How to Get Into Villanova: Admissions Stats & Tips
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- The Average Academic Profile of Accepted Villanova Students
- What Villanova Looks For In a Top Applicant
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting In
- How to Apply to Villanova
Located only 30 minutes from Philadelphia, Villanova is a Catholic school that holds the distinction of being the only Augustinian Catholic University in the United States . The school takes a lot of pride in their Augustinian heritage, with all first year students enrolled in a course called “The Augustine and Culture Seminar”. Showing their prowess, Villanova’s average freshman retention rate is 96%. As you can see, most students really enjoy it there! Villanova also boasts a tradition of athletic excellence, winning the NCAA March Madness tournament in 2016 and 2018. A highly selective school, Villanova accepts 31% of applicants every year. Let’s talk about how you become part of that percentage.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Villanova?
For the 2020-21 freshman class, Villanova received over 22,000 applications. As with any school, they are only able to admit a fraction of that number. Overall, Villanova accepted 31% of applicants, and 58% of early applicants.
While Villanova’s acceptance rate is incredibly low, your personal chances of acceptance may actually be higher or lower, depending on your profile strength.
To better understand your chances at Villanova, we recommend using our free admissions calculator. Using your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and more, we’ll estimate your odds of acceptance, and give you tips on improving your profile!
Average Academic Profile of Accepted Villanova Students
The average high school GPA of Villanova’s Class of 2025 is 4.23. Out of this class, 29.79% graduated with a 4.0.
Middle 50% ACT: 31-34
Middle 50% SAT: 1380-1500
From the Class of 2025, 60% of applicants submitted SAT scores, while 40% submitted ACT scores.
For the 2020-2021 freshman cohort, 72% of admitted students were in the top 10% of their graduating class, while 95% were in the top 25%.
What is Villanova Looking For?
So your grades are looking right? Great! That’s step one. For highly selective schools, it isn’t enough to have amazing grades and test scores, even though they are important. Since most applicants are academically-qualified, schools like Villanova use holistic admissions to fill their class. For Villanova, they look for students who are excited about the opportunity to be a part of the Villanova community. They want students who have researched courses and faculty, and are eager to take certain classes with great professors. Students who want to make friends and career connections while supporting other Villanovans. If that’s you, you have a good shot!
How Villanova Evaluates Applications
According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, Villanova considers the following factors “very important”:
- Rigor of secondary school record
- Class rank
- Academic GPA
These factors are “important”:
- Application essay
- Extracurricular activities
- Character/personal qualities
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
These are “considered”:
- Standardized test scores
- First generation
- Alumni/ae relation
- Geographical residence
- State residency
- Racial/ethnic status
- Level of applicant’s interest
And these are “not considered”:
- Religious affiliation/commitment
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Villanova
1. Achieve at least a 4.0 GPA while taking the most challenging classes available.
Remember, Villanova’s average GPA is 4.23. Admission is competitive, so make sure your grades are giving you a great starting point.
You should also think about the Academic Index– a tool that admissions officers at Ivy League and other selective colleges use to expedite the decision-making process. It’s a calculation that combines a student’s overall academic performance into a single numerical score.
Having a competitive transcript is the first step to getting your application read. For the most selective schools, you should not only get all A’s (or mostly A’s), but also take the most challenging courses available to you.
If your GPA is lower, and you’re earlier on in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, it will be harder to increase your GPA, so the easiest way to increase your Academic Index is to get a higher test score.
2. Aim for a 1460 SAT and 33 ACT.
Villanova’s freshmen are well-versed test-takers. The middle 50% of accepted students have an SAT score between 1380-1500, and ACT between 31-34. Scores on the upper range will make you more competitive, but anything in the range is decent.
In light of COVID-19 test-optional policies, we recommend taking the test if you can safely (students who submit scores are accepted at higher rates than those without). We generally recommend submitting your score if it’s the 25th percentile or above for accepted students at that school. Students can get recommendations on whether or not they should apply test-optional using our free Chancing Engine.
Villanova’s policy does allow for superscoring the highest subscores from the ACT/SAT from multiple testing dates. Since they give this opportunity, you should try to take the test multiple times in order to present the best possible score.
