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Frequently Asked Questions

How many nominations can one high school submit?

We recognize that there are many excellent students within each educational institution, but we ask that schools be selective in their nominations keeping in mind that the Presidential Scholarship is a highly selective process. Approximately 2,000 nominations are submitted every year for the Presidential Scholarship (25 total scholarships are available). We will accept a maximum of six nominations from each high school. We will not accept more than six nominations from any individual school.  

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My Guidance Counselor/Principal said they nominated me, but I did not receive a confirmation email. What should I do?

It is possible that the email address your nominator entered on the nomination form was either incorrect or is blocking the message. Many high school accounts will reject our emails, or they may be filtered into a junk mail or spam folder. We can re-send the email confirmation, or send to a different address, if you contact us at Please make sure that is set as a safe sender in your email account. If your nominator's nomination did not go through successfully for any reason, we will not be able to accept a nomination after 11:59 PM (PST) on December 1st. Thus, it is in your best interest to contact us as soon as possible if you believe you should have received a confirmation email and have not.

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What attributes and qualities are the selection committees looking for in a Presidential Scholar?

Each Presidential Scholar is talented and unique, contributing to the University community both in and outside the classroom in diverse ways. Some common characteristics of Presidential Scholars are a love of learning and a commitment to enhancing their local community as well as the broader civic community. The Presidential Scholars Program seeks to attract academic, culture, and civic leaders who are actively engaged in learning both through the classroom and in their extracurricular activities. There is no GPA requirement. Note: Villanova University is test-optional for the 2020-21 Admission Cycle. Under this policy, students may choose whether or not 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 2020-21 cycle.

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How is financial need taken into consideration for the Presidential Scholarship?

The Presidential Scholars Program (PSP) selection committees are sensitive to the financial needs of the Presidential Scholarship applicants and will take into consideration demonstrated financial need when making final decisions on the awards. However, award decisions are comprised of multiple factors including: demonstrated academic performance, active participation in their school and the broader civic community, leadership, civic engagement, creativity, expertise in a particular field, and ability to respond effectively to adversity. The PSP selection committees take a holistic approach to understanding students within their contexts and look at multiple criteria in making a final award decision.

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If a student does not receive the Presidential Scholarship, but is a finalist, is he/she eligible for other awards?

We recognize that Presidential Scholarship finalists are exceptional, talented students. Presidential Scholarship finalists (those who are invited to participate in the interview process) are offered the highest of our partial scholarships ($16,000/yr) and can be considered, if eligible, for other scholarships and awards through the Office of Financial Assistance. Students are encouraged to complete the process of applying for need-based financial aid since the vast majority of the University's financial aid budget is awarded primarily on the basis of need.

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What are the commitments of a Presidential Scholar?

Although Presidential Scholars naturally choose to commit themselves to multiple academic and extracurricular activities, the University provides support and guidance for Presidential Scholars to help them reach their utmost potential. Presidential Scholars are provided with academic advising from the University Honors Program and are expected to participate in the University Honors Program to an extent that is appropriate to their course of study. Furthermore, Presidential Scholars are involved in cultural, intellectual, and service activities throughout the academic year. Additional guidance and support is provided by the Center for Research and Fellowships (CRF) and the Center for Access, Success and Achievement (CASA). Scholars are expected to meet regularly with CRF and CASA during their time at Villanova.

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Why does the interest form ask if students would like to be considered for the Presidential Scholarship for historically underrepresented students?

Each year, the University awards a number of Presidential Scholarships to historically underrepresented students who have demonstrated leadership in their ability to make significant academic and social contributions to their school and communities. The University is committed to diversity within the classroom and campus climate and believes that learning is best achieved through sharing diverse perspectives and ideas. The Presidential Scholarship for historically underrepresented students is one way the University upholds its commitment to providing an excellent education to all of its students. Students who identify as historically underrepresented are reviewed by BOTH their College selection committee and the Underrepresented Presidential Scholarship (UPS) selection committee.

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What constitutes historically underrepresented students?

We ask Presidential Scholarship applicants to self-identify as historically underrepresented students. In general, students who are African American/Black, Latino/Hispanic, American Indian/Native Alaskan, Asian/Pacific Islander, are the first in their family to pursue a college education, and/or who come from a low-income family (usually Pell Grant eligible), would be considered to be historically underrepresented.

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For more information about The Presidential Scholarship, contact:

Contact Information

Center for Research and Fellowships
Garey Hall 200 (top floor) 
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610-519-8803
Fax: 610-519-6623

Michael Westrate
Director, Center for Research and Fellowships & Presidential Scholars Program

Catherine Stecyk
Associate Director, Center for Research and Fellowships

Chelsea Benincasa
Assistant Director, Center for Research and Fellowships & Presidential Scholars Program

Kelsey Fenner
Assistant Director, Center for Research and Fellowships

Sage Milo
Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Research and Fellowships

Denise Caramanico
Office Coordinator (Part Time), Center for Research and Fellowships