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So you’ve decided you want to be a part of Nova Nation, but the only thing standing between you and your dreams of cheering on the Wildcats in Finneran Pavilion is the Common App and a supplemental essay.

Fear not, oh Wild D. Cat in the running: Villanova lets you choose which prompt to answer from a set of three options. And given their 250 to 1,000 word guidelines, you can build your admissions case as succinctly or verbosely as is your wont.

Let’s take a look at the Villanova essay prompts:

  • Option A: We believe that all members of our community should be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. How would you contribute to this at Villanova?
    Don’t be fooled, this prompt isn’t asking you if you fit any preconceived notions of diversity as defined by race, sexual orientation, gender, ability, socioeconomic status, faith, religion, or citizenship. So you don’t get a pass simply because you can’t check off the “diversity” box. Villanova’s explicitly asking “all members of our community,” not a preconceived few, about their commitment to Villanova’s ideals. So how do you welcome those whose backgrounds might not look like yours? How do you go about including others in your friendships, in your conversations, in your overall interactions with the world? How are you making diversity, equity, and inclusion a part of your life?
  • Option B: 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.
    Villanova is not quiet about their love for Saint Augustine—he’s their foundational cornerstone. But you don’t have to be Catholic or steeped in Catholic tradition to understand the mind and the heart. In Augustinian practice, intellectual and spiritual growth often work in tandem. The search for Truth is not an egocentric exercise; it makes us aware of our place in the world, of our interconnectedness with others; it brings wisdom. So when did your mind ever veer from your heart? Have you ever chosen one over the other? Has your search for knowledge ever superseded community? Has your community ever shunned Truth? How did you reconcile the two?
  • Option C: “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.
    Interesting: Villanova isn’t asking you to highlight when you’ve been of service to others or when you’ve problem solved around the obstacles in your path. They’re asking for vulnerability here. But don’t stop there: what did the experience teach you about community? They’re giving you a big hint: “Each of us strengthens all of us.” What did you discover during your hour of need? What were the lessons learned and how are you applying those lessons moving forward? Do you view your relationship with others any differently as a consequence of your experiences?

Essay-Pitfalls-CTA

Written by Zaragoza Guerra
Zaragoza Guerra is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts. Zaragoza previously worked as a senior admissions officer at MIT, Caltech, and The Boston Conservatory.