Early Application Submitted? What to Do While You Wait.

Hello Early Applicants!

It’s November 5, a few days after our November 1 deadline, and you may be wondering “What I should be doing next or did everything I send arrive properly at Villanova?” A great way to check is to access the application checklist via your Applicant Status Page.

Here is an example of what you might see:



As seen in this screenshot, you can see what items have been entered into our system and which ones we may still be waiting for. Documents sent through Naviance will update within 24 hours.  Items sent through mail or email will be registered within one week. Also, when it comes to Teacher Letters of Recommendation (only one is required), the checklist will not specify the sender of the letter.

If you are still missing the Villanova Essay or your Report Card/Senior Progress Report you may add current grades (first quarter/first marking period/grades in progress/etc.) directly to your application by selecting the Upload option (please see below) . Please do this by December 1.


Hope this helps! Now that your application is in, please take the time to focus on and enjoy your senior year!

Justin Ledesma
Senior Assistant Director

To Apply Early, Or Not?

wildcat compWith the school year starting for high school seniors, things may seem somewhat busier than usual.  There are first meetings for your teams and activities.  Things can also seem daunting as your teachers discuss what needs to happen during your first days of classes.  And, of course, things can seem more pressing as this is your final year of high school. Added to that, completing college applications is a new task that is now on your radar.  You may still be deciding if you will be applying Early Action, Early Decision, or during the Regular Decision period. In today’s blog, we will provide some information that will hopefully help in that decision.

Up until this year, Villanova offered students the option of applying through our Early Action Program (deadline November 1) or through Regular Decision (deadline January 15).  New for this year, Villanova has added the option for students to apply Early Decision (deadline also on November 1).  We will tackle EA and RD first.

In previous years, I would advise students to wait to apply during Regular Decision if they believed that an improvement in their senior year grades or an improvement in either the SAT or ACT would help support their case for admission. Compared to many other schools, our EA program has proven to be more competitive compared to RD. At other schools, the reverse can be true.

pooh thinkingKnowing that it may be more competitive, students often ask about the benefits of applying EA.  Students have the advantage of knowing that they are admitted in late December. Students could certainly use that extra time to explore Villanova further, to explore their other options, to search for scholarships and to examine their financial aid packages, among other things. Also, to emphasize, EA is not a binding agreement, so students have until May 1 to make their decision to attend Villanova or to go elsewhere.  Students admitted under RD have just over a month to make their decision, a much tighter window.

Another idea to clarify is the notion of demonstrated interest.  Please see a previous post where we talk about this specifically. At other colleges, applying Early Action is a great way to indicate that a school is your first choice. Please keep in mind that when we are reviewing applications in committee, we do not use interest as a factor in making our decisions. While we certainly love knowing that you hold Villanova in such high regard, this will not affect your decision during the EA or RD process.

This brings us to Early Decision and part of the reason our office decided to offer it as an option beginning this year. As mentioned, we were not using interest as a factor during EA and RD. Many of us in the Admission Office felt badly that we were not rewarding students who really wanted to be a part of Villanova’s community. Early Decision allows us to change that.


If you are unfamiliar with the difference with ED and EA, know that the ED process includes a binding agreement. So should you be admitted under the ED process (notifications will be released on December 15), you must withdraw all other applications from other schools and submit your non-refundable matriculation deposit by January 15.

Early Decision is certainly for students who have Villanova as their clear first choice for college.  Additionally, if financial aid packages or academic scholarships are major factors in your decision, our office advises that you do not apply as part of the ED process, as that information will be made available after you would need to make your decision.

As this is the first year that Villanova is offering ED, we do not have statistics that we could share with you about ED specifically.  However, please see last year’s statistics on EA and RD.

We will look forward to receiving your application!

Share Your Excitement by #GoingNova!

