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How to Write the Villanova Supplemental Essays

Essay #1: Villanova Free Choice (2022-23)

Please select one of the five essay prompts listed below to fulfill the writing requirement and respond in about 250 words (Min 225 & Max 300).

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?

If you choose this prompt, you should be prepared to speak about your own personal experience getting in the trenches and working to create a more equal and accepting community. While engaging in dialogue and thinking deeply about issues is an important part of advocacy, the strongest answers will be tied to the actual steps you’ve taken that have had an impact on those around you. As always, don’t forget to talk about the reason you decided to advocate for this cause. Why is it important to do so, and why has this cause resonated with you personally? Is it something you plan to continue doing in the future?

Prompt 2: What is the truest thing that you know?

This prompt is conducive to a more creative answer than the first. Of course, you could answer this prompt quite literally, but that wouldn’t be nearly as memorable as pushing the boundaries of truth a little bit and letting readers get a sense of your personality. Admissions officers aren’t looking to prove you wrong or fact-check you, they are more interested in how you think about the world and how you defend your argument. If the “truest thing you know” is that your little brother has the most annoying laugh in the world, show them exactly how you know that, and make sure to include some anecdotes!

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.

This prompt is all about overcoming challenges. If you have already responded to prompt 2 for your personal statement, you may want to consider choosing a different prompt in order to strike a different tone. However, if you have a setback that you have yet to write about, this is the perfect time to get reflective and show admissions that you are a mature, thoughtful person. The truth is that everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes we are lucky enough to have second chances, and how we learn from our failures and what we do with those second chances can say a lot about us. Remember not to spend too much time talking about your misstep in this essay, the majority of your writing should focus on how you responded and what you learned!

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?

This is your chance to write about a wonderful lesson or piece of advice that you received and pay it forward. By selecting this prompt, you are already indicating that you are the type of person who invests in others. Be cautious not to be too evangelical in your tone; through reflection and anecdotes, show readers how their understanding of the world, others, or themselves can be improved by adopting this wisdom. The lesson does not need to be entirely unique, it can be a simple reminder, but the story of how you learned it should be. It will be easiest to write about your life lesson through a specific story or anecdote. Some students try to be humorous here, but it’s very difficult to strike the right balance. It’s best to stick to a more thoughtful and straightforward response if you choose this prompt!

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.

If you are a STEM student, a tech enthusiast, or a dreamer, this prompt will probably inspire you. At any given moment, there are many societal ills that technology is just on the cusp of addressing. Scientific advancements and the people who work to achieve them help propel us to new heights as a society, and we owe them gratitude. If you feel this way, this is likely the prompt for you. It’s best to approach this essay with an idea in mind, something that you’ve been following closely and are already aware of. Grounding your answer in specific knowledge of a subject is essential, and answers that address broad societal issues such as hunger or poverty and make sweeping claims about technology’s power to solve them will not be very strong. Focus on a specific issue and a specific technology that is currently being used to solve this problem but hasn’t quite gotten there yet. What’s the breakthrough that will finish the job and why are you convinced it will happen? Good luck!

Essay #2: Why 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 150 words. (Min 125 & Max 200)

This is a classic ‘why this school’ essay. It requires you to research Villanova and paint a picture of how you and the university are a good fit for one another. Be careful not to simply list opportunities offered at the school. Instead, write about a few of the aspects of the school that most interest you. Maybe it’s a particular degree program, perhaps it’s the campus culture, or maybe it’s a specific lab that is conducting unique research in one of your areas of interest. Regardless, you should weave a cohesive story through this essay that explains how your high school accomplishments align with Villanova’s values, as well as what you plan to do on campus to make the most of your college experience and add to the campus community. Remember that you don’t have much space, so make sure you are going for quality over quantity with the particular feature (or two) of Villanova you choose to feature in your writing.