villanova supplemental essays
St. Thomas of Villanova Church.” by Villanova University Digital Library | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Villanova Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

Villanova University is one of the top colleges in its home state of Pennsylvania and in the United States. With over 64 majors and 260 student organizations, Villanova University is known for its strong academic programs and vibrant campus life.  To stand out among over 23,000 applications, you’ll need strong Villanova supplemental essays. Students who ace the Villanova essay portion are highly likely to join the 6,700-strong Villanova enrollment

Here’s a little secret: While having a solid academic record is important for admissions, well-written Villanova supplemental essays are one way to set your application apart. 

In this guide, we’ll provide key details about the Villanova supplemental essays to illustrate what the Villanova admissions team looks for. Beyond the Villanova supplemental essays, we will also provide you with the Villanova application deadlines and how to choose one. Furthermore, we’ll analyze Villanova supplemental essay prompts to provide insights for building the best Villanova supplemental essays!

Villanova Essay: Quick Facts

Quick Facts on Villanova Essay

  • Villanova University Ranking Overall: #94 College Overall 
  • Villanova University Acceptance Rate: 25%– U.S. News ranks Villanova University as a most selective school
  • Villanova Enrollment: 
    • Total: Approximately 6,700 students
    • Freshmen: Approximately 1,700 students
  • Villanova Essay Requirements:
  • Villanova Application: Villanova University is a Common Application member institution. Therefore, students must complete their application using the Common Application
  • Villanova Application Types & Deadline:
    • Early Action: November 1st
    • Early Decision I: November 1st
    • Early Decision II: January 15th
    • Regular Decision: January 15th 
  • Villanova Supplemental Essays Tip: Besides the Common Application essay, Villanova supplemental essays have a very limited word count. Therefore, make sure your Villanova essays are clear and concise.

Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website. 

Does Villanova have supplemental essays?

Students applying to Villanova University must complete two supplemental essays.

The first of two required Villanova essay prompts allows applicants to respond to a specific prompt. This essay is the Villanova free choice essay. This Villanova supplemental essay showcases students’ ability to reflect on their experiences and demonstrate their alignment with Villanova’s values.

On the other hand, the second of the two required Villanova essays is the “why Villanova” essay. Predictably, the prompt asks students to respond to one question: Why do you want to call Villanova your new home, and how will you become part of our community? This Villanova essay prompt allows students to explain how their post-secondary passions and goals align with Villanova University

Both Villanova supplemental essays allow students to prove to Villanova admissions that they are the perfect fit for the university. In the next sections, we will explore the differences between the two types of Villanova supplemental essays.

Villanova Free Choice Essay 

The Villanova free choice essay offers applicants the opportunity to select from four thought-provoking Villanova essay prompts. The opportunity to choose from a range of Villanova essay prompts may seem liberating. On the other hand, it can also be overwhelming as applicants must choose the prompt that highlights their unique qualities. Therefore, understanding each of the Villanova essay prompts is crucial in determining which aligns best with your experiences, values, and aspirations. 

In this section, we will dive deeper into each one of the Villanova essay prompts. We’ll discuss how to approach each Villanova essay prompt and why it may work for you. This should help you decide which of the Villanova essay prompts is best for you and your application.

Villanova Essay Prompts #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? 

The first of the four Villanova essay prompts is inspired by St. Augustine’s belief in caring about others. For this Villanova essay, students should reflect on their efforts to advocate for community equity and justice. This Villanova essay prompt invites applicants to share specific instances where they have taken action to promote fairness and inclusivity.

Whether through grassroots initiatives, volunteering with local organizations, or standing up for marginalized groups, applicants should discuss what they’ve done. These don’t necessarily have to be in an official capacity, either; your work might be outside an organization. Delve into the impact of your advocacy efforts large and small, and the lessons you have learned from these experiences. Convey a genuine commitment to the well-being of others and demonstrate a deep understanding of the importance of collective welfare.

Applicants should avoid making generalized or vague statements about advocating for equity and justice. Be sure to provide concrete examples. While giving examples to answer this Villanova essay prompt, avoid exaggerating your involvement or solely focusing on personal achievements. Instead, be genuine and honest about your experiences and how they’ve sent ripples through your life.

