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College Counseling Corner


Welcome to the 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.

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


Please continue to check back. Information will be posted as it is received.


Valley Catholic regularly receives announcements for scholarships.  The scholarships 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.

1.  B. Davis Scholarship: $1,000/Deadline 5/26/14

Please visit for more information and to apply for the scholarship. While you’re there, please browse through the rest of the site to learn more about applying for scholarships.

The deadline for applications is May 26, 2014. Amount of Scholarship: $1,000. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact

2.  AES Engineers Scholarship: $500/Deadline 10/4/14

The consulting firm of AES Engineers is committed to continuing its support of higher education by providing scholarships to deserving students. To be eligible the student needs to answer one of the essay questions that they will find on our website at

They are offering a scholarship that will be awarded on the basis of character, as determined by evaluating the essays that are submitted.

Amount of award: $500
Deadline for entry: October 6, 2014
Further information, including previous winners, is available on the website.

INTERNSHIPS, EXPLORATORY PROGRAMS AND SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES (As these opportunities become available, we will post the information here. Please check back regularly.)

1.  Paid summer research internship that matches students with a cancer-specific researcher. Full time for eight weeks at OHSU.

OHSU's Center for Diversity & Inclusion (CDI) is helping to strengthen the "pipeline” of diverse health care professionals through focused and intentional outreach to students from underserved and under-represented backgrounds.

The organization is accepting applications for summer research and clinical shadowing opportunities, intended for high school students. The Ted R. Lilley Cancer Continuing Umbrella of Research Education (CURE) Project is supported by CDI and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. The program targets high school students to provide hands-on research experience and science exposure to increase participation of historically under-represented and disadvantaged students in biomedical research and health-related fields.

2.  Cedar Mill Library Resume Builders volunteer program: summer commitment

Are you looking for ways to build your resume? In this economic environment, jobs for youth, especially for only the summer months, are hard to find. How you get job experience?

Volunteering may be the answer.

This summer Cedar Mill Library’s Circulation Department is offering a Resume Builders volunteer program for students entering grades 9-12. Since its inception by volunteers in the mid-1970’s, Cedar Mill Library has depended upon volunteers, and this program continues in that tradition. The Resume Builders Program is an opportunity for kids to show they can handle the rigors of a job—commitment, punctuality, responsibility and accountability—while contributing to their community. This is real library work, work that supports the library directly. There is no “busywork.” Students will be expected to be on time for work, to clock in, to report to supervisors, and to correctly perform tasks as assigned. Students who volunteer here tend to be high achievers and to go on to find success in college and beyond.

We are looking for kids who can commit to at least four hours per week, in two-hour shifts, for most of the summer. Training is required in May. Students who complete the summer program will be awarded a certificate that details the work and the skills required to do it--skills they can add to their resume. Complete information and application instructions can be found here.

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!

Testing Registration

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:                                  
SAT registration:

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 Detailed Financial Aid information is available each year through our “College Funding Night “ program.

Student Forms

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.

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