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.

  • 5 Interview Tips to Stand Out

    Posted by Tyler Hart on 2/2/2018

    Are you nervous? That's a good thing. This energy will keep you on your toes and ready to pounce. Embrace what lies ahead. After all, it is your future.

    From the many students who've come through our doors for the precious admission interview, there have been a good number that have left a lasting impression. Perhaps it was what they said, or even how they said it, that has resonated. Here are a few of those observations that you can take as advice before heading into your own important conversations.



    Actually, there are six tips. How you prepare for the interview is nearly as important as the interview itself. For every minute you spend preparing for the interview, that is one less "Umm" you will utter during the interview.

    #0: Know Yourself

    Someone once asked me, what three words do I live by? Well, what is important to you? Family, Honor, Trust, Compassion? A little soul searching goes a long way and you'll be surprised how, once clarified, these values seem to seep into our various thoughts, actions, and words. What are your strengths? What value will you bring to the community? How are you looking to grow? All of these talking points are what we really want to know, most of which we will outright ask you about. It's best to be prepared.

    #1: Build Momentum with your First Impression You got this!

    If you want people to think you are a responsible, independent, determined individul, then act like it. Studies show that likability opens more doors. Stand up, make eye contact, and give a solid handshake with a warm, confident, "Nice to meet you." This sets the tone for the rest of the conversation. You'll be surprised how much of a confidence booster you'll get after a solid introduction. Now carry that momentum.

    #2: Boast about your Past

    While pride is, indeed, one of the seven deadly sins, this is not the time to be humble! The interview is your time in the spotlight, so shine it on your many accomplishments. This is your evidence for building the case that you are a strong candidate.What are your selling points? Weave those into the various points and responses you give.

    NOTE: Some of us have made big enough mistakes in life that a discussion regarding the past is necessary. Be transparent. Use the word mistake when referencing the action, and then talk about the important lessons you've learned. Be genuine.

    #3: Make it a Conversation

    Come with questions! Realize this isn't just an interview to see if you are a good fit, but also to see if this environment is a good fit for you! Think of it this way: Have you ever tried to carry a conversation with someone who won't engage? It's so one-sided and tiring! Well, that is like an interview when only one person is asking all the questions! Be an active participant. Come with your list and mentally add those questions that pop up mid-interview.

    #4: Present the Future

    Where do you see yourself heading in ten years? Yes, that is a question we ask. We want to know how much thought you've given toward your future. Even if we don't ask this question directly, you should touch on this. Follow the old mantra, KISS: Keep It Simple, Stu**d. A detail-oriented timeline is not necessary. We want to hear your goals, possible career paths, accomplishments that matter to you. Your passion and excitement will shine through, a bonus.

    #5: Conclude

    When everyone's questions are answered and the conversation has run its course, say thank you. If a comment made by the interviewer sticks with you, then tell them that. This not only demonstrates your skills as a listener, but also shows that you are invested in your future.

    The more prepared for the interview you are, the easier it will have seemed once all is said and done. Allow yourself to debrief, what went well and what didn't, and then don't think about it again. There's no sense in dwelling on the past, especially once you've learned from it. Be forward thinking. Focus on the future and make use of the present to get there.

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  • David and Goliath

    Posted by Marissa Carroll on 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.

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  • Spring Musical - The Wizard of Oz

    Posted by Margaux '17 on 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).

    Villanova Prep Spring Musical

    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.

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  • College Counseling Counts

    Posted by Brian Galetto on 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."

    Villanova Prep College Counseling 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.

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  • Engineering, Science, and Camaraderie at Santa Clara University

    Posted by Brian Galetto on 3/22/2016

    Each year the Clare Boothe Luce Scholar Program at Villanova visits either Santa Clara University (which is one of twelve universities in the country that receives funding from the Henry Luce Foundation) or the Catalina Marine Institute. This year, over twenty female students in the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) program spent two days learning about science, math, and engineering during their trip to Santa Clara University.

    Villanova Prep Clare Boothe Luce While there, the students visited and worked in the School of Engineering's Maker Lab. This was a major highlight for them because not only were they able to observe and learn about the equipment in the lab, but they were also able to have a hands-on experience and work with the tools. Samantha '17 expanded on her time in the lab, “Being able to work with the equipment is something I really enjoyed. We were able to use 3-D printers and scanners to create our own 3-D models. That is something that I've never done before and the experience helped me understand more about the 3-D process.” On top of creating 3-D models, the girls also participated in an experiment where they split into groups and constructed a marshmallow tower in less than eighteen minutes.

    Learning more about math and science was the main objective of the trip; however, another benefit of the two-day trip was the camaraderie built among the female students in the program. Emmalee '18 reinforced this point, “I enjoy the CBL trips because I get to know my classmates better. Sometimes I don’t have the chance to see many of the girls outside of school, so to spend two days together and have fun, while at the same time learn about topics that interest all of us is always a lot of fun.” On top of building unity among the group of females on the trip, AnAn Che '13 and Kelly Cox Gonzalez '12, two former CBL participants and Villanova alumnae who are now studying science at Santa Clara University, also joined the girls to show them around campus and share their experiences.

    The unity and hands-on experience the young ladies received at Santa Clara University reinforced the important role the Clare Boothe Luce Scholar Program plays at Villanova. Whether it was working in the Maker Lab, touring campus with current female engineering students, or bonding over the two-day trip, the goal remained the same: introduce and encourage young women to learn more about science, math, and engineering with the hope that they will further explore these fields in college.

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