Our blog highlights our vibrant campus life here at Villanova Preparatory School as well as provides useful resources for students and parents. From event summaries to faculty and student point of views, our blog provides the insights you'll want to read about.
David and GoliathPosted by Marissa Carroll at 10/21/2016
Our inaugural Parent and Faculty Book club was an intimate discussion group of faculty members and parents who met in our theater over coffee and pastries. The discussion centered around Malcolm Gladwell's book, David and Goliath. Gladwell's ideas caused the group to ponder the success of underdogs in society and, considering college admissions, whether or not being a "big fish in a small pond" is helpful to the college experience.
Through his accessible and vignette style writing, Gladwell introduces us to many examples of underdogs who challenged the status quo and won, using a myriad of tactics along the way. Whether it be outlining the non-traditional basketball coaching of an inexperienced team in the Silicon Valley or highlighting the events that led to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s success in overcoming racial tensions in the South, our readers were exposed to stories of underdogs that we did not know existed. Of particular interest to our readers was the section on students initially declared as science majors perpetuating to graduation while staying declared as a science major.
Gladwell asks his readers to consider two students who have the same SAT scores, grades, and passions entering college. One attends a school where they are towards the top of the incoming freshmen class and the other attends a school where they are in the middle. He then asks us to consider the classes where the student will be competing with other students in the field and how each student will feel when comparing herself to her classmates in the same field. He theorizes that for the student who feels successful in her respective "pool," she will continue to feel successful and perpetuate to graduation; for the student who, with the same credentials, feels unsuccessful in comparison to her peers who are doing better, she will change majors because she feels she cannot be successful in the coursework. This particular example sparked discussion in our group which wandered to the topic of college fit, college choice, and how students preserve intellectual confidence when they are faced with other students from across the nation who are similarly situated in their high schools.
I had the opportunity to hear the audio book read by Malcolm Gladwell himself. If you find yourself on a long car ride or a few long commutes, I highly recommend it!
We invite you all to our next book club meeting, January 5, 2017, at 7:00 pm. We will discuss the book Excellent Sheep by William Deresiewicz.
Spring Musical - The Wizard of OzPosted by Margaux '17 at 5/12/2016
Just a few weekends ago, Villanova's performing arts program finished up its spring production of The Wizard of Oz. Countless weeks of work culminated in four beautiful performances open to students, faculty, and community members. As a junior, I have loved every minute I've been able to spend on stage at Villanova and I was so sad to finish up my second-to-last Nova musical. I love the family that forms during a show. We form a community of actors, actresses, singers, and dancers, even if some of the cast wouldn’t have identified themselves as that previously. The tight-knit community formed by being in a small, private school is intensified when you participate in something like theater, sports, or a club, and it's something I wouldn't give up for the world.
When I first came to Villanova, I turned an immediate focus to the amphitheater. As much as I had loved my tiny, Catholic elementary and middle school, the one thing I never got to do during the school year was theater. I had done countless productions in summer programs, but I was excited to see what opportunities high school theater was going to bring. Now for any future students doubting the beauty of our quaint amphitheater, I’m here to share some knowledge as both a performer and an attendee of our outdoor performances.
1. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the sun set behind a performance.
It adds an extra layer of scenery to the pre-constructed set. It reminds the audience how lucky we are to be in Southern California with our mountains and our oak trees and our pink moments; (which if you haven't experienced yet, are truly beautiful points in the sunset where everything is beautifully pink).
2. Cold brings people together.
I love the camp-out atmosphere of attending a performance in the amphitheater. Everyone brings their blankets, chairs, sleeping bags, and jackets and we all settle in to watch our friends perform.
3. Nature is pretty awesome.
I would never call myself a nature-fanatic, but I truly enjoy the time I get to spend outside during the musical performances and practices. There’s something soothing about seeing the night sky form above you, and it's a much-needed stress reliever during a crazy time of year.
