent college graduates as Bridge to College coaches who will support graduating high school seniors in pilot schools with completing the steps necessary to enroll in college. We are currently working with 11 pilot schools this year and we plan to expand to 15 schools next year. These coaches (pictured above at a recent training) will work closely with counselors to follow up with students about all of the steps they need to take to enroll successfully in college.

Additional Support

Besides the above projects, the New Visions’ Community Engagement and College Readiness team support also includes providing monthly professional development opportunities for counselors, college culture building activities for grades 9-12, a series of college fairs for 11th and 12th grade students, a week long pre-college boot camp at SUNY Herkimer and developing partnerships with colleges that provide college-credit courses and campus visits for New York City high school students. As a result of these initiatives, the dedicated work of the New Visions’ team and its partners, students have fewer questions and are better prepared to start college on day one!

For more information, please visit our Road to College page. To learn how you can partner with our Community Engagement and College Readiness team, please email E. Lydell Carter (

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