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Career support often disappears as soon as a student graduates, leaving young alumni to fend for themselves.
Denison implemented a program called Design Your Next Five in which young alumni set five-year goals and select a team of “life advisors” to help them reach those goals. Wisr provided the infrastructure that participants use to find and contact the advisors. Young alumni can search for advisors using criteria like undergraduate major, industry, employer, job title, location, and volunteer items. When they find someone of interest, it’s easy to reach out with a direct message or a request for a call, complete with an agenda builder. Participants also join a private Design Your Next Five community for access to relevant articles, webinars, and events.
Juniors, seniors, and young alumni are competing for increasingly competitive jobs and internships, but college curriculum rarely addresses career readiness.
Career development administrators decided to host workshops on three topics: resume and cover letter writing, networking, and interviewing. During the workshops, trained advisors gave students in-person feedback on their resumes and interviewing skills. To provide ongoing support, the advisors and students who met at the workshops received invites to join a community in WisrConnect where they could continue to exchange resume drafts and feedback. Meanwhile, administrators could offer exclusive access to events and resources for workshop attendees through the community.
First-gen and low-income students must overcome challenges like little parental guidance, financial burdens, imposter syndrome, and balancing schoolwork with jobs and families.
UChicago used WisrConnect to facilitate a program to match first-gen students with alumni mentors from similar backgrounds. Having faced and overcome some of the same barriers, the alumni mentors are perfectly prepared to walk students through similar challenges. Beyond mentorship, the program provides communities where members from similar backgrounds can talk one-on-one or join forum-style Q&A discussions.
Student-athletes face unique challenges like managing schoolwork on top of demanding practice schedules and demonstrating the value of their experience while applying for jobs and internships.
Student success administrators created a program to match student-athletes with alumni mentors on Denison’s WisrConnect platform. Participants and their mentors were to touch base twice a semester to set goals and talk about progress. Recognizing that the first conversation can be intimidating, Denison used WisrConnect to suggest check-in agendas and topics of conversation. To make sure students got the most out of the program, Wisr automatically tracked when pairs were connecting and sent reminder emails when they were overdue for a check-in. As more students have joined the program, Wisr has run quarterly reports measuring how long pairs spend talking and the outcomes for students in the program.
Prospective students and parents don’t always have reliable sources to turn to with questions about admissions. Underserved applicants like first-gen and low-income students face even more barriers than peers. On top of the usual stress of applications, these students must overcome challenges like little parental guidance, financial burdens associated with application fees, and balancing applications with jobs.
A network for prospective students and parents lets you provide better support during the admissions process. You can create Q&A communities mediated by trained admissions volunteers to answer prospective students’ questions like
and parents’ questions like
Meanwhile, students with specific needs can get more specialized resources. First-gen students, for example, can take advantage of advisors trained to help with navigating the red tape surrounding applications. Minority students can find information about scholarships they’re eligible for.
Throughout our conversations with over 300 institutions that have worked with us or attended a Wisr summit, we’ve observed that women are glaringly underrepresented in upper-level positions in higher ed. The research agrees. According to the American Council on Education, only 30% of university presidents are women, and only 5% are women of color.
To drive conversations about this underrepresentation, Wisr launched a ten-city summit series called HIGHER. The series gathered outstanding women who work in higher education to address challenges like finding mentorship and advancing above the glass ceiling. A pattern began to emerge: women in higher education benefit when they can connect with women who’ve had similar experiences. To facilitate more of these connections, Wisr provides networks for professional development for women staff and faculty. WisrConnect provides infrastructure for intersection communities like:
and facilitates conversations on relevant topics including:
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