Villanova University - Comments and Student Experiences|
I will begin by saying I was very apprehensive going to Villanova. I was scared it would be super preppy, rich, and close minded. Coming from a big family who does not having much, and having a disinterest in designer labels, I did not think I'd fit in, but I found my niche.
Let's delve into the people. Yes, there will be a lot of Tory Birch and Vineyard Vine (Don't worry I didn't know what that meant before I went to Nova lol). There will be people who have a 1,000 balance on their school ID, BUT there are also so many down to earth, hard working people, who come from average families. Wherever you go there will be some snobby people, but its your decision who you hang out with. If you want to be around nice, genuine people, they exist at Villanova. Also, the student body is extremely kind, and polite. I cannot tell you how many people stop to open doors, or smile to each other on campus. Its a great size student body because you see people you know on campus, but you also see unfamiliar faces. I have made friends at Nova that I can see being my friends for the rest of my life. (Sidebar, the student body does not only have excellent school pride and spirit, but is also extremely attractive and easy on the eyes lol).
Let's talk next about academics. I came into Villanova as an undeclared Arts major. Just a warning if you are like me-- the engineering, business, and nursing school will tease you. I wouldn't say Villanova is the best for Arts, but its good. I highly recommend joining BRIDGE, which is a networking club for liberal art majors, and visiting the Career Center. Villanova has one of the best Career Centers in the country-- take advantage of it, its a wonderful resource! One of the best things about Nova is that you do not feel like a number. I have small class sizes, and I personally know all of my professors-- who were nothing short of amazing! This year, I have become a better writer, critical thinker, and speaker. My classes were challenging, in a good way.
And now, the social life. This is were I will admit I wish things were different. I have spent a lot of money this year on transportation because Villanova does not have frat houses on campus. All parties are off campus. Some are walking distance-- but the closest ones will be at least a mile away. If you know guys in a frat you can get a pledge ride. Many weekends friends and I would take the train and hit up parties at Penn or Temple. The only problem is you have to get a taxi back if its too late, and its usually $10 a head. (Also, if you are a guy work on your guy girl ratio, because if not you will not get into a party). I can't talk from personal experience, but joining a sorority or frat will open many social doors for you-- but you do not have to join to have a social life.
Let's talk about the actual campus. It's gorgeous, spread out, and super safe. There are two convenient train stations located on campus, so if you want to go anywhere it is easily accessible. The campus is in the suburbs, so if you are used to the hustle and bustle of the city, you might find it boring. All freshman live on south campus and have their on dining hall. Its super cozy and you get close with people-- its a little bit of a hike from campus, but its worth it.
As for my living situation, I roomed in Good Counsel. There is a chance you will be put into a triple. For some people it works, others it doesn't. Fortunately, my third roommate moved out last semester. Good Counsel is nice and spacious, and has a sink in the room. I was iffy about communal bathrooms, but they are not that bad. Try to steer clear of Stanford. Its the biggest dorm and people do not get that close. I highly recommend joining a learning community--especially the ones in Katharine! Also, apply for the summer program STOVs. It changed my life.
This is going on quite long, so I am going to wrap it up. I love Villanova, and if I could redo my freshman year at another school I wouldn't. I love the people, I love the activities, I love my professors. I cannot wait to start my sophomore year. Its truly my home.
If you decide to go to Villanova, or any school, be open, be friendly, put yourself out there, and lean into discomfort!
To be honest, I am deeply conflicted about how I feel about my time here. The campus is beautiful, historic, well-maintained, and you feel proud to show off the St. Thomas of Villanova Church to friends and family when they come to visit. The business school (VSB) is top-notch when it comes to career opportunities and promotional endeavors. The professors care about the subjects they teach and are very understanding about personal situations and help outside of the classroom. I loved being in VSB, I loved the academics at Villanova, and I knew that I would have no trouble finding a job due to the alumni connection and good reputation the school has. But beware, if you want a job off the East Coast, Villanova most likely won't get you it....
Where I really struggled at Villanova was with the kids. I hated being on south campus (where the freshmen live) because it was a very unfriendly atmosphere. Roommates are hit or miss, because a lot of kids choose random selection and there is no questionnaire to ensure you get someone you like. I lived in Stanford Hall my first semester and I hated it. It is old, the rooms are small, and I knew nobody in my hall besides my roommate. You pretty much only know your next-door neighbors on a personal basis, but if they are not your "friend group" you really won't talk to them that often. In the other dorms, the floors of students seem to get along much better, so aim to be put in St. Monica's, Katharine, Caughlin, or McGuire Halls.
What I really want to stress to prospective students is that the kids you see that are giving you tours, and leading orientation, and talking to you on the phone are the premier students the University has to offer. I was a tour guide, I was a VSB Ambassador, and I know how exclusive and difficult those organizations are to gain acceptance to. The students that represent Villanova are the most ambitious and passionate about the school, so they're going to lie to you, or at least not give you an honest perspective about your time there. One thing that is important thing to have is a set group of friends that you can eat with, go to parties with, and be in a sorority with. If you don't have one (like I didn't) you're pretty much alone all day every day. I was in over twelve clubs, both related to my personal interests and academics, and I didn't have friends.
Not having friends takes its toll on you. As does the interest in not partying. I didn't go out much because I enjoy relaxing on the weekends and don't drink. All of the kids here go out on Fridays and Saturdays. And they are very open about talking about their evenings in class the next day or at dinner, which gets old very quickly unless you were there.
Bottom line (because I think this is very long):
1. Don't go to Villanova if you don't drink or like to stay in. There are some kids who don't do that, but they were very hard for me to find.
2. Join a learning community so you get put in the newer, smaller dorms
3. If you are not from Pennsylvania, New York, or New Jersey, seriously consider the benefit to you coming here versus a school closer to your home state. I'm from Massachusetts and I regret going to school in PA simply for the fact that it is not easy to travel back home, you can only go home during holidays, and you probably won't know anybody at the school.
4. Be prepared for everyone at the school to be rejects from Penn, BC, Notre Dame, or Georgetown.
5. Rankings aren't everything! The business school and the engineering school are highly ranked (which is partially why I came) but they may not be the best fit for you.
6. If you do come, get involved, and make sure you know how to "market" yourself, because organizations like Special Olympics, Ambassadors, and Blue Key are pretty exclusive.
7. Basketball is easily the biggest thing on campus, and nothing can beat when the team is having a good season. Again, if you don't have a lot of friends, it's hard to watch games or go to them. There is a lottery system, so make sure to attend as many games as you can and keep your "points" in check so you can be rewarded when the rival/important games come along.
8. Service is big here. Religion isn't in your face, but if you're not Catholic, you will notice its presence here.9. Kids are smart here, but it's not an intellectual-type school. No one will be talking about politics and science at dinner.