villanova university supplemental essay guide
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Not sure how to approach the Villanova essays?’s guide to the Villanova supplemental essays will show you how to write engaging Villanova essays and maximize your chances of admission. If you need help crafting your Villanova supplemental essays, create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.

Villanova Essay Guide Quick Facts:

  • According to U.S. News, Villanova University is considered a most selective school with an acceptance rate of 31%.
  • The Villanova University ranking is #49 in National Universities.
  • We recommend answering all Villanova supplemental essays comprehensively and thoughtfully.

What is Villanova ranked?

Villanova is a private Catholic university located in Villanova, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. They are also the only Augustinian university in the United States. Every year, U.S. News & World Report publishes its rankings of the Best Colleges in the United States. Each of the 1,466 bachelor’s degree-granting institutions in the U.S. is evaluated based on 17 performance indicators of academic quality. These include application requirements, student-to-faculty ratio, campus life, and more.

The Villanova University ranking is currently tied at #49 with Lehigh University, Northeastern University, Ohio State University (Columbus), Pepperdine University, and Purdue University. The Villanova University ranking undoubtedly contributes to their current acceptance rate of 31%. However, don’t let the Villanova University ranking deter you from applying.

Remember, the Villanova University ranking won’t directly impact your admissions results. To maximize your admissions odds, then, don’t focus on the Villanova University ranking. Instead, just try to write the best Villanova application essays you can. After all, strong Villanova essays can make a major difference in the admissions process.

Similarly, the Villanova University ranking shouldn’t be your only reason for applying. As a Top 50 school, Villanova receives many applications from students who only apply for reasons of prestige. As you build your college list, focus on finding the best schools for you. The Villanova University ranking can be a useful tool; however, you shouldn’t base your decision to apply on the Villanova University ranking alone.For a deeper understanding of the Villanova University ranking, and college rankings in general, check out’s expert guide.

Does Villanova University have any supplemental essays?

Yes. Villanova University requires two short supplemental essays in addition to the Common App Personal Statement. One of the Villanova supplemental essays lets you choose from five Villanova essay prompts.Your Villanova supplemental essays must be different than your Common Application essay. All applicants must complete two Villanova supplemental essays. However, you can choose which Villanova essay prompts to answer.Not sure how to choose a Common App essay prompt? Get some helpful tips from our essay guide.

How do I write the Villanova supplemental essay?

Consider your options

First, read the five Villanova essay prompts. Then, think about what you want to convey in your Villanova supplemental essays. Consider each option, since the Villanova essay prompts are quite unique. We’ll list out the Villanova essay prompts later in this guide.Don’t choose a prompt at random—your Villanova application essay will be strongest if your topic matters to you. So, make sure you remain deliberate as you choose a prompt for your Villanova application essay.

Try freewriting

Still not sure how to start your Villanova essays? Start with a reflection exercise. First, sit quietly with your thoughts for five to ten minutes. Looking at the Villanova essay prompts, do any topics come up that connect to your identity, experiences, or values? What thoughts stand out to you? Additionally, how might this thought reveal some aspect of your identity or interests? Then, connect your reflections to the Villanova essay prompts. Is there a part of your identity that you can highlight with one of the Villanova essay prompts? Do you have an extracurricular activity, leadership role, or life experience that connects to one of the Villanova supplemental essays?

Consider your application narrative

Additionally, think about how each topic fits into your application narrative. Your personal narrative plays a crucial part in the college application process, and the Villanova essays help form this narrative. As you write, then, look for themes across your responses. These themes will make up your candidate profile, so make sure they’re clear.

Trust your instincts.

If you instantly feel a connection to one of the Villanova application essay prompts, then choose that one. You will write stronger Villanova essays if you feel attached to your topics, and thoughtful essay responses will increase your admissions odds.Still having trouble choosing from the Villanova supplemental essay prompts? Need some extra motivation to help you get through the process? If so, read our article for more tips on how to write a great essay.

What are Villanova University’s essays?

There are two required Villanova supplemental essays in the 2021-2022 Common App. We have listed the prompts for the Villanova supplemental essays below. We’ve also included tips on how to complete each of the Villanova essay prompts.Each of the Villanova essays is short—less than 250 words. However, don’t let the length of the Villanova essays intimidate you. Instead, jump right in, get to the point, and make every word count.For a full list of application requirements aside from the Villanova essays, please visit Villanova’s website.

Villanova Supplemental Essay – Question 1 (Required):

For the first Villanova-specific essay, we have offered a range of topics to pique your interest. 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 1: 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? (250 words recommended.)

Prompt 2: What is the truest thing you know? (250 words recommended.)

Prompt 3: One of the themes in St. Augustine’s book, Confessions, is the idea of redemption. Tell us your story of being given a second chance. (250 words recommended.)

Prompt 4: 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? (250 words recommended.)

Prompt 5: Augustine’s “Miracles are not contrary to nature but only contrary to what we know about nature.” Tell us about a societal issue that you believe the wonder of technology is well-poised to help solve. (250 words recommended.)

Choosing a prompt

As you read through the Villanova application essay prompts, do any topics stand out to you? Can you highlight part of your identity with a specific Villanova supplemental essay prompt? Or, can you link an extracurricular activity, leadership role, or life experience to one of the Villanova supplemental essays? Each of the Villanova essay prompts lets you share something different about yourself. Spend some time with the Villanova essay prompts, then, to determine which is right for you.

If you are having trouble choosing a prompt, then start with a writing exercise. First, choose 2-3 of the Villanova essay prompts that interest you and set a timer for 10 minutes. Then, write as much as you can about that topic. Once your timer goes off, review your work. Couldn’t stop writing about one specific topic? If so, choose that topic as your Villanova application essay prompt. Remember, your Villanova application essays should be authentic, cohesive, and different from your Common Application essay.