Remember: The topic of equity and justice is complex, so don’t downplay challenges that may arise when promoting them in your community.

Villanova Supplemental Essay #2

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 second of the four Villanova essay prompts requires students to recount a personal encounter where they were misjudged. Recall the Villanova community’s commitment to recognizing individuals for who they truly are. Applicants should use this essay to share their resilience and growth in the face of adversity.

It is key to discuss the emotional impact of such experiences and how they have shaped one’s perspective and actions. Think about how being misjudged made you feel, how you reacted, and how you go forward in light of it. Additionally, highlighting how it fostered empathy and a stronger determination to advocate for understanding and acceptance can further strengthen the essay.

Avoid exaggerating or fabricating instances where you were misjudged to gain sympathy or appear as a victim. Be cautious not to blame others or use harsh language when discussing the misjudgment you faced. Instead, focus on the personal growth and resilience you gained from these experiences. Lastly, ensure you do not generalize or stereotype others in your response. The goal is to tap into the need to understand and show empathy for others who may be different.

Villanova Essay Prompts #3

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 third of the four Villanova essay prompts centers on the Villanova community’s value of learning from one another. In this essay, applicants should share a significant life lesson they have learned and would like to impart to others. The key here is to select a lesson that holds personal meaning and has shaped your character positively. Ideally, what you want to share is not simply a lesson, but part of who you are today.

Whether it be a lesson in perseverance, humility, or compassion, students should describe the experience that taught them. How has it influenced your outlook on life and interactions with others? You can showcase your willingness to contribute insights and experiences to the diverse Villanova community by offering an insightful reflection.

Avoid selecting a life lesson solely based on what you think admissions officers want to hear or using clichéd phrases. Instead, choose a meaningful lesson that has genuinely impacted your life and that you can write about with confidence. Be specific in describing how it has shaped your character and decisions.

Free Choice Villanova Essay Prompts #4

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? 

The last of the four Villanova essay prompts requires applicants to discuss how they draw strength from others during personal challenges. At Villanova, the principle of mutual support is celebrated; in times of trouble, community members support each other. Think about times you needed to lean on others; how did you ask for, receive, and respond to support?

In response to this prompt, students should narrate a difficult period or some related struggles. Elaborate on the sources of strength and inspiration you sought from those around you. Whether from family, friends, mentors, or even strangers, applicants should explore the significance of communal support in overcoming obstacles. This essay offers a platform to display vulnerability, resilience, and the capacity to appreciate the power of unity in times of difficulty.

Avoid fabricating stories of personal challenges or borrowing strength from others when it did not occur. Be honest about the sources of support you received, avoiding exaggeration or portraying yourself as entirely dependent on others. Focus on the positive outcomes and personal growth that emerged from seeking help rather than dwelling on the difficulties.

Why Villanova Essay

villanova supplemental essays

As shared in the previous section, the first Villanova supplemental essay allows students to choose from one of four prompts. In comparison, the second supplemental essay is the infamous “why school” essay.

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

Although the concept of a “why school” essay appears simple, it could be one of the most challenging essays to write. After all, you want your “why Villanova” essay to stand out among over 20,000 candidates. 

The “why Villanova” essay is a powerful opportunity to amplify your application by illustrating how Villanova aligns with your aspirations. Research is crucial—connect your preferred major, passions, experiences, and long-term goals with the opportunities at Villanova University. You should highlight aspects of Villanova that will support you in achieving your goals. Obviously, you should avoid reusing essays submitted to other colleges, and ensure this essay is explicitly tailored to Villanova. 

What can you offer?

In addition to focusing on your desire to attend the university, a successful “why Villanova” essay goes beyond personal gains. The essay must showcase how your acceptance to the university is mutually beneficial. Therefore, explain how you can enrich the campus community and the unique qualities and perspectives you will contribute. This essay is your chance to demonstrate that you are the perfect fit for Villanova University. Show that your presence will enhance the academic environment and foster a vibrant community.

Ultimately the “why Villanova” essay holds great significance in the application process. It demands thoughtful reflection and a representation of your passion for the university’s values and opportunities. You must communicate your potential to impact the campus community positively. Use this essay to convey why Villanova University is the ideal place for your academic and personal growth.

