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The Requirements: 1 essay of 250 words, 1 short response of 100 words
Admissions wants to get a glimpse into your brain, see how the wheels turn, take a little tour. So, invite them in. What is the truest thing you know? You can interpret this question in many different ways. Maybe you are the logical, analytical left-brained type of person, and the truest thing you know is that 1 + 1 = 2. Perhaps you’re a philosopher and a skeptic, and the truest thing you know is that the very definition of truth is subjective. Maybe the truest thing you know is that karma is real. Regardless of your answer to the first question, the “why?” part of this prompt is equally important. It’ll be helpful to have some facts or personal anecdotes to back up your argument. Admissions isn’t looking to agree or disagree with you here (there is no right answer to this prompt!), they’re simply looking to get to know you better — what’s important to you, what you value, etc.
Admissions wants to invite students to campus who understand that there are plenty of seats at the table. So, tell them about your background and/or life experiences that have shaped what “inclusion” means to you. Maybe you know what it’s like to feel excluded (if so, how?) and thus, try to make others feel included at all times possible (which is why your talent show dance group ended up needing to split into two groups to fit on the stage😅). Perhaps you know that inclusion is about breaking down barriers and uplifting voices that have been historically silenced, which is why you started a newspaper specifically for Black voices at your school. Whatever your relationship to “inclusion” is, be sure to communicate your commitment to “holding doors open” wherever you go.
It will not shock you to learn that very few, if any, admissions officers reading your applications will be Gen Zers. And they want to know what it’s like to be a teenager right now. The person reading your application probably didn’t have a smartphone in high school (or middle school) — so tell them what it’s like having connectivity and information readily available to you all the time, and what the impact of that has been. Maybe you love being a Gen Zer, and you can be found on TikTok or Instagram on any given weekday evening. Do you think social media is a powerful tool for connection and shared experience? Do you feel that you’ve had the opportunity to learn about more perspectives than past generations? Or, perhaps you hear romantic tales of recording shows on VHS tapes and taking turns using the home phone and yearn for a simpler time. Why do you feel this way? Take some time to think about your answer before you begin writing. This isn’t the type of essay you can save for the last minute.
You’ve heard it before: Everyone makes mistakes. And admissions wants to know how you feel about second chances. You can write about your own experience with redemption (although you’ll want to be careful to focus on what you learned or how you changed your behavior instead, of harping on the mistake you made). You can write about a story you read or heard that really moved you — this could be a book, podcast episode, movie, or even the type of tale told face-to-face. We encourage you to focus your essay on what you’ve learned, absorbed, or taken away from the experience, story, or revelation. Admissions does not expect you to have the wisdom of a monk, but they do expect you to be able to reflect, think critically, and empathize.
A classic short Why essay. This is the time to do some research on Villanova’s course offerings and extracurriculars, and then show admissions why this particular university stands out from the crowd for you. Don’t be afraid to go deep! Beyond the classes and professors in your desired academic department, explore the options for other subjects you’ve always wanted to study. Learn about clubs and special events on campus to get a feel for student life, even if it may be going digital this year. Read over the school’s mission statement to get a feel for the community both in and around the campus. You might even want to read up on the notable alumni you admire, and provide examples as to how they inspired you to attend! By the time you’re done, you’ll have a whole list of reasons for wanting to call Villanova your new home. Now all you have to do is arrange them. Think about telling a story that illustrates your path to Villanova, and show admissions that this school the ideal fit for you!