College Planning & Registrar

College Planning

Welcome to College Counseling at Dowling Catholic High School! Colleen Koppes provides personal support at every stage of the college search and application process.

Step 1: Preparation

The first step in preparing for college is to plan visits and complete the appropriate course work during high school. Parents and students should begin planning as early as freshman and sophomore year.

Representatives from several colleges also visit Dowling Catholic in the fall and spring semester.

Step 2: Applying to Colleges

Students may begin applying to colleges following their junior year. It is important to visit college websites for detailed information on specific admissions requirements, deadlines and instructions regarding the application process. Please note, many colleges and universities have moved to test optional admissions criteria. Please take a look at the list of test optional colleges and universities.

Step 3: Paying for college Tuition

Your student may qualify for scholarships and/or federal or state loans and/or grants to assist with college tuition. It is important to apply early and track specific application deadlines. Be mindful that the requirements and amounts for  scholarships vary at each school.



In the first year of high school, students are encouraged to focus on themselves — primarily on their academic life, to challenge themselves, and to find their interests and passions both in and outside the classroom. This is the time to develop work and learning habits.


Students continue to hone academic and extracurricular identities. Counselors introduce themselves again and introduce the college prep tests 10th graders take this year: the practice ACT and the PSAT. While it is early to be specific about certain colleges, conversations about general college characteristics may be helpful and fun. These characteristics may include school size, location, majors offered, co-ed vs. single sex, religious affiliation, cost and sports programs. If travel brings you near a college, you may want to take a tour, strictly as a non-stressed tourist.
  • October - Take PSAT.
  • Winter – Study PSAT results to analyze academic strengths and weaknesses; focus on improvement where needed.
  • April – Take PreACT.
  • Summer - Consider attending virtual college information sessions or touring some local colleges as examples of certain categories of schools, such as large public, small liberal arts, or medium-size Catholic.


The college search process begins in earnest. An in-person college visit is helpful for the student to determine the right fit. College tours, open houses and information sessions are available by contacting specific colleges. Please contact Colleen Koppes for assistance in planning your college visits. Be ready to look closely at yourself and to think about the kinds of learning environments that appeal to you.
  • October – Take the PSAT. Look at your calendar and start to set aside dates to take the ACT and SAT over the year. Consider test preparation.
  • January-February – Work with Mrs. Koppes on researching colleges, and developing a good list of schools that fit your desires and profile.
  • March-May – Continue researching colleges; maybe visit some. Begin to narrow the list. Mrs. Koppes will hold essay sessions in junior English classes to help you draft a good essay. Mrs. Koppes is happy to have individual meetings with students.
  • June – Continue any college testing as well as in-person college visits.


The culmination of the college search journey. Individual meetings with your counselor continue as needed. Drop-in visits are welcome; we offer essay consultations and field any questions or anxieties along the way.
  • Fall - Retake entrance tests as needed. Complete applications. Athletes apply to NCAA Eligibility Center as soon as possible and request a transcript. Apply for financial aid and continue to research and apply for scholarships.
  • October/November  – Families encouraged to apply for financial aid through FAFSA and continue to research and apply for scholarships.
  • January – Midterm grades sent to colleges with applications as needed
  • April 15 – College response deadline.
  • May 1 – National Reply Date. Deposit must be made to one, and only one, college to hold a student's place.

College Entrance Exams


Students may take the test multiple times as colleges will take the best score. There are several testing sites available in Des Moines, including Dowling Catholic. The ACT is offered three times a year at Dowling Catholic including: September, October, and June. All juniors are required to take the ACT in school the spring of their junior year.

 Dowling Catholic's six-digit code is 161190 and the test center code is 190810. Both are required to register to take the ACT at DCHS. Students may select where to have scores sent when they register at no charge. There is a charge to send scores after registration. For more information and to register, please visit ACT


The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) is taken in the fall of junior year as a qualifying test for national recognition and in preparation for the SAT. The SAT may be taken in the spring of junior year and is generally used by east and west coast colleges and universities as part of their admission requirements.

The PSAT score is used to determine National Merit Scholars. Sophomores are welcome to take the PSAT test for practice purposes but the score used for National Merit designation is from junior year. PSAT booklets are available in the Student Services office and include a practice test. Please visit PSAT or SAT for more information.


We would love to have you visit! Find us on MaiaLearning.

