Seniors, it’s your last summer before embarking on a new adventure — college! However, there is a phenomenon called summer melt, and no I am not talking about feeling like the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz on those June and July days…”I’m melting; I’m melting!” *wait while you google search* No, I’m talking about students who commit to a college but then don’t attend. Just applying and being accepted to a college is half the battle, especially for my first-generation students who made it through the admissions and financial aid processes.

In high school, you typically have a school counselor or mentor who can help with college planning. But after graduation you’re left to continue the process on your own. There could be some obstacles such as confusing paperwork, family responsibilities, pressure not to attend college, fear and doubt, and lack of college knowledge that can feel like a weight on your shoulders. As a first-generation student, I stumbled a couple of times during the summer and relied a great deal on my coach to help me with the process. Of course, I have you all covered with some tips to help you stay on track and avoid summer melt.

You’re college material.

Starting a new chapter might seem scary, and yes you’ll make mistakes along the way; we all do, and that’s a part of life. Remind yourself that you’re college material and you deserve to be on campus. One thing that helped me my first year of college was sharing my excitement, anxiety, nerves, or frustration with my parents. They reminded me of all the hard work I dedicated to my education and volleyball. If you reframe your mind and view college as a possibility, you’ll have the confidence to tackle any obstacle in front of you.

Talk to mentors.

If you have a mentor, seek advice about transitioning to college. Mentors are an excellent source of knowledge, and like parents, are rooting for you to succeed. If you don’t have a mentor, think about the family and friends you have in your corner. This could be a teacher, coach, employer, family friend, etc. I mentioned before, my college coach helped me every step of the way. When I needed to complete my FAFSA he contacted me right away; he let me know about dorm room assignments, and most importantly, gave me the rundown about preseason workouts and his expectations.

Visit your college’s website.

If you haven’t done so, become familiar with your college’s website. There is an abundance of resources regarding important student logins, student life, orientation/registration, the bookstore, and parking permits. You’ll quickly figure out what the college has to offer before stepping foot on campus in the fall. It may relieve some stress and make you better prepared for what’s to come.

Contact EducationQuest Foundation.

I know, I know shameless plug. But hear me out first. We specialize in helping students with college access; which means we could help you every step of the way. Whether it is looking over your award later to make sense of your financial aid, guiding you through the federal loan process, or general questions that you feel stumped on. We pride ourselves on helping students make the most of their college experience.