VUnited Scholars Admissions


Villanova seeks candidates with intellectual curiosity and a strong interest in pursuing careers and independent living, all while residing on campus with the Villanova community and learning in an inclusive Catholic environment. VUnited students are highly motivated, with diverse learning challenges and other special needs.

Applying to the VUnited Scholars program at Villanova is highly competitive with a very limited number of spots. We encourage all applicants to thoughtfully complete the application process and adhere to all requirements and deadlines.

To be accepted into the program, students:

  • Have a diagnosis of an intellectual disability.
         Intellectual disability is defined in the Higher Education Opportunity Act
         is a student
              (A) with a cognitive impairment, characterized by significant
              limitations in - 
                      (i) intellectual and cognitive functioning; and
                      (ii) adaptive behavior as expressed in conceptual, social, and
                       practical adaptive skills; and 
              (B) who is currently, or was formerly, eligible for a free appropriate
               public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education
               Act [20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.].
  • Typically hold a GED, Diploma or Certificate of Completion.
  • Be at least 18 years old and no older than 24 years old before August 31st of the academic year.
  • Be able to live in student housing with limited support.
  • Have basic safety skills in unsupervised settings.
  • Have support from family and a personal desire to gain necessary skills for self‐determination, independent living and employment.
  • Be able to independently navigate the Villanova University campus.
  • Manage unsupervised time independently.
  • Navigate moderate social or executive functioning challenges independently.
  • Recognize appropriate social and physical boundaries.
  • Manage, basic health, medicine and hygiene needs independently.



  • Complete application for admission here
  • $50 Application Fee
  • Parent Questionnaire
  • Essay/Audio/Video
    • Essay: 150-250 words
    • Audio/Video:  no more than 2 minutes
    • Please answer the following questions:
      1. Why are you interested in attending the VUnited Scholars program?
      2. Describe your family, community or school.
      3. Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, or contribution that is important to you.
      4. Please tell us about any jobs you’ve had and if you’ve ever lived away from home before.
  • Documentation of Intellectual Disability
    An intellectual disability can be documented by:
    (a) prior eligibility evidence of special education services under IDEA as a student with an intellectual disability, or
    (b) an evaluation and diagnosis of an intellectual disability from a psychologist or other qualified professional, or
    (c) a record from a government agency (e.g., vocational rehabilitation) that identifies the intellectual disability.
  • Official High School Transcript or official GED state equivalency diploma and scores. Unofficial copies of transcripts/GED scores ban be used for application review. If accepted, official transcripts/scores will be required. If a HS transcript is unavailable, please contact us at 
          Please send these materials to:
            MAIL: Villanova University
                     College of Professional Studies
                     800 E. Lancaster Ave
                     Villanova, PA 19085


All evaluations, psychological tests and adaptive assessments can be uploaded to the application.


Education Evaluation

Evaluations should have been conducted within the past 3 years. Please include grade level equivalents that were obtained on one these tests:

  • Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)
  • Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement (KTEA)
  • Most recent IEP or Section 504 accommodation plan (if applicable)
  • Psychological Tests and Adaptive Assessments

Adaptive Assessments and other types of assessments may be chosen from this list:

  • Adaptive Behavior Assessment System (ABAS-III)
  • Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule – 2 (ADOS-2)
  • Autism Diagnostic Interview- Revised (ADI-R)
  • Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC-3)
  • Conner’s Behavior Rating Scales (CBRS)
  • Vineland Adaptive Behavior Rating Scales (VABS) (including the maladaptive subscale)
  • Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale II (VABSII) or Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale III (VBSIII).
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and a full protocol (all sub-test scores and verbal, performance, and full-scale scores) and a written report
  • Woodcock Johnson IV Cognitive Test of Abilities
  • Woodcock Johnson IV Tests of Achievement

The assessment needs to include a psycho-social history and a combination of psychological tests, and adaptive rating scales. The assessment must be in narrative form and include recommendations for any treatment (psychotherapy or medication) the psychologist finds necessary for the student to function independently in a campus setting.

The goal is to address emotional, behavioral, and social issues that might influence the fit between the student’s needs and the program’s ability to meet those needs. The choice of instruments depends on the psychologist’s knowing the student’s cognitive abilities and using appropriate techniques for that student.


Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation. Letters may come from non-family members who have known the applicant for at least 3 years. We encourage you to get recommendation letters from teachers, principals, guidance counselors, and employer/work supervisors.

Recommendations should include:

  • How long the recommender has known the applicant and in what capacity.
  • Recommenders should also discuss the applicant’s ability to relate to teachers, peers, young children & the elderly.
  • Please include examples of interactions the recommender has with the applicant in school, home, or leisure.
  • In addition, the recommender should discuss the applicant’s emotional ability in regards to stress and adapting to new situations.

Recommendation letters can be uploaded to the application.


Once all materials, evaluations/assessments, and recommendation letters are submitted, the admissions committee will select and contact the final candidates to participate in an Interview. The admissions committee includes members from Admissions, Program Advising, and the Office of Disability Services. Interviews are scheduled in-person or via Zoom.


Fall 2025 Cohort Application dates 

September 2024

Application Opens

January 31, 2025

Deadline to Apply with all Materials

20-21, 27-28,

Final Candidacy Day - Selected students will shadow a current VUnited Scholars student and have lunch. The Admissions Team will meet with parents/guardians while students are shadowing.


March 21, 2025

Decisions Released

April 11, 2025

Accepted Students' Day

May 1, 2025

Deposit Due


Occasionally space may become available over the Summer, please inquire if the application is re-opened.

College of Professional Studies

800 E. Lancaster Avenue
Vasey Hall, Room 103
Villanova, PA 19085

Maps & Directions to Campus

The VUnited Scholars Program seeks new partners who believe in expanding inclusive access to higher education.