Hundreds of thousands of high school students lost access to their frontline guidance for college admissions when school districts had to opt for remote learning this fall

Collegewise, the nation’s largest college admissions counseling organization, recognized the need to provide a solution and developed Runway, a series of college planning programs and resources available free of charge. 

According to research amassed by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, school counselors play a vital role in students applying for financial aid and attending college, especially low-income students. But even when students are in schools, counselors are stretched thin by high student to counselor ratios and broad responsibilities that only allow counselors to spend about 21% of their time on postsecondary education planning. 

Now, as colleges shift admissions policies to adjust to the impact of the pandemic, counselors face more challenges to meet student needs. Parents and students have more questions about testing, grades, activities, what will be required by colleges for admissions, financial aid and gap years. Counselors are having to field these questions through email and video calls while staying abreast of the constantly evolving admissions policies.

“COVID has turned every aspect of higher education upside down and inside out,” said Casey Near, executive director of counseling for Collegewise. “The college admissions process can be stressful for students and a challenge to navigate under normal circumstances.

“In the face of these unpredictable challenges we knew that Collegewise had an opportunity to rise to the occasion and keep the college dreams of thousands of high school students alive. Low-income students in particular need support right now. Without access to college admissions guidance underprivileged students may never have the opportunity to pursue a degree and we cannot standby and allow the pandemic to affect the potential of these students’ futures.”

Runway is designed to provide the resources that underclassmen need to move forward on their college planning journeys through videos, guides and monthly newsletters with reminders for important deadlines.

Seniors will have access to a step-by-step comprehensive program, “The Collegewise Course for How to Apply to College in 2020.” The course will guide seniors along each step of the admissions process this fall from building a college list to applying for FAFSA to making application decisions and more. There will also be resources for schools and school counselors to help them provide additional support to students during remote learning.

Students, parents, counselors and school administrators interested in utilizing the free Runway tools can sign up at