By: Gus Najera, Director, College Success Program
Summer melt is a national phenomenon in which a recent high school grad is accepted into a college or university but does not end up matriculating or enrolling in that school. The reasons for this can range from missing an orientation deadline, failing to upload a financial aid document, or feeling overwhelmed by the entire process. Students who are from underserved communities are more susceptible to summer melt.
In efforts to combat this, Fulfillment Fund holds a three-day Summer Bridge program for all our incoming college freshmen called Fulfillment Fund University. Day One consists of setting up expectations of the College Success Program, enrolling students into our student management platform, and ends with a panel of current college students. The panel shares their experiences in college and how they have utilized resources, including Fulfillment Fund, to continue to persist.
This year, Day Two consisted of three different workshops. The first was centered around a Summer Melt Checklist to make students aware of the obstacles they may face during the transition from high school to college. We showed them where to find checklist items on their school portals and explained what the most common requests are. The second workshop covered Imposter Syndrome, which is the feeling of doubting your abilities and feeling like a “fraud.” Many students feel that they have not earned their accomplishments, convinced that they do not belong in the college that admitted them. We shared with students where these feelings stem from and how to confront them. The third workshop was about managing stress. Transitioning from high school to college comes with a tremendous amount of stress. This year’s guest presenter explained to students the effects stress has on the body and helped them identify different stress factors. Students also learned exercises that they can use to manage stress.
On Day Three of Fulfillment Fund University (early July), we will introduce our incoming freshmen enrolled in our higher attended schools to Peer Mentors. Peer Mentors are upperclassmen who will be mentoring and guiding underclassmen throughout their first two years of college. We encourage our Peer Mentors to build a Fulfillment Fund community within their colleges so their mentees have a sense of belonging and can immerse into campus life.
However, Fulfillment Fund University is just the tip of the iceberg. We will continue to address the summer melt throughout summer by conducting one-on-one check-ins with all incoming freshmen to make sure they matriculate. We will also provide workshops and webinars in July and August, such as Professional Etiquette and Managing Finances, to equip our students with the tools they need to succeed in their college careers and beyond.
Watch a recap of Fulfillment Fund University so far: