The Student News Site of Villanova University

The Villanovan

The Villanovan

The Villanovan

Club Culture, or Competition Culture?

Gabi Frank/Villanovan Photography
While there are many clubs to join at ‘Nova, competition to join some can be disheartening.

One of Villanova’s key selling points is the large variety of clubs it has to offer to its student body. The Villanova admissions officer that visited my high school doubled-down on the exceptional student life the University has grown. It doesn’t matter whether one is a theater kid, an athlete or someone with no particular niche. There is a club for them at Villanova.

So here I am, about eight months later, putting what they said to the test.

To an extent, this idea is true. Villanova boasts more than 300 clubs, including 27 club sports teams. It is virtually impossible for a student to not find a single club that interests them. Even if one is not completely excited by the concept of the club itself, the people and social aspect of these clubs is also an incentive to join.

So, when I was wandering around the Involvement Fair, completely overwhelmed by all the options and colorful tables, I truly felt like the world was my oyster. I left the Finneran Pavilion with a bag stuffed to the brim with informational pamphlets, flyers and little knick-knacks that I’ll probably never use (but wound up taking because I’m a true sucker for free stuff).

There was a catch, though, as getting involved at Villanova can be very hard, especially as a freshman.

When the time for actual tryouts and auditions rolled around, I was suddenly faced with the alarming reality of the competitiveness of select clubs. Most particularly, the club sports teams and performance groups were not nearly as open as they present themselves to be.

I attended three club sport tryouts, one was for a sport I have played my whole life, and four auditions for different performance groups (three a cappella groups and one dance team).

As for how many of these groups I passed the tryout stage for, if you were to guess none, you would be correct.

This is not me intending to say that competitiveness or selectivity is bad. I cannot ultimately fault them for trying to keep their numbers at a reasonable rate. Running a club can be time-consuming, not to mention expensive.

What I can fault them for, though, is not being transparent about the competitiveness of their organizations.

I had low expectations for the club sports. The competition was insanely fierce and the talent that showed up to tryouts was truly on another level.

It was the performance groups that I was surprised by. Many of them advertise themselves as low pressure, beginner-friendly groups. The audition lists for these groups were extremely long and in the end, most groups only took on three or four new members.

In my opinion, the selectivity of these particular groups was a complete blindside. I had made a point to ask these leaders about how competitive the audition process was, and now that I’m looking back on it, a lot of them sidestepped the question. 

“It depends on how your vibe goes with ours,” “We don’t have a set number of people we’re looking for” and “We’re just taking it one candidate at a time” were all among the answers I received when I asked about how many people they were looking to bring on.

None of these answers really provide a lot of clarity, and I probably should have taken that as a warning on its own.

Again, I don’t mean this as an attack on these groups at all. Many of them were extremely friendly and encouraging, but I do take issue with the lack of transparency about the slim success rates.

Since coming to Villanova, I have been told over and over to “get involved.” But no one ever told me how difficult that might be.

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Villanovan
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of The Villanovan with technological needs, training, etc!

More to Discover
Donate to The Villanovan
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Villanovan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • P

    PaulSep 25, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    5 of my 6 children attended/attend Villanova & I wholeheartedly agree – many of the clubs are cliques of upperclassmen. The education is great but the openness of the clubs is poor at best.