For the first Villanova-specific essay, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts, experiences, and opinions. Choose one of the four 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? 

If you have joined – or started – a club or organization in your school or community related to advocacy, equity and justice, then this is the question for you! Describe not just the group or population for whom you are advocating, but give more information about you. Why did you join this group? Why was this cause important to you? How did supporting others affect you personally? Will this carry over to your time at Villanova? You can also answer this question if you have helped just one person in your community – perhaps someone was bullied or mistreated, and you helped that individual. Remember, this is a chance to demonstrate to the university who you are and how you have made a difference to others.

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.

Identity can mean so many different things: religious, cultural, gender, sexual, ethnic, racial…. Everything is valid here. Were you stereotyped because of your ethnicity? Did/do others identify you as one gender when you identify as another? Do people think you can’t be good at sports because you’re smart (or vice versa)? The list goes on and on. This is not, however, the place to choose a humorous topic. There will be plenty of opportunities to be funny (or attempt to be funny) in other essays. This doesn’t have to be brooding and depressing, but this isn’t a lighthearted topic; don’t make the mistake of writing it that way.

Prompt Three:

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

The lesson you want to share with admissions officers can be anything! When brainstorming topics for this essay, don’t just consider large, life-changing lessons; instead, sometimes a small and simple lesson can be just as important and meaningful. When you come up with a lesson that you want to share, give some color and details: Who taught you this lesson and why? What did you personally learn from the lesson, either literally or figuratively? Why was it an important lesson for you to learn at all? How have you changed or improved, if at all, because of this lesson? The question asks you simply about the lesson, but push yourself to answer these questions as well as why you think it is important for others to know this lesson too.

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?

This is one of those prompts where students love to write about sports. Their soccer team made it to the state championship and it wasn’t until they learned to play cohesively as a team that they were able to succeed. There can be a compelling story with that topic but, honestly, there rarely is. Instead, this is a chance to talk about you as a friend, as a family member, as a part of your community. It can be something that involves many people or a small group. The only part that does matter is that it’s you. Don’t choose an example that you didn’t participate in. That isn’t your story to tell. Tell the one that you’re a part of and explain how you were affected. The admissions committee wants to know more about who you are and where you’ve come from; make sure you tell them.

Writing Supplement #2: Why Villanova? (2023-24)

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

Please respond in about 150 words.

Don’t just tell Villanova admissions officers why VU is such a fantastic university. (They already know that! After all, they work there – and many of them attended the university.) Instead, you need to describe why Nova is a great fit for you. Why are you interested in attending? Is it the location? The beautiful campus? Be specific: What about its location or campus appeals to you? What about academics, majors, programs or professors? Perhaps it’s their basketball team that first got you interested in Villanova, but then you realized it’s one of the best business schools in the country? If you get a chance to visit the campus, you absolutely should – and take notes and pictures on your visit to jog your memory as you write this essay. Related to this, you should closely review the viewbook that you receive in the mail to learn more about VU, attend an online information session, and even talk to students about their experiences. All of this will let Nova know that you are indeed a great match.

About the author
Marc Zawel

As author of Untangling the Ivy League, Marc literally wrote the book on gaining admission to highly selective colleges. He earned a BA from Cornell University – where he met AcceptU’s co-founder – and an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Marc chaired the admissions advisory board; he has also conducted alumni interviews for Cornell for more than fifteen years.

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