Status: ‘In a relationship’

Male-female non-platonic relationships in college generally fall into two categories: “hook-ups” and relationships. Most colleges, then, can be classified as either “hook-up schools” or “relationship schools.” The latter is certainly where Villanova falls.

Villanova’s status as a relationship school is evident from everyone’s first experience on campus: The Blue Key Tour. Tour guides love to mention the stories of the whispering arches at Corr, the willow tree near Tolentine and, of course, the unverified and ever-changing statistics rattled off once you pass by the Church. Rumors include, “Pick your date before you pick a mate,” you hear; “two-thirds of Villanova graduates marry each other, and there’s apparently a four-year wait to be married in the Church.”

So why are Villanova students more likely to couple-off than students at other schools?

The quick yet incomplete answer lies in tradition. As a Catholic school where 75% of the student body is Catholic, Villanova brings together students with similar values and encourages friendships, family and relationships, not casual hookups. There’s more of a social stigma for engaging in a lot of casual hook-ups.

A more relevant answer, though, lies deeper within the Villanova community. Villanova is a relatively small university. The community-feel fosters relationships, but also constrains the social scene.

The University and the small group feel that it promotes (small classes, orientation groups) lead to smaller-sized groups of friends. People tend to hang out with the same group of people, leading to a clique-like dynamic similar to that of high school. People in small groups tend to couple-off over time.

Villanova’s social scene does much to encourage this. Greek Life has a strong presence on campus and each fraternity and sorority hosts a number of social functions that require dates, contributing to the relationship tradition. Other organizations on campus host formal events as well; this isn’t the norm at other schools.

Thus, the social scene consists of formal events and people congregating in smaller groups – there isn’t the abundance of house parties like you might find at a larger or public university. Villanova’s suburban location, with easy access to restaurants and activities in Philadelphia, is also conducive to relationships, unlike a more rural school.

Other reasons abound, like the fact that some Villanova students went to single-sex high schools, or the high rankings Villanova receives for attractiveness (A for girls, A- for guys, according to College Prowler) – these both may make relationships appealing.

The jury is out as to whether or not the high number of relationships at Villanova is a plus or a minus for students and the social scene. The certain thing, though, is that it is a byproduct of it. The community aspect of Villanova also leads to a clique-type social scene; people spend time in smaller groups. These smaller groups lead to couples, who, if Villanova’s statistics are any predictor, may very well end up married. That’s a lot to ponder this Valentine’s Day.