How small nudges tackle "Summer Melt"

“Summer Melt” may not be a new phenomenon, but it’s only relatively recently being tackled effectively by student recruitment officers. Wikipedia defines Summer Melt as,

“The phenomenon of prospective low-income or minority students' motivation to attend college "melting" away during the summer between the end of secondary school and beginning of Higher Education, ... [due to] lack of resources, support, guidance, and encouragement.”

This US study found that many of these students are either daunted by, or simply do not even know, what steps to take at what times to further their journey into Higher Education.

Fortunately this has a simple fix: the process of Nudging.


Nudges are simple touchpoints, typically via SMS, that gently remind the student of the next step they need to take as part of their application, or simply as reassurance that the next few weeks ahead hold no surprises.

Often students most susceptible to Summer Melt are those from low income or disadvantaged families, where they may be the first generation to go to university, or not have access to a computer to pick up emails. As such, they won’t have anyone to guide them through the application process, and they may miss a key step over the summer.

Using the automated touchpoint system in Student CRM, recruitment officers can send out these “nudges” to students who may become unwary victims of summer melt.

But use caution, as this can be a double-edged sword.

Too many “nudges”, and the important bits gets lost in the noise. Within Student CRM tyhe ‘Personas’ feature can help highlight who would most benefit from nudging touchpoints, while a range of tools within the system allows you to keep track of the student’s application at every stage.

The trick is to understand your Student CRM data, and draw up a thoughtful and balanced approach to nudging touchpoints, in a way that benefits the student.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Student CRM might be able to help you, please do get in touch.

Large photo by Loïc Fürhoff on Unsplash