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Tips on Keeping Incoming Freshmen Engaged Over the Summer Break

For many graduating high school seniors, the school year is finally winding down, prom has come and gone, and they are anxiously awaiting the fall so that they can go off to the school of their dreams for the next chapter of their lives. But, there are many weeks between May and September, so how do you keep these incoming students engaged and excited about the upcoming school year? Here at StudentBridge, we have come up with a list of 6 ways avoid the "summer melt" and to keep these students engaged and excited.

1. Release something new each week of summer for students to log online and "unlock"

Students love free things, especially when all they need to do is log on to a website and click a link. Whether it's a voucher for a free meal on campus, a decal sticker for their computer or even an exclusive sneak peak at the football hype video, each week the student will have a reason to visit your site and be reminded why they selected your institution in the first place.

2. Send videos about campus life via email

Speaking of football hype videos, sharing Video content about campus life is a great way to help your new students get a feel for their new home. Videos of move-in day from previous years or videos from big events on campus are a great way to show some of the things that they will experience in a few short months.

3. Create a Facebook group for the incoming class

Many students may not know anyone else at the school that they have chosen to attend, and an easy way to combat this is by creating a Facebook Group for the freshman class. Even if your institution is primarily made up of in-state students, a Facebook Group is a great resource to help those students who already know each other expand their group, and include these new students and make them feel at home.

3. Hold a series of events

Who wouldn't want to go watch a movie on the football field of their new school? Simple events, such as a movie night, an open house day in which students can tour the buildings in which they will be taking courses, or a student involvement fair gives students a way to connect with their peers before they enroll in classes. This is a great program for schools with a large in-state student body because they can easily come down for the day and get a snapshot of their future college career.

4. Create a series of helpful blog posts

These incoming students are most likely about to move away from home for the first time in their lives, and there is a certain level of anxiety associated with such a big step. Blog posts with personal stories and tips from upper-classmen are a great way to alleviate this anxiety. The best advice they can get is from the people that have recently gone through it!

5. Send them checklists

Checklists to go along with the aforementioned blog posts are another way to alleviate the freshman year anxiety. With all of the things that they are trying to remember in order to get ready for college, it is easy to forget the simplest things. Checklists for deadlines, things to bring on move-in day, and ways to be prepared for the first day of class give students everything they could possibly need, right at their fingertips.

The feeling of excitement that students experience upon receiving their acceptance letter is a moment they will always remember. The combination of creating content and events to get incoming students involved and engaged, while managing those first day of school jitters is the best way to keep this excitement alive and retain the new members of your family.

Check back in next week for the second post of this series, focusing on keeping your current students engaged while they are on summer break!

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