Check out Villanova Admissions’ YouTube channel for testimonials from real Villanova students on why they chose Villanova University!

How to write Villanova supplemental essays

A strong Villanova supplemental essay can enhance your application and catch the admissions committee’s attention. You can showcase your personality, experiences, and potential contributions to the Villanova community—all  incredibly important for a first-year student. Accordingly, your Villanova supplemental essays should be crafted with care and close attention. Consider the following strategies and tips to make your supplemental essay truly stand out.

villanova supplemental essays


Research Villanova University’s values, mission, and programs. Gain a complete understanding of Villanova majors, academic offerings, campus culture, and initiatives. Incorporate this knowledge into your essays to demonstrate your genuine interest and fit with Villanova. 

Authenticity and Personal Voice

Craft your essay to reflect your genuine self. Share personal anecdotes and experiences that have shaped your values, passions, and goals. Avoid generic responses and instead focus on unique aspects of your journey.

Engaging Writing Style

Narrative style is pretty standard for college essays these days. Make your Villanova essay engaging and captivating with strong storytelling. Hook the reader by using powerful imagery and thoughtful language. Maintain a strong narrative flow that keeps the reader hooked from the introduction to the conclusion. Consider incorporating creative elements such as metaphors or anecdotes that leave a lasting impression.

Proofread and Refine

Take the time to proofread and edit your essay carefully. Ensure proper grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Check for clarity and coherence in your ideas. Due to the limited word count, you must choose every word wisely and remove redundancy.  

By incorporating these strategies in your Villanova supplemental essays, you can show off your unique qualities and potential contributions to the Villanova community. Ultimately, the Villanova supplemental essays are your chance to shine and convince the admissions committee that you’re an ideal fit. Keep these objectives in mind throughout your writing process.

How important are the supplemental essays for Villanova?

In short, very. Admissions officers eagerly anticipate reading Villanova supplemental essays because they serve as a window into applicants’ unique perspectives, passions, and character. The admissions committee understands that the Villanova supplemental essays offer an invaluable opportunity for students to dig deep. Writers must showcase their creativity, critical thinking, and ability to articulate their thoughts effectively. Therefore, Villanova admissions dedicates significant time and consideration to thoroughly evaluating each Villanova supplemental essay. Make sure your essays are error-free and impactful before submitting them!

Now more than ever, Villanova supplemental essays are important to admissions decisions. Villanova admissions prides itself on taking a holistic approach when reviewing applications. As such, for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle, Villanova University is test-optional. Not requiring applicants to submit their test scores places greater emphasis on Villanova supplemental essays, which makes them incredibly important. Think carefully about going test-optional; if you do, your essays will be weighed more heavily.

Other key Villanova application requirements

villanova supplemental essays

By now, we have reviewed the requirements for Villanova supplemental essays. However, there are other application requirements you should know to craft an application that maximizes your admissions chances. 

The first thing students should know are Villanova’s three application types and their deadlines. 

Early Action

Students who want to apply early in their senior year but are unsure which institution they would like to attend might consider Early action. This application strategy is non-binding, so students are not required to attend the university if accepted. The early action deadline for Villanova University is November 1. If your application is good to go by November 1, consider applying early action for higher admissions chances.

Early Decision

Early decision is best for students whose first choice is Villanova University and who know they want to enroll immediately. Be mindful that the early decision application is binding. For Villanova University, there are two early decision rounds: the first deadline is November 1, and the second is January 15. Students requiring additional time to write Villanova supplemental essays—or improve their GPA or test scores—may opt for the second deadline.

Regular Decision

Regular decision is non-binding and is perfect for students wanting to apply but unsure which university to attend. Similar to the second early decision deadline, the regular application deadline is January 15. This provides students additional time to ensure their academic scores and Villanova supplemental essays are as strong as possible.

Another thing potential applicants need to know regarding application requirements is the teacher recommendation requirement. Villanova University requires one recommendation from a secondary school teacher who taught you during high school. Additionally, you may submit an optional letter from a school counselor; any additional letters are not considered, so choose wisely. The teacher must be able to speak about you in detail and your contributions to the classroom environment. In addition to Villanova supplemental essays, the teacher recommendation is another way Villanova can see you’re a great fit for the community.

