What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

How to Write the Syracuse University Essays 2018-2019

Syracuse University is a private research institution located in an urban setting in Syracuse, NY. Established in 1870 with the motto “Knowledge crowns those who seek her,” Syracuse now has ten schools and colleges for undergraduates, founded between 1870 and 1964. Recently, Syracuse has accepted about 47% of its applicants, with those who apply early-decision seeing a 65% acceptance rate. For a school with a current undergraduate enrollment of 15,252, Syracuse is very cohesive. Students are united in their love for The Orange.


Notable alumni include Lt. Col. Eileen Collins, the first female space shuttle commander, TV personality Dick Clark, and former Vice President of the United States, Joseph Biden. Syracuse boasts an alumni network that spans 50 states and 162 countries. Syracuse is well known for its academic breadth and the distinct and disparate tracks to success each student may take. Students certainly know how to have fun, and the school is known for its electric campus life. Finally, Syracuse possesses one of the top study abroad programs in the country.


Short ‘Why Us?’ Essays for Syracuse University

The following prompts represent a common category of supplemental prompts that ask you why you want to study a specific program at a specific school. The main purpose of these “Why Us?” essays is to show the school why you are interested and why you are a good fit.


This is done by responding to two areas:


  • Why you want to study what you have indicated
  • Why you want to study it here at this specific school


Make sure to do some research so you can provide more than generic examples like “I want to go to a big school” or “I like sports,” which could apply to many other schools. To learn more about “Why us?” essays, read our essay guide How to Write the ‘Why Us?’ College Essay.

Prompt 1:

Who is the person you dream of becoming and how do you believe Syracuse University can help you achieve this? (Response required in 250 words.)

This first prompt asks about who you dream of becoming and how Syracuse can help you achieve this. You certainly want to include examples of programs, classes, extracurriculars, or cultural aspects of the university that will shape you into the mold you wish to fit.


Perhaps you want to learn about sports management in a school with a highly regarded D-1 athletic program. You will want to start by identifying this dream of yours and then provide the evidence that Syracuse is the place for this dream to become a reality.


You could write about how, at Syracuse, you would be surrounded by lots of other people with a ton of love and spirit for their team, so it would be an ideal environment to study athletics. You can focus on concrete skills the university can provide you, as well as less-tangible things such as a robust alumni network. Just make sure you are clearly developing who you want to become into your future as a Syracuse alum.

Prompt 2:

Who or what influenced you to apply to Syracuse University? (Response required in 250 words.)

This prompt presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on the moment you decided you would apply to Syracuse. Did you read a news article that mentioned research being conducted there? Did your college counselor direct you to read about their Communications program? Is one of your friends or relatives a proud Orange fan? Whatever it was that first drew you in, this is the time to share. It also doesn’t have to be the first reason that made you think about applying. If you visited and something felt really right, you could talk about that too.


To continue with the sports example from the previous prompt, you could write about how you attended a football game when you first visited Syracuse. Maybe the weather was terrible but the stadium was still packed and the energy was still high. In that moment, you decided you wanted to be a part of that atmosphere forever. You had always loved sports, but in that moment you knew you wanted to build a career around that love and Syracuse was the right place to do it.


Your responses by no means have to perfectly match in content, but if they have a common theme that is the simplest way to make sure your main intention in applying is properly conveyed. If your responses have a central theme, they become one 500-word essay that perfectly explains, “Why Syracuse?”

Citizenship and Civic Engagement Essay:

Discuss a recent event or news story (international, national or local) that inspired you to take action. What did you attempt to change or achieve? Were you successful or not? What did you learn from the experience? (Response required in 250 words.) *This essay is required for applicants to the Citizenship and Civic Engagement program only.

This is another short response to a fairly elaborate prompt. A similar approach is recommended in which you first identify what you are trying to get across and then delve into the why and how.


Again, there is no time for fluff. Be careful that you don’t spend too much space discussing minor details of the event. If you are writing about a law that recently passed, you would want to simply state what it changed and then immediately how that sparked a change in you. You don’t have to explain obvious details about the legislature, for example.


Let’s say, for example, that a recent news story broke detailing research that concluded that using reusable water bottles instead of plastic ones would end the climate change crisis. You could write about how you’ve always had a passion for the environment and this article was what pushed you to action. Maybe you decided to start a reusable bottle initiative at your school and petitioned the administration to eliminate use of plastic bottles in favor of reusable options. You could analyze the results and how you learned to lead a movement to make your school more green.


Don’t forget to answer every piece of this question. It can be difficult with such a short response, but it is critical to the success of your essay. Syracuse isn’t really trying to determine how well you know current events or how deeply you read the news. They are trying to get a feel for how you react, act, and reflect. Make sure to showcase that.


General Reminders

Prompts with low word limits can often be daunting. You need to make sure that every word in your response is absolutely essential to conveying your message. Further, they usually require more planning and editing and a lot less time in the actual writing stage. If you devote time to those parts of the process, you will surely blow away the admissions committee with your wonderfully concise responses!


Syracuse University accepts the Common Application. If you need assistance with your Common App essays, you can read through our guide How to Write the Common Application Essays 2018-2019.


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