We have many colleges/universities that visit our school in-person or virtually in the fall. Students interested in meeting with admissions representatives should sign up through MaiaLearning. Students needing a space to attend a virtual visit or interview with a college representative at DCHS should see Mrs. Koppes in the Student Services office. Visits typically last 30 minutes.

List of 4 items.

  • DMACC Dual Credit Courses

  • SLU Dual Credit Courses

  • Important Notes

    • The Dowling transcript does not show the dual credit course name/number and isn't recognized as official for college credits. To send St. Louis University or DMACC credits to colleges, you must request an official transcript on the National Student Clearinghouse site after you graduate in Mid-June to the college/university you plan on attending. Important, DMACC will not start sending out transcripts until June 22nd this year. Please note, if you are attending Iowa State you can fill out the following form  - $5 per transcript ordered.
    • To send AP Test results to colleges, please visit:
    • For a duplicate copy of your CPR Card for a CPR course taken at Dowling Catholic High School, please contact: Vicki Steward at 515.273.0768
    • Five colleges, University of Iowa, University of Nebraska-Omaha, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, St. Louis University and the University of Wisconsin - Madison, require all ACT test scores to be received directly from ACT. They will NOT accept ACT test information from high schools. In order to send your ACT scores directly to a college, please visit ACT.
    • Dowling Catholic High School no longer provides class rank.
    • Learn more about Academic Awards & Honor Rolls (pdf)
    • Access the Dowling Catholic Grading Scale (pdf)
  • School Profile

    To learn more about Dowling Catholic, and everything it has to offer, you can view our school profile.


Dowling Catholic High School offers a secure website for former students and corporations to request transcripts and student records online. Current students should request their transcripts through MaiaLearning. Unofficial copies of your student’s transcript may be printed from OnCampus. If you have questions, please contact Mrs. Koppes or Ms. Aina.

Alumni should visit Dowling Catholic High School Records Request to request transcripts.


Please utilize the scholarship search feature under Financial Plan in MaiaLearning to explore local and national scholarships. Deadlines vary.

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Colleen Koppes

    Colleen Koppes 

    College and Career Coordinator
  • Photo of Carol Aina

    Carol Aina 


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  • 33%

    attending an out
    of state school
  • 38%

    of senior class attending
    Iowa State, UNI or Iowa
  • 60%

    attending a
    4-year public school
  • 60%

    attending an in
    state school
  • 77

    different institutions for
    college choices
  • 22%

    attending a
    4-year private school
  • 14%

    attending a
    2-year school
  • 4%

    joined the military or workforce

College Choices of Recent Graduates

AMDA College of the Performing Arts - Los Angeles
Arizona State University-Tempe
Ave Maria University
Belmont University
Benedictine College
Boston College
Boston University
Buena Vista University
Catholic University of America
Central College
Coastal Carolina University
College of Saint Benedict
Creighton University
Des Moines Area Community College
Drake University
Ellsworth Community College
Florida State University
Fordham University
Gonzaga University
Grand Canyon University -Traditional Campus
Grand View University
High Point University
Hobart William Smith Colleges
Holy Cross College
Illinois State University
Iowa Central Community College
Iowa Lakes Community College
Iowa State University
Iowa Western Community College
Johns Hopkins University
Johnson & Wales University -Providence
Kansas State University
Kirkwood Community College
Lake Forest College
Loras College
Loyola University Chicago
Luther College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mercy College of Health Sciences
Mount Mercy University
Nebraska Wesleyan University
Northern State University
Pepperdine University
Purdue University-Main Campus
Rhodes College
Rockhurst University
Saint Louis University
San Diego State University
Simpson College
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Texas A&M University-College Station
Truman State University
University of California-Davis
University of California-Santa Barbara
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Denver
University of Georgia
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Iowa
University of Kansas
University of Kentucky
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
University of Missouri-Columbia
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Northern Iowa
University of Notre Dame
University of South Dakota
University of Texas at Austin
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Vassar College
Viterbo University
Wartburg College
Washington University in St Louis
Wyoming Catholic College
Xavier University

Dowling Catholic High School

Dowling Catholic High School is committed to serving the Greater Des Moines Catholic community and embracing learners of all faiths. In an environment that is faithful, caring and dedicated, Dowling Catholic forms each student to become a Christ-centered leader.