student-and-alumni-engagement

Cleveland software company Wisr helps colleges connect with students virtually

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Cleveland software company Wisr helps colleges connect with students virtually

Originally published in Crain’s Cleveland Business
July 26, 2020
RACHEL ABBEY MCCAFFERTY 

Higher education software company Wisr has been adding to its product lineup in recent years, expanding beyond its base as a tool for engaging students with alumni.

That was a particularly good choice this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced colleges and universities to look for virtual student supports to replace their in-person events.

“We doubled as a company in March,” said Kate Volzer, co-founder and CEO of Cleveland-based Wisr.

Wisr got its start in 2016. At that time, the software company was focused on creating connections between current students of a school and alumni, who could help them transition to the post-graduation world of work. This was typically aimed at upperclassmen who were a year or two from graduation.

The next step was to look for ways to connect students with support systems outside of a school’s alumni base, allowing schools to bring other students or community members into that support role in the software.

Then, one of its customers expressed an interest in creating a digital space for its incoming class and connecting that cohort to its upperclassmen. Volzer said last year that school saw a dramatic decrease in its “summer melt,” the number of students who enroll but don’t show up on campus in the fall.

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