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Location & Contact Details

Office Hours

Monday – Friday
7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Address:

West Catholic High School
1801 Bristol Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Events Calendar

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College & Career Planning

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 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 Counseling Office at [email protected] or (616) 233-5909.

Yearly Preparation
Applying to College
Campus Visits
Financing
Athletic Eligibility
Military / Trade

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 (thetechcenter.org), 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 collegeboard.org
  • Send ACT scores at actstudent.org
  • Submit the FAFSA starting in October.
  • Apply to scholarships (see a list of scholarships submitted to the WC Counseling Office in the section below).
  • 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 the National Association of College Admissions Counseling.

Online Resources

  • fafsa.ed.gov – Website for completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  • finaid.org – Student/parent guide to financial aid
  • consumerfinance.gov/paying-for-college – Site with information on paying for college
  • upromise.com  – 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
  • raise.me – Microscholarships that can be earned at partner colleges for a student’s achievements in high school

Tax credits

There are two education tax credits designed to help offset higher education costs – The American opportunity tax credit and the lifetime learning credit.

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 8863Education Credits, 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 tool on IRS.gov 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 or the NAIA Eligibility Center for more information.

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

Military

  • Military  – requirements, branches and military academies

Trade

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 for more information.

College Scholarships

Outside Scholarships

THE GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIPS
The Grand Rapids Community Foundation Scholarship is open.  Scholarship applications for the 2023-2024 academic year are available from December 1 until March 1. All applicants will receive an email with decisions in the second week of May.  Completing one general online application enters you in the selection process for more than 80 need-based scholarship funds.

These are the materials you’ll need for the application:

List of awards and volunteer/employment/extracurricular activities/family responsibilities
Academic transcript from your most recent semester. High school seniors must include first-semester senior year
An essay about your reasons for your choice of college, chosen course of study, career goals, plans for financing your education, and information on past activities benefiting your community
Your financial information including family income

You can also visit this website for more information and additional scholarships! https://www.grfoundation.org/apply-for-scholarships/general-application

AMAZON FUTURE ENGINEERS SCHOLARSHIP

Amazon will choose 400 high school seniors across the nation to receive $40,000 for college and a guaranteed engineering internship at Amazon following their freshman year. If you have students in mind for this opportunity, please see amazonfutureengineer.com/scholarships for more details. The application deadline is Jan. 20, 2023.

NEW YORK LIFE AWARD

The New York Life Award offers $1,000 scholarships to students in any state whose artistic (writing and art) works explore personal grief and loss. State scholarships of $500 are also available to two students from each of the following states: California, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas. All students in grades 7–12 are eligible to participate. Regional deadlines vary and are as early as Dec. 1, 2022. Teens can visit artandwriting.org/nylife to find out their regional deadlines and how to apply.

CALVIN UNIVERSITY ENTRADA SCHOLARS PROGRAM

If you are a minority student pursuing a college education, Entrada is for you.  The Entrada Scholars Program is an exclusive opportunity to experience life as a college student.  You’ll spend four summer weeks on camus getting a head start on your college career.  For more information click HERE

LAKE MICHIGAN CREDIT UNION LLOYD F. HUTT SCHOLARSHIP

The Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) is thrilled to be offering the Lloyd F. Hutt Scholarship for the 33rd year.  Every year 20 high school seniors are selected from a field of applicants to receive a $2,000 scholarship.  All applicants are asked to write an original essay that explores a designated topic. Deadline for entries is 1/31/2023.   For the topic and more information click:  LMCU link

MARY JANE DOCKERAY SCHOLARSHIP

This is a named scholarship honoring the legacy of Mary Jane Dockeray (1927-2020), founding curator of the Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids.

Each year, the Mary Jane Dockeray Scholarships are awarded to graduating from high school seniors from public or private schools in the Kent, Muskegon, and Ottawa Intermediate School Districts with an interest in pursuing a career in science. Two $2,500 scholarships will be awarded this year to graduating seniors who plan to pursue a career in science.   For more information click HERE

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MI FUTURE EDUCATION FELLOWSHIP

The MI Future Educator Fellowship offers aspiring teachers a scholarship to eliminate or lower the cost of tuition while they train to be educators. Awards cover the cost of tuition and fees up to $10,000 and are renewable for up to three years. Students that receive the award commit to teaching in Michigan classroom for at least three years after graduation.   

To be eligible, future educators must be working toward their first teacher certification, start training in Fall of 2022 or later, earn at least a 3.0 GPA and be a Michigan resident. You can apply through the MiSSG Portal. 

