syracuse supplemental essays

Syracuse Supplemental Essays

Looking for guidance on how to get into Syracuse? One key part of your application is the Syracuse supplemental essays. Namely, the Why Syracuse essay will play a large role in showing admissions why you belong at Syracuse University. In this guide, we will explore how to respond effectively to the Syracuse essay prompts.

While there are many parts to any college application, the essays are one of the most important. Your Syracuse supplemental essays are an opportunity to highlight different aspects of your personality to admissions. As a selective private school, Syracuse is hoping to build a class that is thoughtful, community-oriented, and talented. Through your Syracuse supplemental essays, you can showcase these characteristics and much more about yourself. 

Throughout this Syracuse University supplemental essays guide, we will methodically provide all the information you need to write excellent Syracuse supplemental essays. We will explore the Syracuse essay prompts in detail, noting what makes the Why Syracuse essay unique. Lastly, we will provide tips on how to make your Syracuse supplemental essays stand out, and how to get into Syracuse by beating the Syracuse acceptance rate.

Syracuse Admissions: Quick Facts

Syracuse University Admissions Quick Facts

  • Syracuse University Acceptance Rate: 52%–U.S. News ranks Syracuse University at #67 on their National Universities list. 
  • Syracuse University Essay Requirements:
    • Personal statement
    • 1 (~ 250 word) essay
  • Syracuse University Application: Students must submit their Syracuse University application through the Common Application or Coalition Application. Prepare your Syracuse University supplemental essays and other required application materials before applying. 
  • Syracuse University Application Deadlines:
    • Early Decision: November 15th
    • Early Decision II: January 5th
    • Regular Decision: January 5th 
  • Syracuse University Essay Tip: When writing the Why Syracuse essay, review your draft carefully to ensure you are answering all parts of the prompt. Your essay should be captivating, but also comprehensive. So, after you’ve finished writing, double-check the prompt to make sure you stay on track!  

Does Syracuse have supplemental essays?

Yes – Syracuse has one supplemental essay. The Why Syracuse essay is an opportunity to stand out to admissions. And, since there are not multiple Syracuse supplemental essays, it is critical to write a strong response to this one. 

In general, supplemental essays are short, school-specific essays that allow you to make the case for why you’re the perfect fit for that institution. Indeed, Syracuse University supplemental essays responses must be 250 words or fewer. With so few words, every single one will count. As such, plan to spend time editing to remove any unnecessary words. This will ensure that you are using your space for ideas that answer the Syracuse essay prompts.

Your Syracuse University supplemental essays are one of the few ways to make your Syracuse application stand out. Likewise, the personal statement is another important piece of your Syracuse requirements. But, what’s the difference between the Syracuse supplemental essays and the personal statement? Next, we’ll dive into the difference between the two.

How many essays does Syracuse require?

syracuse supplemental essays

In total, a complete Syracuse application includes two essays. The first is your personal statement. A personal statement is an essay that introduces you to the admissions committee. Depending on whether you are applying using the Common App or Coalition App, there will be slightly different personal statement prompts. However, generally, they are all geared towards one goal: showcasing the personal attributes that are part of your college application brand.

While your personal statement will not be Syracuse-specific, you should be writing about aspects of your personality and identity that would be appealing to any college. Additionally, successful essays will be written in a compelling format, with storytelling components like a hook and story arc. You can read more about how to write a powerful personal statement in this CollegeAdvisor resource.

The second essay you will write is the supplemental essay, or the Why Syracuse essay. While there are many types of supplemental essays, the Why Syracuse essay is specifically geared toward understanding why you want to attend Syracuse. Additionally, your Syracuse supplemental essays are another opportunity to showcase your personality, skills, values, interests, and goals. Through this essay, you should demonstrate why you are an ideal Syracuse applicant.

If you’re worried about how to accomplish this in your Syracuse University supplemental essays, don’t stress! Keep reading as we break down the Syracuse essay prompts. 

