How to Write the Villanova Supplement 2019-2020

Villanova is private Catholic school in Villanova, PA. Roughly 6,500 undergraduates attend the school. Villanova has a highly ranked nursing program and students are die-hard Villanova basketball fans. The acceptance rate for the class of 2023 was 27.7%

Villanova’s supplement consists of three prompts, and you’ll pick one. You’ll submit it using the document upload feature (there’s no official word count) but they suggest one double spaced page, which is about 250 words.  

In the spirit of Saint Augustine, we believe that everyone in the Villanova community learns from each other. What is a lesson that you have learned in your life so far that you will share with others? 

The best way to answer this supplement (all supplements, really) is to break the question down and figure out exactly what they’re asking. Villanova would like to hear about a lesson that you learned at some point during your life. That’s it. And while they don’t suggest that your answer should be in story form, it definitely should be. This is true for many reasons, but the main reason here is that writing about lessons, takeaways, and things of that nature can get very soapbox-y VERY quickly if it’s done in non-story format.  

Here’s what you need:

  • A scene: where did you learn this lesson?

  • A person: who was teaching you this lesson and how did they do it? Did they introduce you to a viewpoint that made you reconsider one of your values? Did they show you what not to do? Did they open your eyes to something you were completely and perhaps blissfully unaware of?

  • The lesson.

Think of small interactions that you’ve had that have, for one reason or another, resonated. The lesson that you choose to write about does not need to be groundbreaking. Sometimes we learn simple, more lighthearted lessons, like when one of our writers accidentally drove her mom’s car into a closed garage door. (The lesson was to always, always check to make sure the door is open). 

And sometimes people introduce us to new ways of thinking and seeing the world, even if they don’t ultimately change your views. That’s also fine to write about. Whatever you decide, show (don’t tell!) them about the interaction by writing a story with a beginning, middle, and end. But don’t let the secondary character overpower your presence in the scene. This story isn’t about the secondary character. That character is just here as a placeholder—they are the personification of the counterfactual argument. There needs to have been a takeaway on your end, and you need to have played a role in the interaction. And seriously, don’t be afraid to keep it light! They’re reading a ton of these essays, and a little bit of humor never hurt anyone.

You may live in one of the busiest cities in all the world or come from a small town with just one traffic light. The place that you call home has probably shaped who you are in some way. Tell us about where you are from and what, from there, you will bring to Villanova. 

This is a question that everyone should be able to answer because you have unlimited material and there are many different directions that you can go in. Villanova wants to learn more about your background and this is not a trick question.  

So, where are you from? We are all influenced by the places that we grew up in and the people that we grew up with. Take Villanova on a walk through your neighborhood. Or better yet, show them your hometown through an interaction. How? Think about the people and places that you think of when you think of home. Is there that one ice cream shop you always go to with your parents on hot summer nights? Or the park you walk to with your friends? There could also be a person (unlimited examples fit here) that you think of when you’re daydreaming about being at home.

Take yourself there mentally (or physically if you can) and write a story about what happens while you’re there. Think about meaningful conversations and experiences that you’ve had and tell Villanova that story.

If you’re from multiple places, meaning that you have moved a lot and still consider a few places home, that doesn’t mean that this question isn’t for you. You can string together multiple ~destinations~ but use transitions to ensure that the final product isn’t choppy.  

The last part of the question, about what you will bring to Villanova, will become clear through the story. Trust us when we say to not break form and say “and from my small town, I will bring (enter characteristic here) to VU!” Just show them the interaction and leave it at that.  

Please describe a choice for change that you have made in your life that has greatly affected your life or the lives of others.  

This question is only for students who have taken some kind of action. No shade to the kids who daydream, but the question says that you need to have actually made a change in your life, so this prompt is not for those who are passionate about something but are still figuring out exactly what to do about it.

We brainstormed internally and found two solid ways to answer this question: 

  1. Think about the things that you’re passionate about, and then ask yourself if you’ve done anything about it. A good answer could be about a LOCAL issue in your neighborhood that you’ve combatted in some way. Don’t think big here! It should be something close to home.

  2. Ask yourself if you’ve ever abruptly changed course in any area of your life.

Whichever option you choose, your response still needs to be about you. Don’t let your essay turn it a piece on an issue. Show them the change that you made, and let the effect it had on yourself and others be made clear through the story that you tell them.

Need help brainstorming? We’re pros at that. Contact us here.