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How to Pick Topics for Your 2020-2021 Villanova Application Essays

If you’re applying to Villanova, the oldest and largest Catholic university in Pennsylvania, you will need to write two supplemental essays in addition to the Common App personal statement. The Villanova application essays are a great opportunity to show how your ideas, values, and goals align with Villanovan ideals of critical thinking, ethical and compassionate action, and service to others.


For the first Villanova application essay, there are four prompt options. Let’s look at how to choose the prompt and topic that’s right for you!

Please select one of the four essay prompts listed below to fulfill the writing requirement. Please respond in about 250 words.


Option 1: What is the truest thing that you know? How did you come to this conclusion?

This might be a good topic if you feel passionate about a specific value or belief.

Here’s the key to a great response: How did this value or belief guide your actions?

For example, did this value or belief:

  • lead you to take action in your school or community?
  • inspire you to pursue a goal?
  • help you overcome a significant challenge?


Option 2: Villanovans are known for “holding doors open” because inclusion is at the core of who we are. Take us on a journey through your background and describe how your life experience has shaped your understanding of the word “inclusion”.

The first sentence about “holding doors open” is the key to this prompt. Admissions readers will want to know how you promote inclusion in your life today, and how you will do it in the future at Villanova.

What have you done to promote inclusion in your school, community, activities, or neighborhood? If a specific example comes to mind, this might be a good topic for you.

When you’re brainstorming, try to think of:

  • Details about why inclusion is important to you
  • Details about how your actions made a positive impact on your community


Option 3: Generation Z is arguably the most technologically savvy cohort in history. They find answers to questions, discover troves of new music, or even start the next global social movement, all within seconds. How has this seemingly limitless connectivity influenced the person you have become? 

If you choose this topic, admissions readers will be looking for at least one of the following:

  • How you used technology to explore your interests
  • How you pursued your goals using technology
  • How you made an impact using technology

Let’s look at some example student topics:

  • Interest: I’m teaching myself to code. Every weekend, I create games in Python to practice. I’ve learned that I really enjoy teaching myself things outside of class.
  • Impact: I run a TikTok account about body positivity, and I used my platform to fundraise $5000 for an eating disorder prevention organization.


Option 4: In St. Augustine’s book Confessions, one of the themes is the idea of redemption and second chances. Tell us a story about second chances. It can be your experience or one that you have come across through others or through media.

If you’ve overcome a significant challenge, this could be a good topic for you.

  • If you write about a challenge you overcame: how have you changed since overcoming that challenge?
  • If you write about a challenge someone else overcame: how has that led you to act? For example, did this person inspire you to pursue a new interest, make an impact on your community, or develop a goal? Remember that the goal of your essay is to prove that you are prepared for college, so most of your essay should be about you!



The second Villanova application essay is about why you want to attend Villanova:

In addition, the Admission Committee would like to know why you want to call Villanova your new home and become part of our community? Please respond in about 100 words.

For this prompt, you’ll want to be specific about why Villanova interests you.

  • Curriculum: What do you like about the Villanova curriculum? Try to focus on examples that are unique to Villanova. For example, maybe you’re drawn to certain elective courses or concentrations, professors, research opportunities, or internship programs.
  • Experiences: What experiences can the school offer you? As you brainstorm, you might want to explore Villanova’s website to find examples of activities, campus events, etc. 
  • Traits: What do you like about the student body? Do you like a certain trait of the students at the college, and why is this important to you?

Tip: try to be very specific. For example, if you feel that the Villanova community is passionate about sustainability, you could provide specific examples of campus sustainability initiatives, relevant student groups, etc.

  • Values: Are you drawn to Villanova’s values or mission statement? If so – what are some examples of how the school puts its mission statement or values into action?

This is a short essay, so you don’t need to cover all of these brainstorming topics. Try to include an example from at least two of these categories!

Tip: you may want to hop on Villanova’s website to do research as you brainstorm.

Click here for our guide to the Common App essay

Prompt’s Essay Specialists reviewed 13,000 admissions essays in 2018, helping thousands of students submit their applications with confidence.

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