Villanova Supplemental Essays 2023-24 – Prompts & Advice

July 28, 2023

Villanova University’s 20.5% acceptance rate for the Class of 2027 is less than half of what it was as recently as 2015. Today, admitted students earned a mid-50% SAT of 1450-1520, and you typically need mostly A’s in AP/honors courses to have a serious shot at acceptance. Writing excellent Common App and Villanova supplemental essays is also an incredibly important piece of the admissions puzzle for wannabe Wildcats.

(Want to learn more about How to Get Into Villanova? Visit our blog entitled: How to Get Into Villanova University for all of the most recent admissions data as well as tips for gaining acceptance.)

In this blog, we will look at the Villanova supplemental essays for the 2023-24 admissions cycle along with tips about how to write essays that will win over admissions officers.

Villanova Supplemental Essays #1: Free Choice (2023-24)

For the first Villanova-specific essay, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts, experiences, and opinions. Choose one of the five topics below and submit a written response in about 250 words.

Prompt One:
St. Augustine states that well-being is “not concerned with myself alone, but with my neighbor’s good as well.” How have you advocated for equity and justice in your communities? 

Some students may have more direct experience with equity social justice issues than others, but—no matter your background—this is an opportunity to demonstrate that you care about justice and fairness in your local community as well as the global community. If applicable, you can speak about a time when you spoke up for a peer in a moment of need or, alternatively, an instance when you got involved in a larger cause or movement (politics, activism, volunteer work, etc.). If you don’t happen to have a deeply personal story to tell in this realm, you’ll probably want to select a different prompt. While there’s nothing wrong with simply articulating your basic beliefs in the values of inclusion, equity, tolerance, and diversity, it doesn’t necessarily make for the most compelling essay.

Prompt Two:
As an Augustinian community, we believe that you should see people for who they are. Please share with us a time when you were misjudged based on your identity or background.

The wide-open nature of this prompt is appealing to many applicants, but the high degree of freedom can easily turn intimidating if you don’t keep this one simple. This is a great space in which to communicate about what you care most about in life whether that happens to be historical political patterns, differential calculus, subatomic particles, Peruvian culture, or metaphysical poetry. The bottom line is that you want to convey your passion for a given concept, belief, or philosophy and reveal a bit about the core of your soul in that process.

Villanova Supplemental Essays (Continued)

Prompt Three
In the Villanova community, we believe that we all learn from one another. What is a lesson in life that you have learned that you would want to share with others?

Prompt #3 is trying to assess what type of community member you would be as part of Villanova’s campus. The university greatly values those who have gained wisdom from their extracurricular involvement and leadership while in high school. In fact, the admitted Class of 2026 cohort included 83% who participated in community service, 64% who held paying jobs, and 82% who played sports. This essay presents the chance to communicate the wisdom you have acquired from participation in your present communities; then, you can switch gears to illustrate how the lessons you have learned will impact your future collegiate community.

Prompt Four
At Villanova, we often say “each of us strengthens all of us.” In a time of personal challenges, how do you borrow from the strength of others?

Prompt #4 is also getting at the idea of community, but in a very specific context—how you lean on your family, friends, and social & religious organizations during times of struggle. So, why did they add this brand-new prompt? What is the Villanova committee really getting at here? In short, every college freshman is going to encounter some significant challenge, whether it is in the academic, social, or personal realm. Nova wants to see that you a) mature enough to acknowledge your own human frailty and b) are the type of person who can seek out help when needed. If you have a story of this nature from your high school experience, this may be an excellent fit for you.

Essay #2: Why Villanova? (2023-24)

Prompt: Why do you want to call Villanova your new home and how will you become part of our community? 

Please submit a written response of about 150 words.

Villanova wants to know why you desire to pursue your studies at their institution and how you will become part of their campus community. Answering both components of this question in less than 150 words is no easy task. This one is going to require a fair amount of school-specific research. Additionally, you may need a good deal of editing to tighten up your essay to stay under the word count.

Villanova Supplemental Essays (Continued)

Examples of items that quality “Why Villanova?” essays touch upon include:

  • 98% of first-year students live on campus creating a cohesive atmosphere.
  • Students come from roughly 50 foreign countries so you’ll meet people from all over the country/world.
  • 300+ student organizations exist on campus. Pick one or two that are of interest to you.
  • Students donate 250,000 hours per year to community service. Talk about how you will get involved.
  • Talk in detail about the specifics of your academic program whether it is one of the 47 majors in the College of Liberal Arts & Science or part of the business, engineering, or nursing schools.
  • Discuss which undergraduate research opportunities at Villanova you plan to pursue.

Villanova Supplemental Essays (Continued)

  • How will you take advantage of the school’s location which is 12 miles outside Philadelphia? Think about community service, internships, etc.
  • The Office of Education Abroad offers a multitude of semester, summer, and intensive programs abroad. How would you take advantage of these unique opportunities?

Of course, these are just a fraction of the possible features that could be part of a successful essay. As you enter the prewriting stage, you’ll want to avoid some common pitfalls that we observe applicants fall into when attacking the Villanova “Why Us?” essay. We don’t want to label these as “mistakes” (there is nothing inherently wrong with them); they just don’t add any needle-moving value, which is the only goal here!

Common components of a generic “Why Us” essay

  • According to US News, Villanova University is a top 50 school.
  • Showing love for the Villanova basketball team.
  • Recycled statements from your other “Why Us?” essays that come across as stale, impersonal, or worst of all–irrelevant/inaccurate.
  • Statements about how Villanova “feels like home”, or you’ve “wanted to attend since kindergarten”; show this adoration through specifics instead.

Villanova Supplemental Essays (Continued)

How to write a winning “Why Villanova?” essay

  • Address a) why Nova is the perfect fit for you and b) why you are the perfect fit for Nova.
  • Cite specific academic programs, professors, research opportunities, internship/externship programs, study abroad programs, student-run organizations, etc. (like the suggestions cited above).
  • How will you become an active, contributing member of the student body?
  • Show evidence of how your past/current endeavors will carry over onto Villanova’s campus.
  • How will you take advantage of the university’s tremendous resources both inside and outside of the classroom?

How important are the Villanova supplemental essays?

Three factors are viewed as “very important” to the Nova admissions committee. These are: the GPA earned, the rigor of one’s curriculum, and class rank. Seven factors rate as “important”: recommendations, essays, extracurricular activities, talent/ability, character/personal qualities, work experience, and volunteer work. Clearly, the essays are one of the most important application components for any prospective Wildcat.

Villanova Supplemental Essays – Want Personalized Essay Assistance?

If you are interested in working with one of College Transitions’ experienced and knowledgeable essay coaches as you craft your Villanova supplemental essays, we encourage you to get a quote today.