For anyone interested in performing arts, try out! No experience necessary. We form a show together and we’re here to help each other. I love every second I’ve spent with my friends practicing or supporting other performers and I wouldn't give my experiences up for anything.
College Counseling CountsPosted by Brian Galetto at 4/14/2016
With the cost of college tuition increasing each year, it's become essential to understand and prepare for the college admission process. At Villanova, that's where our College Counseling Department steps in. Marissa Carroll, Director of College Counseling, along with Jessica Benson, Academic/Guidance Counselor, prepare students for one of the biggest decisions of their academic careers. Villanova’s comprehensive counseling process begins freshman year when students meet one-on-one with Jessica Benson to identify learning styles and set academic goals. From there, students begin to identify passions or interests they want to pursue, mold a course schedule around those passions, and, with the help of both counselors, build a portfolio of possible schools that would fit their needs. When asked about the role college counseling played in helping her get into the University of Southern California (USC), Celeste '16 had this to say: "From early on Mrs. Benson helped me see the bigger picture in terms of what courses I should take. She encouraged me to take challenging, higher level classes in math and science because I planned on studying medicine in college. Even when I decided that I was more interested in law, both Mrs. Benson and Mrs. Carroll identified the history courses and electives that would best prepare me for that degree. Even though I always knew I wanted to go to USC, they helped me make that a reality, and for that I am very grateful."
In the early stages of high school, most students are not sure which college or university is the best fit for them. To help students learn more about different schools throughout the country, Villanova hosts a college fair each semester. At each fair, colleges and universities from all over the country come and share information on what makes them unique and appealing. However, when colleges and universities are not on campus, our college counselors serve as liaisons between our students and college admission officers throughout the country. This constant contact serves as a way for our counselors to keep up to date on what schools expect from prospective students, while also sharing with those same institutions the quality of students that come from Villanova. “This year we welcomed more institutions to our college fairs than we have ever had in the past. Admission counselors know that Villanova students are well prepared for the rigors of college academics,” emphasized Marissa Carroll.
Meeting with representatives on campus during college fairs is great, but if one truly feels that a school is the right fit, we encourage them to visit college campuses. One way we help with this is by offering a Spring College Tour every year. The tour is designed for our students to visit eight to ten different colleges and universities in a designated region, while also exploring the surrounding cities or towns to get a better sense of whether or not the school and community are a strong fit for them. Over the past few years we've traveled to the East Coast, Northern California, Philadelphia and DC, and this year we visited the Pacific Northwest. We had 14 students attend the trip and they toured the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Gonzaga University, and the University of Washington, among others. At the same time, they were able to spend some time in Portland and Eugene, Oregon as well as Spokane and Seattle, Washington. When asked about his experience, Joey '19 talked about what he enjoyed most: “Before this trip, I didn’t know much about the Pacific Northwest, but afterward I know that I will definitely apply to some of the schools I visited, especially Oregon State. I enjoyed the atmosphere of the schools. Everyone was studying and looked interested in what they were learning. Checking out the dining halls showed me a lot about each school. When you serve good food for the students, it makes such a difference.” So whether it's the environment of the school, or the food, taking trips to visit campuses proves to be a vital part of the college admission process.
Lastly, communication is a critical component to the college admission process. With that in mind, keeping our parents informed throughout this process is crucial. We conduct one-on-one meetings with our families and their college counselor so they can detail and identify the courses and also the colleges that students might be interested in. Our college counselors also hold "Coffee with Counselors" to invite parents to learn more about what can be a complicated college admission process. Certain sessions will include some question and answer opportunities with admission representatives from local colleges and universities, or "experts" in the college counseling field. Other sessions simply serve as a forum for our parents and college counselors to chat about a specific topic, such as recent changes to the ACT.
Being a college preparatory school, we pride ourselves on setting our students up for success once they leave Villanova. That starts with finding the right college or university for each of them. Through our comprehensive college counseling process, we feel confident that each Villanova graduate has found the right school that will help them develop into a leader in the 21st century.