Syracuse Supplemental Essays

When beginning your Syracuse University supplemental essays, the first step is to make sure you understand the prompt. The good news is there aren’t multiple Syracuse essay prompts to decipher. However, the Syracuse supplemental essays are a bit more complex than the average supplemental essays. Commonly, supplemental essays fall into one of a few types: the Why School essay, Why Major essay, community essay, or personal challenge essay. 

Read the Syracuse prompt below and note which of these common essay categories it falls into:

Syracuse University is a place that seeks to be welcoming to all – and has been since our founding. Explain why you are interested in Syracuse University and describe a personal experience in which you persevered through adversity, rejected discrimination, learned a lesson, or were inspired by the courageous actions of others and how you will apply what you learned to our community in a positive way. * (250 words)

If you guessed that the prompt above is a Why School essay, you are correct. Primarily, your response will be a Why Syracuse essay. As such, you must identify specific reasons you want to attend Syracuse. 

However, this essay prompt could also arguably be categorized as a community essay. Why? The second half of the prompt asks you about a personal experience that taught you something that you can contribute to the Syracuse community. Your personal experience can be an inclusive action you took or witnessed someone else take that taught you an important lesson. Successful Syracuse supplemental essays will be specific about the experience and the lesson itself.

Indeed, there is a lot of ground to cover in your Why Syracuse essay. In the next section, we will cover tips for ensuring you ace your Syracuse essay.

How to write Syracuse supplemental essays

syracuse supplemental essays

Writing Syracuse supplemental essays can be challenging. As we shared above, the Syracuse essay prompts are unique in that they ask you to accomplish several tasks in 250 words. First, you must share why you want to attend Syracuse. Second, you must share a personal story in which you learned a lesson about creating an inclusive community. And lastly, you must share how you hope to apply this lesson while at Syracuse. 

Before you get overwhelmed by the Syracuse University supplemental essays, review these tips for how to write your Why Syracuse essay:

1. Research Syracuse

The first step in writing a Why School essay is to make sure you know about the school. Take some time to research Syracuse using the school’s website, reliable sources like U.S. News and Forbes, and reading student reviews like the ones on Niche. Once you are familiar with the school’s culture, academics, and unique resources, you can write an essay that speaks to your unique interests.

2. Be specific

In this Why Syracuse essay, it is important to be specific about what aspects of Syracuse you are drawn to. Furthermore, you should provide details when explaining your lesson-learning experience. What is the lesson? How will you apply it to your experience at Syracuse? Rather than speaking generally about how you value community, include details such as dialogue, description, or thoughts that are not clichés. With these details, your Why Syracuse essay will surely stand out amongst the thousands of Syracuse supplemental essays that admissions officers read each year.

3. Answer all parts of the prompt

As we have noted several times, the Why Syracuse essay also asks you to identify a specific moment where you learned an important lesson about community. Once you have drafted your essay, make sure you check that it responds to all parts of the prompt. Syracuse supplemental essays that only answer part of the Why Syracuse essay prompts will be unsuccessful in making a compelling case.

4. Edit for conciseness

With only 250 words to answer a complex prompt, you’ll need to ensure that every word in your Why School essay serves a purpose. Ask a trusted mentor or teacher to read your Why Syracuse essay and cut out any unnecessary words or phrases. Also, be sure to edit for grammatical correctness. As much as your Syracuse supplemental essays are about showcasing your personality and ideas, they are also a chance to demonstrate your writing skills.

5. Start early

To ensure you can complete all these steps without stress, start writing your Syracuse University supplemental essays as early as possible. You can begin researching and brainstorming ideas as early as your sophomore or junior year of high school. That way, when the Syracuse essay prompts are available in the summer before your senior year, you’ll be ready to jump right into writing your Syracuse supplemental essays. 

For additional tips for writing your Syracuse supplemental essays, check out this Syracuse article. These tips are useful for writing both the Syracuse supplemental essays and your personal statement.

Now that we have explored how to write successful Syracuse University supplemental essays, let’s look at additional requirements for specific programs at Syracuse.

