Cooling DC's Summer Melt


Local data revealed that approximately 25% of DC public high school graduates who are admitted to college do not ultimately enroll or attend – a challenge commonly called “summer melt.” Raise DC is supporting two partners – DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) and American University’s Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success – in reducing this rate through a tool in nearly every student’s pocket: their cell phone.

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The partners launched a texting platform in May to reach incoming college freshmen and sophomores with text messages that provide reminders about a number of topics.

American University hired graduate student employees to provide timely responses to recipients’ follow-up questions. The weekly text messages were sent from mid-May through mid-September and have reached more than 3,000 DC youth. More than 115,000 individual text messages were sent. Raise DC will be using an analysis of the summer melt campaign’s effectiveness to inform its postsecondary strategies in 2019.