Freezing Summer Melt: Increasing College Access and Success through Text Messaging

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the phenomenon of summer melt – the unfortunate situation in which a student is accepted to a postsecondary institution but fails to enroll or attend. The National College Access Network is pleased to further support college access and success programs through a member benefit we are offering  a Summer Melt Texting Campaign. Through a collaborative agreement with Signal Vine, NCAN is offering members an opportunity to test-drive this proven strategy that can support their students’ transition from high school to college. Although texting can be used as a year-round strategy to engage with students, this opportunity will focus on a four-month summer melt program and allow NCAN members to assess whether this is an effective strategy for your students.

This benefit is specifically geared toward meeting the needs of:

  • smaller NCAN members for whom entering into their own contract with Signal Vine might not be cost-effective, and
  • any NCAN member who wants a short-term opportunity to determine whether texting is a good option for their program.

What is the Signal Vine platform?

Signal Vine is a two-way text messaging platform that enables education organizations to interact with large numbers of students. The platform allows advisors to send personalized, timely, and meaningful messages to their students to drive specific behaviors, activities, and outcomes. Here's how it works:

  • Messages are two-way and interactive: they request either a student action or student response. Students can also text back with a specific question for their advisor.        
  • Message content is programmed in a consistent, well-timed, and relevant way. 
  • Based on a student’s unique response to a text message, subsequent messages are “branched” customized to the next logical behavior/response.
  • The platform captures data on student responses that advisors can see and analyze and then take any additional actions they deem necessary to elicit the desired action or outcome, including sending personalized texts to individual students.
  • Each advisor has their own portal and sees only information on their own students.

How does the Summer Melt Texting Campaign work?

NCAN provides a standard set of messages for this 16-week summer melt campaign to help students with their transition from high school to college. Each participating organization will be able to customize these messages to include program-specific content or important dates and deadlines. The platform allows the organization to send messages to groups of students or individuals alone using the aforementioned “message branching” logic, and can interact with students based on the way they respond to previous text messages. A dashboard allows advisors to see aggregate metrics and results across their students.

But is it effective?

Yes! Since the summer of 2012, uAspire, in partnership with Signal Vine, has implemented text-based outreach services to students to support their transition from high school to college and throughout their first year of college. Results of an evaluation of this project indicate that students who received texts were 7.1 percentage points more likely to enroll than those who didn’t. And of those who didn’t have defined college plans at the end of their senior year, students who received texts were 11.3 percentage points more likely to enroll than those who didn’t.

How much does it cost?

The cost for the Summer Melt Texting Campaign is $5 per student; there are no set-up fees for NCAN members who participate. This includes a standard set of messages for the four-month campaign, which participating organizations will be able to customize and/or supplement at no additional charge.


April 15, 2018 is the deadline to commit to the project. Sign up here.

Signal Vine hosted a webinar to address member questions. The webinar recording can be found in NCAN's Webinar Archives.  

Any further questions can be directed to NCAN Member Services Associate Jamese B. Carrell at


Signal Vine, LLC’s mission is to extend the reach and impact of organizations with text messaging. The company has developed an enterprise text messaging platform for education organizations to enable real-time, two-way text communications which are enhanced by a data-driven, intelligent messaging engine to motivate action at the right time. Signal Vine believes counselors, advisors, and mentors are the critical drivers of positive outcomes for students, so they designed the platform to expand staff reach, allow for more personalized and real-time digital communication with students than email offers, and enable them to more quickly identify those who need their help the most. The design of Signal Vine's technology is guided by the findings of researchers, the use cases of education organizations, and the behavioral needs of students.