UPDATE! The prompts for the Villanova Application Essay have changed for 2019-20. Check out our updated guide here.
Villanova, the oldest and largest Catholic university in Pennsylvania, is very selective in its admissions. The Villanova application essay provides a great opportunity to show how your own ideas, values, and goals align with distinctive Villanovan ideals of truth, unity, love, and helping others, so it’s crucial to choose the right prompt and topic.
The admissions reader wants to see a solid structure, with a thesis statement and supporting paragraphs. Your thesis should summarize your answer to the prompt in 1-2 sentences. For each of the three prompts, let’s look at how to come up with ideas for a thesis that showcases your personality, opinions, and experiences.
We believe that all members of our community should be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. How would you contribute to this at Villanova?
Regardless of your race, religion, or sense of identity, if you can pinpoint concrete ways you’ve pursued these ideals, this could be the prompt for you! Perhaps you stood up to bullies, started a club, or wrote an article for the school paper. Then, research resources or organizations within the Villanova University community that you see yourself getting involved with (for example, the Villanova Women in Business Society, or the student group LEVEL). For your thesis, summarize and connect your past efforts and future plans. For example: “Volunteering with Special Olympics has inspired me to continue helping athletes with disabilities succeed.
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.
Don’t get overly philosophical here—use specific details from your experience. For example, perhaps you yearned to join your friends on a summer trip, but your judgement exhorted you to work and save up money instead. Your thesis can highlight what you learned from grappling with this dilemma—even if you couldn’t resolve it as perfectly as you might have hoped.
"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.
Don’t be afraid to admit you needed assistance. The key here is to show a clear, significant mind change about the idea of needing help from others. Also, notice that the prompt doesn’t actually mention “getting” help; you might describe insights you gained when help you needed wasn’t available. Your thesis can sum up how and why your mindset changed.
To structure your essay, include your thesis in your introduction and then use 2-3 supporting paragraphs to illustrate your main points with specific details and examples.
Choose the Villanova application essay prompt that best allows you to express who you are. Impress your readers through honesty, insight, and clarity, rather than by writing what you think they want to hear. By complementing your Common App Essay, your Villanova application essay will give readers a fuller picture of your character and ideas.