Spirit and enthusiasm are the hallmarks of any activity here at Villanova. As we have progressed through December, admission counselors here have been supporting applicants with enthusiasm and passion as files have been discussed in committee. We are truly excited to send our letters of admission to Villanova’s future class of 2021, and we hope that you can share in that excitement as well!

Over the last few years, more and more students have been posting pictures and videos of their reactions as they opened their big envelopes from Villanova. Our office has definitely laughed and shed tears of joy as we see your reactions, along with those of your friends and families. We’ve included some of our favorite examples over the years here.

This year, we’re getting in on the admitted-reaction action with a few fun surprises of our own. Visit admitted.villanova.edu to download a profile pic that tells the world you’re #GoingNova, and when that big envelope arrives in the mail, flip over the brochure inside and snap a photo to show off your next destination! Don’t forget to use the hashtags #GoingNova and #nova2021 so we can see your snaps – and maybe share them with our followers, too!

Christmas Celebrating




Even dogs can say, “Go Cats!”





















Villanova Admission Counselors!



Application Submitted? What Next?

We are a few days beyond the November 1 early application deadline. You’ve submitted your application, yet you feel as though you should be doing something more to improve your chances of being admitted to the school of your choice. There are a lot of people out there who would echo this idea. However, I’m of the opinion that this notion is feeding into the frenzy and stress associated with the college admission process.

In all actuality, my advice is that once your applications have been submitted, it’s time to move onto the next thing. And since regular decision deadlines are not for another several weeks, your next immediate thing should not be related to the college admissions process.

Now, I think it’s perfectly natural to be curious about the status of the application as soon as you hit “submit.” Certainly, technology has fed into this. Sometimes, when you place an order for a book or a sweater, you can track exactly where things are almost immediately after the order is submitted. Unfortunately, the admission world has not yet achieved this ability of immediate tracking.

While you may have mailed or emailed another document for your application to the university, there are many different things that must get sorted before that specific item can be registered. It may take as long as a few weeks for these items to be logged into the system. You’ll need to do something that may sound very hard, but will eliminate a lot of stress: TRUST THE SYSTEM.

If you mailed or emailed items to our office, the postmarks help us accurately track what’s been sent and when. Additionally, there is a level of flexibility and reason that is being employed for items beyond the application. So while the deadline for the submission for the Common Application is very specific, we are being flexible and reasonable when it comes to other items. Ultimately, if you did everything that you were supposed to regarding deadlines, it will all work itself out in the end.

The other advice that I often see is people suggesting to students that they need to use this time to let the colleges know that they are interested in the college. In the higher education field, this is the idea of “Demonstrated Interest.” The idea is that the more a student interacts with a university, the greater their interest is in that particular school. An interaction could really be anything, like:

  • An e-mail to an admission counselor asking a question
  • Attendance at the college open house
  • Meeting with an admission counselor at a college fair
  • Interacting (liking, sharing, retweeting) a social media post

Many would say that the more interactions a student has with a school, the greater their interest and the greater the likelihood that they will end up matriculating to the college. Oftentimes, when a student begins to explore colleges, they are given advice like “Write a letter and make sure that they know that you’re interested,” or “When we visit campus, introduce yourself to the counselor so he or she knows you’re interested.” But why does your interest level matter?

An idea that you should keep in mind is that when a college sends you a letter of admission, they are hoping that you are seriously considering it. This idea relates to the idea of yield – the percentage of admitted students that end up exercising their option at your school. It is the goal of many schools to keep this percentage fairly high, and as a result, fill the incoming class in an efficient way.

To look at it another way, some admission offices might be reluctant to provide the letter of admission if there is little chance of the student considering the offer. With all this in mind, there is a growing push in higher education to measure interest and utilize it as a factor in the admission process. This is a relatively new idea, and for this reason, among others, not everyone has jumped on board.

So, does Villanova use demonstrated interest as a factor in the admission process? Let me make this as clear as possible.

The Office of University Admission at Villanova does not utilize demonstrated interest as a factor during the Early Action or Regular Decision Application Processes.