More Essay Resources from CollegeAdvisor

While writing Villanova supplemental essays can be daunting, the good news is that CollegeAdvisor has many resources to assist you. Here are some of my favorites. 

1. How to Write Better Essays

This article offers 9 tips for writing better essays for students wondering how to improve their writing. The article breaks down the different types of application essays, including the “why school” essay,  cultural essay, and personal challenge essay. In addition to giving details about each type of essay, the article’s nine tips cover the entire essay writing process. All are helpful tips for any student looking to complete Villanova supplemental essays.

2. Admissions Officer Advice: Making Your Essays Shine

For students who have started their Villanova supplemental essays but are looking to make them shine, this webinar is for you. In this webinar, Admissions Officer Aya Waller-Bey shares advice and insider tips on refining college essays. Her insight will go a long way in helping you create an impactful college application essay to enhance your application.

3. College Essay Mistakes When Writing About Yourself

When writing your Villanova supplemental essays, it’s important to review resources that tell you what to do. It’s also important to know what not to do. With that in mind, this resource is perfect! In this webinar, a senior advisor shares common mistakes students make in their application essays and how to avoid them. If you’re wondering whether your essays are hitting the mark, check out this free resource.

Of course, these are only three of the dozens of free articles and webinars we have on Whether you’re writing Villanova supplemental essays, researching Ivy League schools, or weighing financing options, we can help.

Villanova Supplemental Essays – Takeaways

villanova supplemental essays

This article has provided insights into Villanova supplemental essays and their significance in the admissions process. By examining the essay prompts, requirements, and writing tips, we have identified key steps for crafting compelling and authentic responses.

Here are eight takeaways: 

1. Villanova University is highly competitive

Villanova enrollment for fall 2023 is 6,700 students, with approximately 1,700 freshmen. In total, the university received over 23,000 applications. Due to these staggering statistics, well-written Villanova supplemental essays are crucial in setting applicants apart.

2. Villanova University has two Villanova supplemental essays

In addition to submitting the Common Application essay, Villanova requires two essays. These are known as the Villanova free choice essay and the “why Villanova” essay.

3. Selecting the best Villanova essay prompt requires self-reflection on your experiences and writing ability

The first of the two Villanova supplemental essays allows applicants to respond to one of four Villanova essay prompts. When writing, a focus on strong storytelling to convey personal experiences and values is a must.

4. Focus on Villanova’s values

The “why Villanova” essay requires thorough research so students can make connections between Villanova’s values and their passions and long-term goals. The “why Villanova” essay must identify how the applicant’s acceptance would be mutually beneficial for the student and campus. 

5. Do your research

Before writing your Villanova supplemental essays, ensure you have thoroughly researched Villanova University’s values, programs, and community. This research will provide a solid foundation for your essays and show the Villanova admissions committee you’re enthusiastic about attending.

6. Be yourself

Applicants should avoid generalizations, clichés, or exaggerations in their Villanova supplemental essays. Aim for honest and sincere responses that reflect your true experiences and values.

7. Leave time for drafts and revisions

After completing your Villanova supplemental essays, make sure you proofread to ensure clarity, coherence, and adherence to the word count. Ideally, you shouldn’t submit your first draft of Villanova supplemental essays; edit them—preferably with outside help—before sending them.

8. Mind the deadlines

Finally, the Villanova supplemental essays are important when applying to Villanova, but the application deadlines are even more important. The one way to guarantee denial is by submitting your application after the application deadline. Therefore, pay attention to the Villanova application deadlines and application types to ensure admissions officers review your application through the best lens.

With these key takeaways, you can craft compelling Villanova supplemental essays that showcase your unique qualities and fit with the college’s community. All told, you’ll certainly increase your chances of standing out. Hopefully, after reading this article, you will feel compelled to apply. After you apply, be sure to check your applicant status page to receive updates regarding your application. Good luck!

villanova supplemental essays

This article was written by senior advisor, Ashley Hollins. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.