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Casey Near is the Executive Director of Counseling at CollegeWise, the largest college admissions counseling company in the United States. In her role as an executive director, she manages all of the company’s admissions counselors, oversees day-to-day operations, and monitors the quality of counseling at CollegeWise. Casey was awarded the title of CollegeWise Counselor of the year in 2015 and CollegeWise Counselor of the year in 2017. Prior to working for CollegeWise, Casey was an admissions counselor at Mills College in Oakland, California. Casey attended Scripps College, where she received a B.A. in American Studies. Tune in to this episode to hear what it takes to break into the college admissions field. 


  • How starting work in college admissions or tutoring teenagers can open you up to working in college counseling (and how being a college campus tour guide can be an advantage!) (3:54) 
  • Why being able to read body language, navigating unspoken anxieties and clearly communicating are all great skills to have in this field (5:53) 
  • How the industry is open to pretty much any major, and how showing excitement and relating to what the students are passionate about makes a difference (7:26)
  • Why Collegewise doesn’t require a graduate degree to be successful, but how knowledge of counseling or business could help you in this field (9:08)
  • How having an impactful mentor or counselor in high school or other formative experiences could help you out (10:26) 
  • Why showing kids and their parents that the college admissions process is easier than they thought is her favorite part of the job (12:28) 
  • Why no part of her job sucks in the grand scheme of things, a realization she came to in light of the coronavirus (13:29) 
  • Why being told that she was equal parts replaceable and irreplaceable when she was quitting her first job was the best career advice she’d ever received (14:28) 
  • How the book The Gatekeepers shows what the admissions process is like from behind the scenes (17:16)
  • If you want to learn more about what Casey does as the ED of Counseling at Collegewise and how she built her career listen to T4C episode #523

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