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Villanova was a great school and I am SO glad I went. From the first time I visited campus I knew it was the right school for me. Here's my breakdown: People: Nova students do fit the stereotype of arrogant silly rich kids a lot of the time.. and diversity is very low. Everyone is incredibly friendly though, and it is hard NOT to make a ton of great friends. I hung out with a nerdy artistic crowd myself, but there is a good greek life presence if that is your thing, and lots of parties as long as you know someone with a car. Religion: You do have the occasional jesus freak but honestly they are few and far between. In four years I only had 3 or 4 friends who went to church regularly. The schools' Catholicness is only revealed in everyone having to take two semesters of theology (but it can be any theology, not just Christian!), and nice masses and events being held at the church. You hardly ever see the priests and classes are not taught with a religious slant or anything. Honestly half the time I forgot it was even a Catholic school.. most people are conservative but there aren't rules against having clubs for liberal politics or GLBT activities, and definitely almost all of my friends were quite liberal. Safety: This campus is ridiculously safe. People take it for granted while they are there, but I now attend a large urban university and boy do I miss the feeling of walking across Nova campus at 3am drunk, knowing nothing will ever happen. Public safety is kind of a joke so don't count on them for much; fortunately it's so safe you don't really need them. Social scene: There are so many fun things to do at Nova! I hung out with art and music people mostly, and had a lot of nerdy friends from my major. All the clubs have parties and formals (I went to the radio formal, theater formals, CAT (campus activities team) formals, etc) if that's your thing. A LOT of people are into sororities/frats. But there are no sorority houses and people just rush, get in, and put the greek letters on their dorm window and still live among everyone else. I had a lot of friends in the greek life and they loved it, although it wasn't for me. Philly is easy to get to and there is lots of great nightlife there. There are a lot of great bars around campus.. Brownies, Maloney's, the Onion.. some within walking distance. Senior year we were at the bars every night for the great specials. There is a lot of partying in the dorms too - it's easy to hide alcohol and the rules for coed visitation are lax compared to other catholic universities. All they care about is that you don't enter the dorm after midnight.. but if you're already there they don't care. Overall the social scene is what you make of it; stay in your room and complain and you will have a lousy time. But get involved and be friendly to people in your classes, and you will have a nonstop supply of stuff to do on weekends. I was never bored. Activities: Nova is a primarily undergraduate school, so the clubs are all undergrad-dominated and you don't necessarily have to be the "right" major to participate. A biology major could direct the campus theater production, for example (at my new school you have to be a senior theater major to even get involved at all). There are so many clubs that you can find one for whatever you are interested in.. band, community service, religious/political, you name it. Almost everyone I knew in my major (a major that was incredibly challenging and took up all our time) still was able to participate in campus activities, and there are clubs that are understanding if you have a demanding major and are not always able to give it your all. Basketball is also big here and there is a whole social scene associated w/ the athletics if that's your thing. Nova bball fans are crazy and tailgates are fun. Academics: This depends on your field, as Nova specializes in some things and is so-so in others. Nursing, bio, astronomy, physics, philosophy, business are majors I always heard great things about. Education was one I heard was shitty. Classes were always small, except one or two 100 person lectures in the lower levels of science (like beginning physics or math). I never had a TA in all four years, and professors are intelligent and always willing to help. Profs make themselves available (in my experience) and hold regular office hours and will spend hours helping students with HW problems. The honours program is nice, it allows you to take some fun classes, but honestly it was mainly just a line on the resume. However - the honours people are really involved in career counseling/scholarship type stuff and will proofread your applications or whatever you need. So it is worth it to join. Overall - academics at Nova were excellent and I was better prepared for graduate school than anyone else I have met from other universities. For a science major especially I would recommend coming here!!! The name recognition has opened so many doors and I have gotten internships and jobs and grad school scholarships that would not have been possible w/o my Nova education. Financial: Nova is freakin EXPENSIVE. Everyone I knew there was either filthy rich, or in massive personal debt by graduation. My parents took out loans and I personally owe >$30,000 myself. They will give you good fin aid your first year, and quickly reduce it for the years after. I ended up getting an alumni scholarshp which was the only reason I was able to stay. My advice to people planning to attend Nova is to PLAN AHEAD and apply for LOTS of scholarships!! Every semester I applied for 5 or 6 outside scholarships and it saved my butt. Overall Villanova was a great experience and I would not trade it for anything!! Career and education wise it was amazing. But really its the social and "family"-type community aspect that will stay with me. Anywhere you go you can meet up with Nova alums and it's like you're instant friends. Coming back to visit campus is like coming back home, and I can definitely say that was the best four years of my life! I say visit and see if it's your thing, and if you feel like you'd fit in, go for it cause you will have the time of your life.
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