The start of the new school year officially marks the beginning of the college application process for the Class of 2017 at The Gregory School. For most seniors, crafting the necessary application materials while also taking a full load of rigorous courses is a challenge.

As many colleges are getting increasingly selective, admissions decisions are often highly unpredictable. Many seniors have already expressed their concerns.

Jaiveer Katariya ‘17 said he felt intimidated by the uncertainty of the “big game” despite the efforts he has put into the process. Having talked to most seniors on a one-on-one basis, college counselor David Schindel understands their worries. In a special interview, he gave some great tips to the senior class.

Tip 1: Keep an open mind. Be open to investigating and learning about colleges.

Tip 2: Begin to tease out what you want in a college. Begin to establish your set of criteria.

Tip 3: Be sure you do the best you can do. Earn honest grades.

Tip 4: Prepare well for standardized testing, but know that it is only one part of your application.

Tip 5: Recognize that you are unique. Your story is what differentiates you from other applicants.

Brian Liu ‘16, now a pre-med freshman at Case Western Reserve University, gave some  advice for writing good school-specific essays: “Don’t try to flatter the college. Be honest. State your interests and explain in your own way why you truly like that college.”

Yuxi Xia ‘16, now a freshman at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, said that her personal statement was a key piece to her admission to the prestigious women’s college: “When I finished typing out the last word of my personal statement, I blurted out to myself: ‘This is a Wellesley girl.’”

To those who are still struggling with fear and anxiety, Schindel reminds seniors, “The meaning of college is what you make out of it.” He says that college is not the end of one’s life journey; it is a beginning of another stage.