College / Career Planning

Taking that Next Step

It is West Catholic's goal to prepare all students for their next step in life, whether that might be college, military service or a career.  Explore the sites and tabs below for information about taking that next step.

Naviance (link is external) is a site where you will find information about college events and planning, scholarships, career exploration and goal setting.

If you have any questions about logging in to Naviance, contact Lauri Ford in the Guidance Office at or (616) 233-5909.

Freshman Year

  • Begin to challenge yourself academically.
  • Take the PSAT 9 test (the practice test for the SAT).
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities like athletics, school clubs and organizations, and volunteer opportunities.
  • Complete Learning Style Inventory in Naviance.

Sophomore Year

  • Take the PSAT (the practice test for the SAT).
  • Complete Career Exploration through Naviance.
  • Continue extracurricular involvement.

Junior Year

  • Take the PSAT (practice test for the SAT and Qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Competition).
  • Take the SAT and/or ACT.
  • Schedule a Junior Conference with your school counselor.
  • Meet with college representatives who visit West Catholic.
  • Continue extracurricular involvement.
  • Maintain a strong academic performance.
  • Continue to explore career options.

Senior Year

  • Apply to college.
  • Meet with college representatives who visit West Catholic.
  • Complete scholarship searches.
  • In October complete the FAFSA.

Things to do Throughout High School

  • Challenge yourself academically.
  • Keep a record of all your activities, community service and awards.
  • Obtain information on Advanced Placement Courses, KCTC (, dual enrollment and summer enrichment activities.
  • Attend college fairs.
  • Visit different colleges by setting up visits through the college’s Admissions Office.

College Application Checklist

  • Fill out the college application online through the college’s website or through the Common Application.
  • Request transcripts through Naviance (See transcript tab in Naviance for instructions).
  • Request teacher recommendations if applicable through Naviance.
  • Send SAT scores at (link is external) 
  • Send ACT scores at (link is external)
  • Submit the FAFSA starting in October.
  • May 1st is the deadline for students to declare which college they will be attending in the fall.

Walking around a college campus can give you a feel for what a college is really like. Students should try to go on a campus visit if possible. Even if a student has attended an event at a college, it is still a good idea to schedule an official visit through the admissions office of a college. We highly recommend trying to go on a campus visit when college is in session to get the real feel of the college.

Make the most of the visit – for example, ask to speak with the Financial Aid office or to speak with a student or a professor in a program area of interest. For a list of questions to ask college representatives, stop in the Counseling Office.

Financial Aid Presentations
Financial Aid Night - Every fall, West Catholic hosts an evening event to present information about completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Financial Aid 101 - Financial Aid 101 is a presentation from National Association of College Admissions Counseling.

Online Resources – Website for completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. – Student/parent guide to financial aid. – Site with information on paying for college.  (link is external) – Create a college savings service that uses the purchasing power of parents, extended family, family and students to make it easier to pay for college. – Microscholarships that can be earned at partner colleges for student’s achievements in high school.

Tax credits

There are two education tax credits (link is external) designed to help offset the costs of higher education - The American opportunity tax credit (link is external) and the lifetime learning credit (link is external).

If taxpayers, their spouses, or their dependents take post-high school coursework, they may be eligible for a tax benefit. To claim either credit, taxpayers complete Form 8863 (link is external), Education Credits (link is external), and file it with their tax return.

These credits reduce the amount of tax someone owes. If the credit reduces tax to less than zero, the taxpayers could even receive a refund. To be eligible to claim either of these credits, a taxpayer or a dependent must have received a Form 1098-T from an eligible educational institution. there are exceptions for some students.

Taxpayers can use their Interactive Tax Assistant (link is external) tool on to figure out if they're eligible for either of these credits.

More information:

Interested in playing Division I or Division II sports in college? Visit the NCAA Eligibility Center (link is external) or the NAIA Eligibility Center (link is external) for more information.

Below are resources for those students interested in pursuing the military or trade school.



Harmel Academy of the Trades

​​​​​​​Harmel Academy exists to form tradesmen in faith, skill and virtue.  The program is intended for men who intend to continue on in the study of a specific skilled trade or defer their entrance into college or a career in order to gain the skills to become excellent, capable and responsible.  Please click HERE (link is external) for more information.