University Admissions Rate Drops

Kathy Fair, Staff Writer

How is the University’s acceptance rate declining when the class sizes continue to grow? Following Villanova’s early action and early decision releases, it became apparent that the University is cutting admissions going into the 2022-2023 school year. While the official class of 2026 has not been set due to regular decision and waitlist admissions, the University projects a new acceptance rate of 23%.


Several factors may be contributing to this drop in the school’s admission rate: increasing attraction to Villanova through the basketball program, new facilities and majors, the recent change in the early admissions process or the ability for students to apply test-optional. Many of these hypothesized reasons justify recent booms in the University’s application rate, in turn forcing the Admissions Office to accept a lower percentage of students to be able to house and fund enough students on our small campus.


As of 2018, the University began to offer Early Decision admission, wherein a quarter of the incoming class is selected and committed to the school before any regular decision applications are accepted. These differentiated admission options have caused Villanova’s overall acceptance rate to fall in recent years.


The success of Villanova’s basketball team has also contributed to an increase in applications since 2016, and it continues to climb each year. 


“I grew up watching Villanova basketball, so it definitely inspired me to apply and go here,” an anonymous student in the class of 2023 said.


“I had never heard of Villanova before the basketball team won in 2016 and 2018, and it caught my attention and made me look into Villanova without ever hearing about it before,” a student in the class of 2025 said. 


A Forbes article explained the impact of March Madness success on Villanova, supporting that after the 2016 championship win, the University’s application rate rose 21% from the year before. This statistic has continued to climb as Villanova basketball has continued to gain attention. However, the ability to host 21% more students is not feasible, and thus the University must commit to a lower acceptance rate compared to the application rate.


Additionally, the University requests that high school applicants indicate their intended major, and some majors are more difficult to be admitted to than others. The most competitive programs are Biology, Business, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience and Nursing. These programs may inhibit applicants from acceptance from the University if an overwhelming number apply. 


Most recently, new policies following COVID-19 have had an impact on Villanova’s acceptance rate. With the ability for students to apply to universities without needing to send standardized test scores, many more students applied to not just Villanova, but to all universities. The reduced pressure and “metric mania” around standardized testing and its scores encouraged more students to apply. 


Each of these factors may justify the steady decline in Villanova’s acceptance rate. However the University continues to admit as many as possible, as shown by the increasing number of students in recent freshman classes.