College Planning Process

To receive assistance with college planning, please contact Erin Gabriel, College Coordinator. Dowling Catholic counselors are available to assist students with recommendations, applications, and transcripts. Please visit Student Services for a complete listing of counselors.

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. Please visit High School Preparation (PDF) for additional information.  

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 Erin Gabriel for assistance in planning your college visits. Representatives from several colleges also visit Dowling Catholic in the fall. Please visit DCHS College Visits for a complete schedule.

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 visit College Application Process (PDF) for additional information.

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. Please visit Resources for Students and Parents (PDF) for detailed information.

College Entrance Test


ACT scores are required for admission at most colleges and all students are encouraged to take the test in the spring of their junior year. Students may take the test multiple times as colleges will take the best score. The ACT is offered six times a year in September, October, December, February, April and June.

There are several testing sites available in Des Moines, including Dowling Catholic. 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.

Notes from the registrar
  • To send St. Louis University credits to colleges, you must contact SLU directly at 314.977.3142.
  • To send AP test results to colleges, please visit AP Scores
  • For a duplicate copy of your CPR card for a CPR course taken at DCHS, please contact Mark McCulloch.
  • The University of Iowa, the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln require all ACT 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.
  • DCHS no longer provides class rank.
  • DCHS offers a secure website for current and former students and corporations to request transcripts and student records online. Current students will receive their first five transcripts for free and will be charged $5.00 per transcript after five. Please visit DCHS Records to make a request. Unofficial copies may be printed from Netclassroom. Please contact Carol Aina, Registrar, with questions.

Dowling Catholic High School  |  1400 Buffalo RD.  |  West Des Moines, IA  |  50265  |  (515) 225-3000