by Brionna Johnson
Now more than ever, the Georgia College Advising Corps (GCAC) team is focused on increasing the number of low-income, first-generation college-going, and historically underrepresented students who enter and complete higher education. In a typical semester, students experience summer melt where despite planning to attend college after graduation, they do not end up enrolling. These issues have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With support from the Institute of Higher Education, GCAC was able to pilot a summer melt initiative to combat the many barriers that students might face when entering higher education in the midst of a global pandemic.
Three GCAC Advisers serving our school partners at Clarke Central, Meadowcreek, and Social Circle high schools sent over 3,300 individualized text messages throughout June to their 989 students and many of their students’ parents or guardians. Advisers personalized the messages to meet the needs of their students, sharing relevant information to ensure students were on track to complete common first-year college student to-dos such as enrollment deposits, housing applications, and financial aid.
College Adviser Emaleigh Fleeman (pictured) shared how the program positively impacted her students. “Having continued adviser support through the month of June was super important because we have worked with students 1-on-1 all year,” she said, “It was incredibly beneficial to help wrap up loose ends lingering after graduation. My students knew I was available as needed to answer questions, troubleshoot issues, and provide support completing the FAFSA, sending their final transcripts, and more.”
With so much uncertainty surrounding the upcoming academic year, making efforts to “freeze summer melt” and ensure more GCAC students show up on campus in the fall is integral to supporting all students in accessing and succeeding in college. GCAC is grateful to the Institute of Higher Education and its community for the boundless support of our program’s mission.