College Counseling Corner
Joe Bernard has served as Valley Catholic's College Counselor since 2000. With more than 25 years of college counseling experience, he is Oregon’s first school-based Certified Educational Planner, the highest professional credential possible for College Counselors.
Welcome to the College Counseling Corner
One of the most outstanding features of a Valley Catholic education is the amazing personal attention all our students receive throughout their four years here. I am available to provide individualized counseling and guidance for the Valley Catholic High School community. All high school students are invited to seek assistance at any time they have questions or concerns, but priority is given to the current senior class. This information is intended as an aid to students and families to help them make the college search and application process a fruitful, educational quest. Remember my motto:
“COLLEGE IS A MATCH TO BE MADE, NOT A PRIZE TO BE WON”
Scholarships, Financial Aid, Exploratory Programs and More
Valley Catholic regularly receives announcements for scholarships. The scholarships on the calendar below have been forwarded to this location to make the applications more accessible for students. Scholarships are also posted on the scholarship board next to the main office. Please be aware of deadlines and requirements for submission.
INTERNSHIPS, EXPLORATORY PROGRAMS AND SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES (As these opportunities become available, we will post the information here. Please check back regularly.)
Day-long Perry Initiative program in Portland on Jan. 25 - Apply by 12/18/13:
GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program - Deadline 1/9/14
Anne Ford Scholarship for Students with Documented Learning Disabilities - Due 12/31/13
College Planning Curriculum
Preparing for college begins upon entrance to Valley Catholic. Students receive excellent preparation through rigorous coursework in order to successfully navigate the academic demands of college. I envision all students participating in the following four-year, college planning curriculum.
FRESHMAN YEAR: I typically meet with the freshmen class two to three times during the school year to emphasize the importance of their high school performance. I encourage freshmen to strive for the best academic performance possible, make new friends, and explore new activities. Freshmen typically participate in a guided, mock admissions activity that introduces them to the multiple facets of a qualified college applicant.
SOPHOMORE YEAR: Students are required to take the PLAN exam in October. The PLAN is a preliminary ACT exam and the results are not reported to any colleges. Students have the opportunity to experience an age appropriate college readiness exam. The PLAN includes a thorough career exploration component that provides students feedback to possible career interests. Sophomores typically participate in a school wide, state system college visitation program. I connect with all sophomores through a formal in- class presentation addressing the importance of academic preparation, continued diligence and pursuit of rigor.
JUNIOR YEAR: Junior year begins the formal start of the college search and application process. Through a series of required events, students begin to enter into the world of college selection. In October, all juniors take the PSAT exam. The PSAT is a preliminary SAT exam and the results are not reported to any colleges. Students, once again, have the opportunity to experience an age appropriate college readiness exam. Juniors are encouraged to attend the Portland National College Fair to visually experience the vast assortment of college options. In the first week of second semester, Juniors and one parent or guardian attend “College Planning Night” where students are introduced to the philosophy behind the college search, how to begin the college search, receive a timeline for college selection and what features private and public universities seek in their freshmen class. Students also begin attending unlimited one-on-one appointments with me to discuss and tailor make their college selection plans, discuss testing needs, and arrange SAT or ACT exams.
SENIOR YEAR: Students regularly attend appointments with me to finalize their application needs. I assist seniors with all aspects of the admissions process. In the first full week of school, seniors and one parent or guardian are expected to attend “College Application Night” where the intricacies of the application process are discussed in detail, including in depth information about writing the college application essay. Throughout the fall, seniors attend regular on- campus college visits from universities around the country, attend college fairs, sit for ACT or SAT exams, and eventually submit their college applications. In November, students and parents are invited to attend a “College Funding” evening discussing financial aid. I encourage all students to have the majority of their college applications filed before the start of Christmas vacation.
College Search and Interest Inventories
Many sites exist that help students consider their college and career options. Most are low cost, some require registration, all can give you information as you consider college and beyond. The links below are only the beginning!
Juniors and seniors are advised to register and take the either the ACT or SAT or both exams starting in their junior year. The registration process takes about 45 minutes on each site as both agencies ask for in depth information. Follow the links to get started. Have your credit card handy.
ACT registration: www.act.org
SAT registration: www.collegeboard.com
Financial Aid and Scholarships
The web is rich with financial aid and scholarship information. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is where the world of need based financial aid begins. To start the process go to www.fafsa.ed.gov Detailed Financial Aid information is available each year through our “College Funding Night “ program.
Students are required to complete the personal information sheet, print their responses and submit the completed form to Mr. Bernard no later than 4 weeks before the letter of recommendation is due. Please do not send an electronic copy of your responses unless you have spoken with Mr. Bernard. Click here to access the Personal Information Sheet.