To improve your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:
- How to Get a Perfect 1600 Score on the SAT
- How to Get a Perfect 36 Score on the ACT
- More SAT Info and Tips
- More ACT Info and Tips
3. Cultivate a strong portfolio of extracurriculars.
There are four tiers of extracurriculars:
While many activities qualify for tier one, most are rare and demonstrate exceptional achievement or leadership. These are extremely impactful because they are rarely encountered by admissions officers and their outstanding nature. Some examples include- athletic achievements like being nationally ranked, earning awards in academics or the arts, or attending a distinguished summer program.
Tier two activities show high levels of achievement and leadership and are impressive, but a little more common than tier one. These are things like holding a leadership position in a well-respected club, or winning a regional competition.
Tier three activities don’t have the distinction of the previous two, but show your participation outside the classroom and give a more complete picture of you as a person. This could be holding a minor leadership position in respected clubs, winning player of the week, etc.
Tier four activities are the most common- general membership in clubs, participation in sports, etc.
Often, your application will be more competitive if you have 1-2 well-developed interests rather than a bunch of unrelated interests. In the college app world, these highly-developed interests are known as spikes. At most top schools, prospective students should aim for one or two Tier 1-2 activities. At lesser-selective schools, you probably don’t need a Tier 1, but having a few Tier 2 or 3 activities will help demonstrate your drive. Keep in mind that most competitive applicants have 8-10 activities total, but not all of those are “impressive” tiers, and many are seasonal.
4. Write engaging essays.
Once you clear the academic thresholds, essays are the best way to set yourself apart from other applicants. You want to share your authentic voice and demonstrate your fit with the school. Villanova requires two supplemental essays, one of which can be chosen from 5 possible options. While essays can be hard, Collegevine has a lot of resources to help you! Here are some of our latest and greatest:
- 16 Strong College Essay Examples from Top Schools
- Can You Use the Same Essay for Different College Applications
- The 4 Main College Essay Prompts You Need to Know
- Creating the First Draft of Your College Application Essay
- How to Showcase Your Strengths in Your College Application Essays
- 50 Engaging Narrative Essay Topics for High Schoolers
5. Apply Early Action/Early Decision.
Villanova offers first-year applicants four application plans: Early Action, Early Decision I, Early Decision II, and Regular Decision. Here are the details of each:
- Early Action (EA) is a non-binding application plan that is made for students who would like to apply early in their senior year, but aren’t quite sure which college or university they would like to attend yet. You will not be required to attend Villanova if you get in EA.
- Early Decision I is a binding application plan, meaning that if you are accepted you will be expected to withdraw all applications to other colleges and universities. It is for students who have decided that Villanova is their first choice after a thorough and thoughtful college search.
- Early Decision II is a binding application plan for students who have decided Villanova is their first choice school, but are not ready to make the commitment by November 1.
- Regular Decision is the standard, non-binding plan. Villanova encourages this plan for students who think their senior year grades and testing results would enhance their candidacy.
Even when controlling for profile strength, applying early can increase your chances of acceptance! However, make sure you keep in mind the limitations:
- When you apply early, you lose out on valuable time to improve your application. Without having time for peers, teachers, and counselors to look over your app and give you feedback, you may end up feeling rushed and overwhelmed.
- You also lose out on time to improve grades and test scores. Usually, the early applicant pool is very strong, so without time to get your application as strong as it can be, you may not have as high a chance at acceptance.
- You lose out on comparing and negotiating multiple financial aid offers, possibly causing you to pay more than you would have otherwise.
How to Apply to Villanova
Early Decision I
Early Decision II
Luckily for your time during your college application journey, Villanova is a Common Application member institution. That means you can access your Villanova application with all your other Common App applications at commonapp.org.
In your application, you will need to include:
- Your completed Common Application with essay
- Villanova Member School Section with Villanova Essays
- Name and email of your high school counselor so they can complete the Secondary School Report and submit to Villanova along with a copy of your official transcript.
- Your counselor will also need to submit a letter of recommendation for you.
- One recommendation from a secondary school teacher who has taught you during your high school career.
- *If you apply Early Decision II, Regular Decision, or are deferred in Early Decision I or Early Action* Mid-year report from your counselor with grades or a transcript from your first semester senior year.
- Optional ACT or SAT scores
- Application fee or Application Fee Waiver
Learn more about Villanova