Let me also emphasize this point as well: Every college out there handles this differently, and it is a fair question to ask of every college that you’re considering. Additionally, things can certainly change during the wait list process. Keep in mind that demonstrated interest is considered at Villanova when students are being considered for admission from the wait list.

As to why Villanova does not lean on this specific measurement as much as other institutions, there are certainly reasons.

  1. There is a lot of information out there. It can be phone calls, attendance at events, legacy status, emails and many other things. Tracking all this information can be a challenge, and then synthesizing this data into something that is measurable and fair to the application pool can be an even greater challenge.
  2. Some students have more opportunity to demonstrate their interest than others do. This can be affected by many factors:
    • Proximity to campus
    • Ability to travel
    • Guidance from others to reach out to schools
  1. A student’s first choice in October of senior year can change before April of senior year.
  2. And related to that is the idea of how genuine some of these interactions are. If you’re telling a school that they are your first choice because you think it will help you be admitted, how genuine is that interaction?


These are just some reasons, and based on these ideas alone, there are others in the admission field who would be cautious about including demonstrated interest as a major factor in their review process. Villanova’s preference is to focus on a holistic review of the application that emphasizes academic performance.

Going forward, have you been wasting your time by telling our admission staff about how much you like it here on our campus or how you can really see yourself being involved in our community? Absolutely not! We in the admission office love hearing this, and I would certainly admit, it’s one of the reasons I love this job.


However, as mentioned, when the admission staff is discussing your file in committee, we will not be using your level of interest as a reason to advocate for your admission. I am confident that you have provided many other great reasons for us to support your application.

We thought it was important that we address this idea as the college admission process causes so much stress already. Feeding into the idea that there is some sort of secret admission game to play with secret rules that you don’t know about creates unnecessary anxiety and stress.

You’ve just reached one of the milestones of your senior year. It’s time to celebrate that, hang out with your friends, and have some fun. You will have to go back and hit the books at some point and continue the good work you’ve been doing.  Graduation is still a few months away!


Choosing Majors for Pre-Health Freshmen

By Ann C. Trail, M.Ed.


exx454_20141120_052One of the questions most frequently asked by pre-health freshmen is, “What should I major in?”  The answer, to the surprise of many, is “Whatever you want to major in.”  Health professions schools have no preference as to a student’s major.  No major gives applicants an edge.  No majors raise admissions committees’ eyebrows.  There are courses students must complete in order to do well on the admissions exams, and to be prepared for the professional coursework, but these taken together are roughly the equivalent of a minor in terms of credit load.  Professional schools view undergraduate education as an opportunity for students to pursue intellectual interests and develop analytical reasoning skills.  If a student is truly interested in biochemistry, she should major in biochemistry.  But if he is drawn to history, now is the time to delve into it.  It is not offered in medical or dental school.  And according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, there is no discernable difference in MCAT scores, or admission rates, between students who majored in sciences and students who majored in other disciplines.  The analytical reasoning skills needed in a complex field like medicine can be learned in any field.  For these reasons, among others, we recommend students choose as majors subjects they enjoy and excel in.

[NOTE:  The professional majors (business and engineering) are not designed to accommodate the extra load needed to prepare for health professions schools.  Students choosing these programs may need to take summer courses and/or finish their pre-health preparation after graduation.]

Of course, choosing a major comes more easily for some students than others.  Some apply directly to their majors as part of their application.  Others arrive on campus with majors in mind, and declare after taking an introductory course or two.  Still others are less certain.  At Villanova, students must declare a major by the end of sophomore year.  But students are not without guidance in this endeavor.  They have ample advising resources in the form of faculty and staff available to help them navigate these decisions. And herein lies another benefit of the liberal arts education:  while students are fulfilling the Core requirement, they are simultaneously being exposed to subjects they may never otherwise have considered exploring.  In the process many find new areas of interest; some, occasionally, find majors. Some may follow a second interest into completion of a minor.


