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Abstract

Persistence to graduation begins with engaging the incoming class even before they have made a deposit. Saint Joseph's University developed a framework for combatting the admissions summer melt following a summer where 20% of the deposits were withdrawn. By employing tactics to monitor student engagement throughout the summer and connecting with students during the fall semester, the summer melt now averages 8% and retention to the second semester averages 96.5%. Spending time verifying the cohort of first-time full-time students and assisting students facing obstacles has greatly improved the student experience and retention. Tactics including University Connectors, a New Student Portal, pre-enrollment surveys, and a 5th week check-in are described.