Selection Criteria

Students walking through campus

The selection committees for the Presidential Scholarship and the Underrepresented Presidential Scholarship for Diversity, Equity, and Social Change take a holistic approach in reviewing applicants and evaluate candidates on eight criteria, including:

  • Academic Achievement - Scholars exhibit academic excellence, curiosity, and a willingness to consider a diversity of perspectives. Academic excellence is also demonstrated through high school course selection and GPA, as well as a high level of achievement on the SAT and/or the ACT, should the applicant choose to provide this information. Villanova University is test-optional for the 2023-24 Admission Cycle. Under this policy, students may choose whether to submit SAT and/or ACT results for consideration when submitting their applications. SAT/ACT scores are not required for Presidential Scholarship consideration for the 2023-24 cycle.
  • Passion and Commitment - Scholars demonstrate sustained involvement with causes, movements, and organizations about which they deeply care.
  • Civic Engagement - In accordance with Villanova’s Mission and Diversity Statements, Scholars demonstrate sustained commitment to service in their school and civic communities. They, too, nurture a concern for the common good and share an enthusiasm for the challenge of responsible and productive citizenship to build a just and peaceful world.
  • Creativity - Scholars are imaginative and embrace new ways of thinking. Their capacity for creative expression and willingness to engage in new ideas shapes them as emerging leaders in their fields.
  • Leadership - Scholars demonstrate how they take responsibility, initiative, and action, defining their own style of leadership.
  • Resiliency - Scholars show their ability to navigate systemic challenges and utilize resources to overcome obstacles. They demonstrate an awareness of how they have changed over time and consider how their experiences have shaped them.
  • Response to Systemic Challenges - Each Scholar is a changemaker. They work to understand systemic challenges and how they impact people and communities and respond to them accordingly.
  • Vision for the Future - Scholars pursue positive change, exhibiting persistence and formulating a vision to address pressing issues. They are charged with leaving a legacy that changes lives for the better, on an individual and global level. 

In addition to a record of superior academic achievement, we seek evidence of excellence in candidates as persons vigorously engaging in the world around them.

While there are no minimum grade point average or standardized test score requirements for Presidential Scholarship eligibility, nominees must be competitive applicants to Villanova University. See the Villanova Admission Profile for more information.

Visit the Undergraduate Admission FAQs for more details about admission to Villanova, including what it means to apply "test-optional."

The Presidential Scholars Program is administered by the Center for Research and Fellowships.