I went to Villanova for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees and had wonderful experiences at both levels. The faculty are extremely helpful, accessible, intelligent, and reliable. As an undergrad I was able to do substantial research and writing and get frequent feedback about it from my advisors. I presented my research at three academic conferences as an undergraduate. As a grad student I am currently working with professors to prepare two articles for eventual publication. I could not ask for a more wonderful group of teachers. Sure, there's some deadwood, but they're pretty far and few between, and easy enough to avoid.
If you are motivated to go out and grab opportunities -- to participate in research, do your own research, organize committees, create classes, create clubs -- you can do just about anything you want here. The faculty are supportive, and student activities is well funded. But it's not the kind of place that will come to you; you need to take the initiative. I did, and seldom got turned down for anything I wanted to do.
If you are bright and motivated, you need to be in the Honors Program (undergrad). The quality of classes, teachers, and students is amazing -- far better than the general classes, which can be of spotty quality. Advising in the program is top notch as well, and your fellow students are some of the most interesting people on campus. VU has a reputation for being a JCrew kind if place, especially undergrad. It's true to a degree, but I am not particularly JCrewish and I've done just fine. Don't worry about it. Good luck making your decision!
Research Topic(s): National Identity and Whiteness in 19th c. American Literature
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