Starting your draft

Now that you’ve chosen your prompt, it’s time to start drafting! Below, we’ve broken down some questions to think about for the Villanova essay prompts. Whichever prompt you choose, though, make sure you use specific details to tell your story.

Prompt #1

If you pride yourself on your sense of equity and justice, then you might pick the first Villanova supplemental essay prompt. Perhaps you founded your school’s first LGBTQ+ student club, or you saw a need and fundraised to start a youth-oriented organization in your community. Whatever your story, always include specific details. Additionally, always write about the “why.” Why did you choose this particular form of activism? What does it mean to advocate for yourself or for another person/community? Finally, why do equity and justice matter to you? Bonus points, also, if you can connect your Villanova essays back to the university’s core values.

Prompt #3

Do you consider yourself to be humble, honest, and unafraid to admit when you have made a mistake? Then maybe prompt #3 is more your speed. This Villanova essay prompt is twofold. First, it asks you to describe the challenge or failure you faced. Then, it asks you to discuss how you redeemed yourself. As you draft, avoid just focusing on your failure. Instead, emphasize how you redeemed yourself. What did you learn from this situation? How did it make you feel? Don’t be nervous about being vulnerable—it’s okay to show your reader that you aren’t perfect. After all, perfection is boring. Use your Villanova application essay to reflect on your experience and how you created positive change from a less-than-ideal situation.

Prompt #5

Maybe you are a think-outside-of-the-box type who is concerned about our society’s future. If so, consider Villanova supplemental essay prompt #5. First, select a societal issue you want to solve. No issue is too big or too small! Then, describe how technology can solve the issue. You might discuss how certain technologies could make the world a better place. This can give your reader insight into your knowledge and experience. It can also highlight your curiosity and problem-solving skills. If possible, highlight your academic interests and how they might complement your studies.

Villanova Supplemental Essays Draft Key Questions:

  • Did you choose a topic that connects to your identity and interests?
  • Does your response highlight an important aspect of your identity that supplements your application?
  • Does your response showcase your values and how they relate to those of the Villanova community?

Villanova Supplemental Essay – Question 2 (Required):

You may be aware that our community, which we have affectionately named “Nova Nation,” is an exciting place to be. With a legacy spanning nearly 180 years, there is rich history to look back on, and an abundant future to look forward to. The Admission Committee would like to know why you want to call Villanova your new home and become part of our community? (150 words recommended.)

This second of the Villanova supplemental essay prompts is their version of the “Why Us” essay. If you are not familiar with this type of essay, we recommend reading our Supplemental Essays FAQ guide before you start writing.

Do your research

For this Villanova application essay, you need to explain why you want to join the “Nova Nation.” First, familiarize yourself with the Villanova website and social media pages. Then, research what about the university excites you the most. Make a list of majors, programs, or activities that stand out.

Get specific

As you approach this Villanova application essay, make sure you include as many specific details as possible. Avoid statements that might apply to any school. Rather, focus on what makes Villanova unique. What do you like about Villanova? What part of the Villanova community do you most want to join? Don’t just list the things you love about Villanova. Instead, choose a few specific examples to discuss in detail.Perhaps you are a stargazing enthusiast who loves service and social justice. Describe how Villanova’s astronomy and astrophysics major aligns with your academic interest as well as how you plan to work for the common good in their campus ministry.

Essentially, your Villanova application essay should describe, in specific terms, how you will take advantage of what Villanova has to offer.Also, be sure your Villanova application essay indicates how you would fit into the Villanova community. What will you add to Villanova’s campus? How will you embody Villanova’s core values? Remember, you have limited space in your Villanova essays, so be thorough yet concise.

Villanova Supplemental Essay Draft Key Questions:

  • Does your Villanova essay discuss what you love most about the Villanova community?
  • Do you reference programs, majors, and activities by name?
  • Does your essay explain what makes you a good fit for Villanova?

What does Villanova University look for in essays?

Villanova seeks students who reflect the school’s three core values: Veritas (Truth), Unitas (Unity), and Caritas (Love). The Villanova supplemental essays assess how well you’ll fit into the “Nova Nation.” The Villanova essay prompts also help the admissions team understand your opinions, thoughts, and experiences.Villanova’s website lists six tips for writing a strong Villanova application essay. They are:

1. Speak your truth.

Allow your honesty to come through in your Villanova application essays. Each of your Villanova essays should show the admissions office who you truly are.

2. Relax.

Have fun with the Villanova supplemental essays! Celebrate how much you have learned about yourself as you write your essays.

3. Make your words count and worry less about counting your words.

These Villanova essay prompts are quite short. Review your Villanova essays to confirm that each word matters.

4. There are no right or wrong answers.

Write about what is true to you. The rest will fall into place.

5. Seriously proofread and proofread seriously.

Nobody likes a run-on sentence or grammatical error. Take some extra time to proofread to ensure your Villanova essays are ready to submit.

6. Ask for a second opinion, not a rewrite.

A second set of eyes is always helpful. However, don’t let your voice get lost in the mix. Your reader wants to learn about you, not your best friend.Need more helpful tips on writing your Villanova supplemental essays? Check out this virtual Essay Workshop below featuring Villanova University’s Assistant Director of Admissions.

Villanova Supplemental Essays: Final Thoughts

Writing short yet thoughtful Villanova supplemental essays can seem stressful. However, don’t let the Villanova essays stop you from applying! Instead, use the Villanova supplemental essays to show who you are outside the classroom. Reference this guide as you tackle the Villanova application essays. Good luck!

This essay guide on Villanova was written by Claire Babbs, UT Austin ‘12. For more resources, click here. Want help crafting your Villanova supplemental essays? Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.