New externship program combats student ‘summer melt’ to boost enrollment

Monday, July 1, 2019
Written by: Emily Hollingshead

Photo: Seminole County Public School counselors and Seminole State College advisors gather together to increase communication and help more students enroll in college. 

The transition between high school and college can be exciting, but it also can be confusing and intimidating to students. Faced with figuring out financial aid, registration and orientation requirements it is easy to see why students experience “summer melt” where they don’t enroll despite having been accepted to college. 

To combat this melt, Seminole State College of Florida has partnered with Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS) to increase understanding and communication between high school counselors and the College’s advisors. Counselors from the following schools came to the College to shadow advisors for a four-day work week: 

“This is the inaugural year of the externship program with SCPS counselors,” said Dr. Geoffrey Fortunato, associate vice president of student services at Seminole State. “The week-long immersion program will equip the high school counselors with valuable information, training and strategies that will result in improved college transition for their students.”

The counselors completed intake and exit surveys to determine the effectiveness of the externship, showing what they wanted to learn and what they ultimately took from the experience. The externship plans to increase awareness of the College and career readiness pathways available to all students in Seminole County Public Schools. 

Since her work involves a lot of Dual Enrollment students, Hagerty High School Counselor Joan Toro said she attended the externship to learn more about the College’s pathways to make sure that the courses her students are taking are aligned with post-high school. “Plus,” she said, “also get the connections with as many Seminole State people so I have resources and people to contact if I have questions.”

By increasing awareness and connections between high school and college, the counselors and advisors hope to combat the “summer melt” and raise enrollment. Bridging the gap between high school and college will hopefully lessen the students’ stress and increase their engagement, ultimately leading to higher graduation rates. 

“I like the collaboration with us, and I think that, as a school district, we have a good partnership with Seminole State,” said Crooms Academy of Information Technology School Counselor Dr. Vincent Geigal. “So, I think continuing that and doing more activities together will help us to know each other and how we work. I think it will make it even more efficient as we move forward.”

About Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit and get social with us

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