College-specific Syracuse Requirements

syracuse supplemental essays

At Syracuse University, there are 13 distinct schools and colleges. As we mentioned, there is only one school-specific essay requirement at Syracuse. However, some schools may require applicants to write multiple Syracuse supplemental essays. Applicants to the School of Architecture, the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and some programs in the College of Arts and Sciences will have additional requirements.

Below is a chart that summarizes the Syracuse requirements for specific schools: 

SchoolAdditional Requirements
School of ArchitecturePortfolio of creative work
College of Engineering and Computer SciencesLetter of recommendation from a STEM teacher
College of Visual and Performing ArtsSome programs require a portfolio
College of Arts and Sciences /Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public AffairsAn additional essay is required for the Discovery Program, where students spend their freshman year first semester abroad.
*Always double-check application requirements on the school’s website for the latest info.

Note that only one school requires an additional essay. If you are considering applying to one of these schools, reach out to learn more about these requirements. Most importantly, start preparing early so that you can submit all the necessary materials to your program of interest in a timely and organized fashion.

A Note on Standardized Testing

For Fall 2024 admissions, Syracuse University does not require students to submit standardized test scores. In fact, Syracuse joins the many universities that have gone test-optional in recent years. With fewer schools requiring the submission of SAT and ACT scores, essays play an even larger role in schools’ holistic review processes. 

That being said, students who do not wish to submit SAT or ACT scores will have other parts of their application, such as the Syracuse supplemental essays, weighted more heavily in the review process. As such, it is extra important to put your full effort into writing the best possible Syracuse University supplemental essays. 

Syracuse Architecture Program Requirements

syracuse supplemental essays

One of the special opportunities that draws many applicants to Syracuse is its architecture program. For students interested in a career in architecture, Syracuse University’s architecture program is one of the best in New York State. Architecture is a career that requires a unique set of skills, including artistic talent, creativity, discipline, and adeptness at math and science. Strong architecture programs require multiple studio classes and often have a rigid curriculum, with little room for electives or exploration. 

As such, applying to Syracuse’s Bachelor in Architecture program will require submitting a portfolio. The portfolio includes an additional statement about your interest in a career in architecture and samples of your best artwork. 

Undeniably, the Syracuse acceptance rate for architecture will be even more competitive than the regular admissions rate. Therefore, it is key that your portfolio represents your greatest effort. Spend time writing an architecture personal statement that gives compelling reasons for why you want to study this multifaceted major. Select artwork that is original and represents your unique style. Lastly, attend one of the architecture school’s open houses or events to learn more about the program and how you can make your application stand out.

For those not applying to Syracuse’s architecture program, you might be wondering how important your Syracuse supplemental essays are in the Syracuse admissions process. We will explore just that next.

Syracuse essays and admissions

At this point, it’s normal to be wondering how important the Syracuse supplemental essays are when it comes to evaluating a Syracuse application. In short, the Syracuse supplemental essays are extremely important in the admissions process. Indeed, your Why Syracuse essay is a critical part of your application for several reasons.

For one, the Syracuse acceptance rate is selective. As one of the best schools in New York, Syracuse draws many competitive applicants each year. When schools are selective, they look carefully at all parts of the application to ensure they are selecting the best candidates for their institution. As a liberal arts institution, Syracuse is bound to value the way you think and write in their admissions process.

Secondly, Syracuse uses a holistic admissions process. As a result, they consider many aspects of your profile, from your grades to recommendation letters to your Why Syracuse essay. Each piece of the application puzzle gives the admissions team pertinent information when evaluating an applicant’s candidacy. Indeed, even a student with strong grades can be denied admission if their Why Syracuse essay shows little effort. 

Finally, Syracuse is an institution that values creating a diverse campus climate. When evaluating an applicant, Syracuse admissions officers are looking for more than academic preparedness, character, and purpose. They want to ensure they admit a class with a range of life experiences and skills. For this reason, the Why Syracuse essay prompt specifically asks how you learned a lesson that can help contribute to an inclusive community. As such, this essay is geared towards admitting applicants who will continue Syracuse’s legacy of being a welcoming campus. 

Read more about what Syracuse is looking for in its applicants here.

