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Dowling Catholic High School

Private | 9-12


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Living in West Des Moines

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $157,500. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $790.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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19 reviews of this school

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Posted February 23, 2014

I am a student at DCHS and I can honestly say I can recommend it to anyone in the area. Good grades will open up a wide range of opportunities, but average or less advanced students still find their way. DCHS offers a wide range of classes and activities to meet new people. Including many Advance & AP courses with higher opportunities for GPA and slower paced math and science classes. I have a wide variety of friends in different classes and even different religions. It will be easy to make friends here and their are opportunities for everyone.

Posted July 13, 2011

Both of my children have attended Dowling and I could not be happier with the results. The academics are outstanding, there is a true sense of community, and the athletic and extracurricular programs are top notch. I say this not only as a parent, but as teacher who has worked in both public and Catholic schools. Dowling not only prepares students for life in college and beyond with academic rigor, but they (the staff) also help students to develop a sense of personal responsibility that is often lacking in public schools. The tuition at Dowling is quite reasonable when compared to schools of this quality elsewhere in the country, and is a great value when considered in the context of test scores, college placement, and career path of graduates. My wife and I actually moved to Iowa from New England so our children could attend better schools. After performing extensive research, Dowling was our first choice.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 12, 2011

This school is great for the college bound, high achievers, or for anyone who is gifted in athletics, academics, or the arts. Otherwise, I'm afraid to say that an "average" kid sometimes feels lost, left-out and not as happy to be there. Many students have social or academic problems and transfer to a high school where they can be themselves, dress how they want and not have to try as hard to "fit-in". Many of the students only attend there because their parents did and are really unhappy. There is just as much if not more drugs and sexual activities that goes on due to kids who have everything. Also, only a small percentage of kids get to participate in sports so even if you have always been an excellent athelete the chances of playing at Dowling is very slim because there is always someone better than you. I'm glad my child is struggeling to make it through Dowling with most of the tution being paid for by doners - I want my child to have the best education and opportunities available - one of us went to Dowling and the other to one of the public high schools and hands down Dowling is best in every aspect but making the kids feel accepted and making new friends.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 7, 2010

Dowling has had one of the most dominant athletic programs in central Iowa for the last 40 years. In addition, they instill a strong work ethic, and can-do, positive attitude in their students. Academically, 30% of my high school class went on to be doctors and lawyers. The school instills sportmanship; and school spirit is evident in its whole student body. I graduated 29 years ago, and still get excited about their football games. Frequently alums from decades ago, show up as spectators at the games. It is not uncommon for an alum in the NBA or NFL to show up at games as well. Its' facilities are top-notch. Baseball and softball fields like putting greens. Great swimming pool, gymnasium, and weight room. The marching band is top notch, and the campus is picture-esque, with large maple and oak trees. And the tuition is a fraction of the cost.

Posted March 14, 2010

Academically the school is very good. The teachers are sometimes OVER qualified for the positions they are in and ACT, SAT and other standardized test scores prove this. Extra-curricular activities and sports are good too. The drama program is easily one of the best in the state the football, basketball, golf, track, and especially cross-country teams consistently do well. Service clubs provide help to the community and academic clubs like speech and debate and mock trial perform high consistently. And the faith-based education does NOT make us full of ourselves it allows us to love our neighbors and drives us to participate in service activities in Uganda, Brazil, Venezuela, and in the Des Moines area. I can't see myself at any other school and I root everyday for Maroons in every activity.
—Submitted by a student

Posted February 4, 2010

All of four children have attended this school. We believe the teaching is excellent and that our children are prepared well for their college studies.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 31, 2010

My children went to Dowling and were very prepared for college. I liked the closeness of the community also
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 27, 2009

Nice school. No real sense of geographical community.
—Submitted by a student

Posted March 13, 2009

This is a great school. For who ever said that this school should be ashamed to call itself cathoic should be ashamed to say something like that. It is not your place to judge someone elses faith. I learned that at Dowling.
—Submitted by a student

Posted February 7, 2009

Sports teams and other extra circular programs are only average. There are other schools that perform the same acidemcially but much better in the music and sports arenas
—Submitted by a student

Posted September 30, 2008

This school should be ashamed to call itself Catholic. Many of the staff, faculty, alumni and students are so full of themselves they have little time for others. On the academic side, they are more concerned with quantity than they are with quality.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 2, 2008

Dowling is a great school! I graduated from Dowling and hope to send my kids there. I work at South East Polk, but much rather see my kids attend Dowling.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 7, 2005

Dowling is a fantastic school that prepares students for the real world and beyond. With college planning and counseling, getting into the school of your dreams isn't as hard as feels. Dowling Catholic gives students an opportunity to harness their potential and drive it towards planning and tracking their own personal goals. Dowling Catholic prepares Christ-Centered Leaders for life!
—Submitted by a student

Posted February 19, 2005

The school is good, but is more of a drafting school for sports rather than an educational experience.
—Submitted by a teacher

Posted June 30, 2004

DHS (which it will always be) is awesome. I will be a senior this coming fall and I feel nervous but not scared. Dowling has prepared me for everything I have encountered inside and out of school. It is preparation for school, and preparation for life. It also helps that you are persecuted or looked down on for having/living your faith/religion. Prayer is not a crime. The chapel, daily mass, Kairos, and the teachers provide a Christian atmosphere that embraces everyone. Even if you're not religious, Dowling is great academic-wise, with its students' scores usually above the national average.
—Submitted by a student

Posted March 14, 2004

My daughter is a junior at Dowling Catholic this year. It has been a wonderful experience for her these past three years. I was concerned about her going from a very small Catholic school to a large one, but the transition was perfect and she absolutely loves school. I do think involvement is key, as it allows the kids to interact and get to know their classmates. It is also my personal belief that it helps their grades. It's wonderful to know they can pray in the chapel when they need to, or sing songs about God at their concerts. Dowling is everything I hoped it would be and more. I look forward to my son attending next year as a freshman.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 9, 2003

I attended Dowling which is a private Catholic school. I felt at the time that the education was quality, although, tuition in recent years has become quite substantial. When I attended college for the first time, however, I found out that I was at least one year behind all of my fellow fraternity members who attended public high school from a 'strength of curriculum' standpoint. I loved Dowling and the experience - it taught me to be a decent and good human being. However, I am still not convinced that the quality of education is better than a public school, and in fact it may lag behind the public school system in the way it prepares teenagers for the collegiate level of education.

Posted August 19, 2003

We've had three children attend Dowling. The dedication of the staff, the concern for each student, and quality of curriculum and activities offered make this high school outstanding. A majority of the staff have been teachers at Dowling for over a decade; many have master degrees. Yes, we pay tuition; but the price we pay is nothing compared to the quality of education our kids receive. You can't put a price on that.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 10, 2003

When faced with a brilliant student and public school, Dowling was a win-win situation. Dr. Deegan is a wonderful leader and the parents have a lot of input. Thank God for Dowling!
—Submitted by a parent

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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 87% 81%
Hispanic 8% 9%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 3% 2%
Black 2% 5%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 0%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Two or more races 0% 3%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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  • Coed
  • Roman catholic
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  • Diocese of Des Moines
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1400 Buffalo Road
West Des Moines, IA 50265
Phone: (515) 222-1045


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