Villanova is a private Catholic school with an undergraduate body of roughly 7,000 students located in Villanova, PA. The school is big on student engagement, giving back to the community, and NCAA basketball. Last year, Villanova’s acceptance rate fell to 29%.
Before we dive into the supplements, you might have noticed that Villanova doesn’t provide a word limit. Our general guideline is that without a limit, your essay should be around 250-300 words. They also say that your essay should be distinct and different from the essay submitted through the common app, but you knew that already.
The three prompts are broken down below:
1. We believe that all members of our community should be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. How would you contribute to this at Villanova?
We’re not saying this question is a trap, but it’s the hardest of the three to answer. Admissions officers are looking not just for students from diverse backgrounds, but also for those students who are committed to equality and inclusion for all.
In order to answer this question, tell a story about a time in your life that you have exemplified a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Don’t force it, if something doesn’t come to mind easily you’re probably better suited to answer another prompt.
It could be a personal experience - perhaps a time that you stood up for yourself if you were being discriminated against - or a time that you used your position or privilege to stand up for another person who was being treated unfairly.
On that note, this supplement should exude humility. Don’t come off as unaware or overzealous. Stay off of the soapbox: it’s great if you spent your summer break volunteering, but you were still on a vacation that you might not have (probably didn’t) pay for. Not everyone has that opportunity.
On to the second prompt:
2. Saint Augustine believed in the essential connection between the mind and the heart. Tell us about a time that your mind and heart were in conflict and how that was resolved.
We like this more than the first question. Writing about conflict can be a great way to demonstrate personal growth. This prompt is also an opportunity to show another side of yourself, especially if you feel like your compassion and empathy hasn’t appeared elsewhere in your application. The question asks how the conflict was resolved, so think about the ending you want to demonstrate. Show them if your head or your heart won.
The wording of the question makes it clear that they’re looking for something personal, so don’t write about something broad and suggest that you lay awake at night wondering how to solve world peace. That’s too big. You need to think smaller. You might write about a time when your ethics were at risk of being compromised: for example, you offered to help someone with their homework and they offered to pay you to just do it for them. Maybe you saw something occur that you knew was wrong, but let it happen because you didn’t want to go against your friends. Maybe you knew it was time to put down a pet but didn’t want to say goodbye.
It should be personal, but not too personal. Never talk about a breakup or dating.
3. "Each of us strengthens all of us" is a concept that resonates deeply in the Villanova community. While this phrase may mean many different things, one aspect is that Villanovans rely on each other. Share a situation when you have needed help and what you have taken away from this experience. Demonstrate the lesson that you learned and keep it small.
There’s no shame in failing or asking for help, and this prompt gives you an opportunity to show humility. Needing help is one thing, but admitting that you need it shows that you’re able to give up control, grow, and learn from it.
There are two parts to this question. 1) Share a situation when you needed help 2) Explain what you have taken away from that experience.
Think hard about the lesson you learned and how best to show it. The prompt says to keep it small, so don’t use this as an opportunity to humble brag (my worst quality is that I work too hard) or turn your 300 words into a pity party (I never made the baseball team despite years of staying up all night practicing my fast pitch). Focus on the help you really needed and what you learned from the experience and then turn it into a story.
Want to talk about some of yours ideas? We can definitely help.