A Note on Deadlines

Syracuse offers two early decision deadlines, which are the same whether you apply via the Common App or Coalition App. The first is November 15th and the second is January 5th. If you are very confident you want to attend Syracuse, you might wish to take advantage of one of these deadlines. In fact, doing so has the potential to increase your odds of admission. Keep in mind, however, that these deadlines are binding, meaning that you are committing to attend if you are admitted. 

Also, applying Early Decision does not mean you don’t have to write strong essays. If your intended deadline is November 15th, plan to research, draft, and revise your Why Syracuse essay well in advance of this date. Just because there aren’t multiple Syracuse essay prompts, doesn’t mean the essay writing process is quick. Preparing early will not only relieve some of the stress of the college application process, but it will also increase the odds that you are giving your best effort. 

As you prepare to write your Why Syracuse essay, you might be wondering what the school is best known for. In the next section, we will explore some of the highlights of Syracuse University.

What is Syracuse University known for?

syracuse supplemental essays

As we have shared, Syracuse University is a selective private institution. Still, you may be wondering what specifically Syracuse is known for and how a Syracuse education compares to other competitive schools. In fact, understanding the university and its values will be extremely useful when writing your Why Syracuse essay.

Here are a few highlights of what Syracuse University is known for: 

Rigorous liberal arts education

Syracuse is known for offering a liberal arts curriculum, meaning that students have the flexibility to choose from a range of courses among 200 majors and 100 minors. 

Research excellence

According to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, Syracuse is an R1 research institution. As such, it is known for offering doctorate programs and receiving millions of dollars in research grants each year. 

Special programs

As we saw above, Syracuse offers specialized programs in architecture, engineering, and the arts. Some of these programs are among the best in the nation and draw applicants from around the world.

Study abroad programs

Syracuse is ranked #9 for study abroad programs in U.S. News. Through over 100 programs, students can access language exchange, internships, homestays, and seminars around the globe. Syracuse also has campus centers in Italy, Spain, and France, where students who are part of the Discovery Program can spend their first semester of college immersed in a new country.

Orange pride

Few schools are associated with color as strongly as Syracuse is with the color orange. From watching Otto the Orange cheer on sports teams to celebrating National Orange Day, Syracuse students wear the color orange as one of their most important traditions.

When writing your Why Syracuse essay, you might wish to include references to some of these special facets of the Syracuse experience. As long as you’re specific, what you write about matters less than its meaning to you. Therefore, regardless of which aspects of the Syracuse experience you choose to highlight, be sure that they are authentically important to you.

Syracuse Supplemental Essays: Final Takeaways

In this guide to the Syracuse supplemental essays, we explored the Syracuse essay prompts in detail. Specifically, we broke down the meaning of a Why School essay so that hopeful applicants can write their Why Syracuse supplemental essays with confidence.

Since the Syracuse acceptance rate is not extraordinarily high, it is important to put your full effort into the Syracuse supplemental essays. Remember that the Syracuse supplemental essays are your chance to stand out among many applicants. Your essays offer the opportunity to share parts of your experience and character that align with Syracuse’s values and culture. 

Undoubtedly, there is no clear formula for how to get into Syracuse. However, your Why Syracuse essay can offer information that does not exist anywhere else on your application. Take the time to reflect upon your experiences so you can showcase the most compelling parts of your personality.

Lastly, at the point of applying to college, your Why Syracuse essay is one of the few application components that you can control. While your grades may have suffered in an earlier year or you may not have been able to join the extracurriculars you wanted, you now have the opportunity to make your Why Syracuse essay extraordinary. Make the most of this valuable space on your application. 

If you are feeling stressed throughout the college process, remember that you are not alone. When you find that you are struggling to write your Why Syracuse essay, reach out for help. Whether you are talking to a teacher or a CollegeAdvisor admissions specialist, there are many people who can support you with writing your Syracuse supplemental essays. With effort and guidance, you are sure to find your way to the campus of your dreams.

syracuse supplemental essays

This essay guide was written by Courtney Ng. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.