This leads to a second fact about majors (and minors) that surprises some students.  The accumulation of extra majors and minors is not something that impresses admissions committees.  All learning, whether intellectual, spiritual, social, or service-oriented, should provide growth and be meaningful to the student.  The only reason to major in two subjects is because the student is absolutely passionate about the two, and is driven to pursue them to the extent of completing both majors.  The double major itself will garner no points in the professional school admissions process.


The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers a rich array of majors to suit the intellectual appetites of a student body with diverse intellectual passions.  Students should choose majors they enjoy, find courses that challenge them, explore new areas of interest, complete the particular prerequisites for their intended professions, engage in their communities, and do their best.  That is the way to become strong candidates for graduate school, and to have a fulfilling undergraduate experience.

Ann C. Trail, M.Ed., is a Health Professions Advisor at Villanova University in the Office of Undergraduate Students.

A Floridian’s First Snow

IMG_0218My name is Sofia Oliva, and I am in my first year here at Villanova. I grew up in Key Biscayne, a small island community off of Miami, Florida. As you can imagine, I spent most of the winter season on the beach – it is pretty warm there almost all the time. I think the coldest it has ever gotten is mid 40s, and this “cold” weather only lasts a few days. Needless to say, I’ve never seen snow before.

When I think of fun outdoor activities, the first thing that comes to mind is walking down the road to the beach and breathing in the warm, humid air. I think of shopping for cute bathing suit pieces, not long pants and thick sweaters. I definitely wasn’t prepared for the drastically low temperatures and the snow to come.


IMG_3958A few days ago, news started coming in about a big snow storm that would hit campus over the weekend. I was initially pleasantly surprised and very excited to finally see snow fall. Waking up the first morning of the snowstorm was a magical experience. I could have never imagined that it would snow so much. Walking to breakfast, I caught some snowflakes on my tongue. My roommate and I quickly ate breakfast and rushed back outside to make my first snow angel. The snow was very cold and got everywhere! Since I was very underdressed, the snow got all over my hands and in my shoes. Although I was very cold by the end of the day, my first snow experience was everything I dreamed of.


The following Monday, however, I felt a little under the weather. It seemed that the cold had gotten the best of me. Luckily, classes were canceled which gave me a chance to make a trip to the Health Center after going to the mall to buy many more coats to survive the rest of the winter.

I can’t wait to experience more snow in the future here at Villanova! Crossing my fingers for more snow days to come. Go ’Cats!!


The Next Steps for Admitted Students

candidates day

Congratulations on your admission to Villanova! You certainly should be proud as it was a very competitive year with our largest Early Action pool in Villanova’s history. We were very fortunate to receive 9,377 applications.   That is an 8.6% increase compared to last year’s 8,636. Perhaps at this point, you might be excited for what happens next.

  1. If you haven’t done so already, come visit campus. We have a few programs geared towards admitted students that give you a closer look at Villanova. See what’s available here:


    You’ll also be receiving invitations to attend our admitted student events in the coming weeks.

  2. If you have questions about scholarships, we are in the midst of that process right now. It is important to note that the December 1 nomination deadline for the Presidential Scholarship has since passed. Should you move further in either the Presidential Scholarship or Villanova Scholarship processes, we will contact you by the end of January. Final scholarship award letters will be sent by April 1.
  3. Remember that the deadline to apply for need-based financial aid is February 7, 2016. This is different from the academic merit scholarships mentioned above. To apply for need-based financial aid, you must submit the FAFSA and the CSS profile. Financial aid award packages will go out in late March and early April.

    Please go to this link for more information:

  1. Get excited about Villanova and the rest of the future. You can meet many of your new classmates on our Admitted Student Facebook Group for the Class of 2020.


    If your Facebook name is different from your actual name, please email the administrator with this information so they can verify your identity and add you to the group.

I hope that you found this additional information helpful. Enjoy your holiday break from school. Merry Christmas and all our best wishes for a successful 2016!