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The 2020 Blog Throwback

Picture of Casey Near
By Casey Near on December, 23 2020 | 3 minute read

Dating back eleven years ago, when our founder Kevin began his ten-year run of the Wise Like Us blog, we’ve always focused on bringing clarity, calm, and joy to this process. And in a year that, well, didn’t bring much of any of those, that was admittedly sometimes a struggle.

But one of my favorite parts of our blog this year was the range of writers and content. Twelve of our counselors and tutors stepped up to write fresh weekly posts, ranging from how to creatively research colleges, to how to study remotely, to best sci-fi reads for teenagers. The content was as vast and varied as this year was long. We focused on what changed, what was in your control (student, guardian, or educator), and how to make some sense of a senseless year. And, sometimes, we just had fun with it (petty literature, anyone?).

With each post we shared, we hope we shed some light on elements of this process that perhaps felt murky (uh, testing anyone?) or completely new (credit/no credit coursework).

So, to commemorate our year in blogging, I’ve shared a round-up of our best posts for seniors to get to the finish line, and for younger students to reflect on the changes of this year and what’s to come.

But, before you dig in, I do want to share one important final reminder for students this year: in a year that’s been exhausting, please remember that your input is just as important as your output. End of year to- do lists can feel like an endless set of tasks, and frankly, nothing is as important as making sure you’re OK. So, first and foremost, focus on what fills you up. Whether it’s making fresh cookies, taking a walk around the block, or calling a friend, remember to do the things that make life feel a little easier these days. The to- do list can wait.

When you’re ready, some things to jump into below…


  • Stuck on the Common App? Check out our yearly Common App Guide for a section-by-section walk-through of how to tackle every part. Better yet, hop into Runway and the free senior course for videos on everything from effectively filling out the activity section to working through supplemental essays.
  • For supplemental essay help, check out our overview of the “identity” question and this thorough play-by-play of how to write your best, most authentic supplemental essays.
  • If you’re still unclear about how testing is factoring (or not) into your application, head toward this decision chart about if to send test scores and this overview of what the heck test optional really means.
  • And, for those of you who had credit/no credit classes this spring, this overview (and guide at the bottom) walks through how it impacts your applications (hint: we promise, it won’t negatively impact you, in any way).


  • For those looking for some for-fun reading (remember that?!) this break, check out this list of books that help cultivate some curiosity.
  • While many colleges haven’t yet made decisions on testing requirements for the Class of 2022 and beyond, this overview defines what test optional really means (and has meant, even before the pandemic).
  • And, for those of you eager to explore colleges, read through this overview of how to do creative and effective college research.

Happy holiday season, all!


About Us: With more than twenty years of experience, Collegewise counselors and tutors are at the forefront of the ever-evolving admissions landscape. Our work has always centered on you: the student. And just like we’ve always done, we look for ways for you to be your best self – whether it’s in the classroom, in your applications, or in the right-fit college environment. Our range of tools include counseling,test prep,academic tutoring, and essay management, leading to a 4x higher than average admissions rates.

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