For full eligibility requirements and to apply, visit Michigan.gov/mistudentaid. Scholarship funds are limited and will be awarded on a first come, first served basis.

GRAND RAPIDS RIGHT TO LIFE SCHOLARSHIPS

High School Oratory Contest – Deadline is March 1, 2023.  For more information click HERE

Pro-Life Essay Contest Deadline is December 1, 2022.  For more information click HERE

ELKS NATIONAL FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIPS

Most Valuable Student Contest – Applications can can be found at enf.elks.org/MVS  Deadline is November 14, 2022.

Legacy Awards – Application can be found at enf.elks.org/LEG  Deadline is February 6, 2023.

UNIVERSITY CLUB OF GRAND RAPIDS SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION

This scholarship has been established for individuals who intend to build, support and serve the West Michigan community after college graduation.  Please note:  This scholarship has been confused with the University of Michigan Club of Grand Rapids.  This scholarship has NO affilitation wiht the University of Michigan, nor the University of Michigan Club of Grand Rapids.  Applications can be found in the School Counseling Office.  Deadline to submit to the School Counseling Office is February 10, 2022.

DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (DAR) awards multiple scholarships to students showing dedication to the pursuit of higher education in diverse areas of study including history, economics, law, political science, medicine, nursing, occupational and physical therapy, elementary and secondary education, chemistry, math, science and English.

DAR’s scholarships are awarded and judged without regard to gender, race, color, religion, national origin, or disability.

  • Applicants must be citizens of the United States.
  • Applicants must attend or plan to attend an accredited college or university in the United States.
  • All multi-year scholarships, typically renewable up to four years, must be for consecutive years of attendance.
  • Awards are based on academic excellence, commitment to the field of study, and/or financial need, or other restrictions on specific scholarships.
  • Awards are placed on deposit with the recipient’s college or university and any unused portion shall be returned to the DAR.
  • Applicants are only eligible to receive one scholarship from the DAR.

The DAR Scholarship Committee Now Has an Online Submission Process
DAR is pleased to announce all students applying for scholarships offered by the DAR Scholarship Committee will submit their applications using the online application portal below.  Emailed or mailed applications will no longer be accepted, unless applying for the Margaret Howard Hamilton Scholarship.  Application opens on November 1, 2022 and the deadline is January 31, 2023.  For more details click HERE

Scholarships for WC Graduates

The following scholarships are exclusively offered to West Catholic graduating seniors unless otherwise noted.

Frank & Mary Hernes Scholarship

Deadline: May 6, 2023 (submit to President/CEO)

This scholarship is open to graduating seniors at West Catholic and Catholic Central who will be attending a 2- or 4-year college.

–  Financial need will be a primary consideration for this scholarship.
–  Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
–  Applicants must have completed 40+ hours of community service.
–  Applicants must have demonstrated a respect for authority, obeyed school rules and maintained a high attendance record during high school.

To Apply:

–  A report card verifying a minimum GPA of 3.0
–  Documentation of community service
–  Applicants must submit a two-page essay explaining how the Catholic education they received at West Catholic has prepared them for the secular world they will encounter.

Mary Kay VanDriel Future Female Health Care Leaders Scholarship

Deadline: April 30, 2023 (submit to Counseling Office)
Award Amount: $500-$2,500 (based on number of applicants)

The Mary Kay (Kempker ’76) VanDriel Health Care Leadership Scholarship will be awarded to a female West Catholic senior who will be going on to college to study and eventually work in the healthcare field. The goal of the scholarship is to encourage more young women to advance to healthcare leadership positions. The scholarship also aims to help develop a mentorship mentality, both seeking guidance from mentors and also eventually becoming mentors themselves as they advance in their post-graduate professional careers. (Pay it forward.)

NOTE: This scholarship is to be used for college tuition, books, supplies and living expenses. It is good for freshman year in college ONLY and is NOT renewable each year.

The scholarship guidelines are as follows:

1)  Must be a West Catholic senior female graduate going on to their freshman year in college
2)  Must be identified by the teaching, counseling staff and peers as a leader
3)  Must have a desire to study and work in healthcare
4)  Must have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 at the time of application
5)  Must complete a 1-2 page message to include all of the following points:

–  Understanding that plans and college majors may change as you advance through college, explain why you are interested in healthcare.
–  Describe how you see yourself contributing to the advancement of healthcare and how you will use your successes to help with the mentorship of other females interested in healthcare.
–  Identify the values instilled by your family and the West Catholic education experience.