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 2020-2021

We’ve updated this post! Read the 2021-2022 Syracuse essay guide.


Syracuse University is a private research institution located in upstate New York. It is well known for the high-caliber education it provides its students and its lively school spirit. The university is consistently ranked in the top #100 colleges in the nation, with a current ranking of #54 by U.S. News & World Report. 


Syracuse is famous for its passionate and energetic students. Students can attend games in the Carrier Dome, the largest domed stadium on a college campus, or attend events like late night movies and rollerskating put on by Orange After Dark. While it is true Syracuse students love to have fun, the university also offers great academic programs. With ten undergraduate schools and colleges and over 200 majors, there is something for all of the 15,275 students to pursue. 


With an acceptance rate of 50%, Syracuse is considered one of the more selective colleges in the country. The middle 50% SAT score of enrolled students is 1180-1370, while the middle 50% ACT scores are 25-30. Since there are many students with strong academics, writing unique essays will help you improve your chances of acceptance. Want to know your chances at Syracuse? Calculate your chances for free right now.


Want to learn what Syracuse will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering Syracuse needs to know.


The Syracuse University Supplement Prompts

All applicants


Why are you interested in Syracuse University and how do you see yourself contributing to a diverse, inclusive and respectful campus community? (250 words)


Applicants to the Maxwell Program in Citizenship and Civic Engagement


What pressing world problem or local issue would you like to change, and what steps would you take to change it? Why would Syracuse University’s Maxwell Program in Citizenship and Civic Engagement be a good home base for you to do this work? (250 words) 

All Applicants 

Why are you interested in Syracuse University and how do you see yourself contributing to a diverse, inclusive and respectful campus community? (250 words)

This essay falls into the traditional “Why this College?” supplement, so the admissions committee is looking to hear why Syracuse is a good fit for you and your goals.


We can start by breaking this essay into two parts. The first is why you want to attend Syracuse, and the second how you will participate in the community. You only have 250 words to address both of these questions, so make sure to be thoughtful and succinct in your response.


For the first part about your interest in the school, research specific programs that are unique to Syracuse and support your interests. 


  • Maybe a student is interested in videography, and has even put together video ads for local businesses. They could mention their goals to study Television, Radio & Film at and join TNH, Syracuse’s student-run advertising agency (the largest one in the nation).


  • Take a student who is obsessed with NCAA bracketology and using data to predict upsets. They might write about their desire to study Sport Management in the College of Sport and Human Dynamics, since there are many courses on sports analytics. This would support their goal of one day being a sports data analyst for a cable sports channel, or a fitness company.


Establishing a personal connection with the school rather than name-dropping programs and professors will show the admissions officers that not only do you know about the school, but you would also fit right into the campus culture. 


If you don’t have any personal anecdotes about Syracuse, that’s okay too. You can still talk about a certain aspect of a major that excites you, special study abroad opportunities you could only get from Syracuse, or reasons why you want to study in Syracuse, NY. While you can mention you are excited about the exuberant school spirit, we recommend steering clear of discussing frat parties or partying every weekend. In the application process you always have to present yourself in the best light possible, and that means focusing on academics more than social life in your supplement. 


Once you address why you are interested in Syracuse, you have to delve into how you will contribute to the campus community. The best way to go about doing this is connecting your future involvement on campus with the reason(s) you are interested in attending. 


For instance, if you wrote about your excitement to continue the legacy of school spirit and attend different sporting events, you could discuss potentially starting an outreach program with high schools in Syracuse to get kids active and involved in sports. Or maybe you wrote about how you were excited Syracuse has one of the best college newspapers in the nation and now you want to join the paper and start a specific column on global conflicts. 


For this essay, it is really important you establish why you are so excited to attend Syracuse. After you do that, you can illustrate how you will be an active and engaged member of the community. If you address both of these successfully and are able to tie them together, you will be in good shape!

Applicants to Syracuse University’s Maxwell Program in Citizenship and Civic Engagement

What pressing world problem or local issue would you like to change, and what steps would you take to change it? Why would Syracuse University’s Maxwell Program in Citizenship and Civic Engagement be a good home base for you to do this work? (250 words) 

Students in this major are dedicated to making a difference in the world, and are committed to being leaders and innovators. As you write this essay, make sure that you adequately highlight your global awareness, leadership and collaboration skills, and eagerness to learn. 


The prompt asks you to pick a pressing world problem or local issue that you want to change, and to describe how you would go about bringing that change. There are a host of issues that you could choose, from refugee crises, to food insecurity, to racial injustices, to unequal healthcare access. However, when you are deciding on an issue to tackle, don’t simply pick the largest problem the world is facing, or a more obscure issue that most people, including yourself, aren’t very familiar with, just to sound more impressive. The admissions officers want to hear about what troubles you in the world or your community, and what has specifically driven you to pursue a career in public affairs. 


With that in mind, choose a personal topic that you care deeply about. You could also choose an issue that you have already tried to address, whether it be by volunteering for non-profits that target the issue, starting a club to raise awareness in your own community, or debating solutions at a Model UN conference. If you have already taken some steps to fix an issue you can discuss your previous experience, including the successes or pitfalls you faced and how that will influence the future steps you take.


When it comes to addressing what steps you will take to change the problem you brought up, the admissions committee isn’t asking for a 20-point plan that ends in the complete eradication of world hunger. Instead, they want to hear about how your creative process and critical thinking can converge to come up with solutions. 


Don’t just search up solutions to the issue you picked on Google and write down the first things you see. Take the time to come up with a few pragmatic solutions of your own that would be beneficial to those affected by this issue. 


The people reading your application are also cognizant of the fact you are only a high school student and cannot implement any of these solutions on your own. They want to see you start to implement these solutions at Syracuse, so for the final piece of your essay you need to address how this specific program at Syracuse will help you accomplish your goals.


You could write about your excitement at all the opportunities for practical experience the major affords you. Perhaps it has always been your dream to work for your local senator and see what goes on in their office, so you are overjoyed at the idea that Syracuse will help connect you to local government officials so you can get the hands on experience you have always craved. Or maybe you want to focus your studies on sustainability, which is why you think the SIT India: Sustainable Development and Social Change study abroad program that’s part of the major would be a perfect opportunity for you to explore your interests in a practical manner.


Again, creativity is key for this major so make sure that whatever you choose to write about, it showcases your personal, creative approach to civic engagement.


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Our college essay experts go through a rigorous selection process that evaluates their writing skills and knowledge of college admissions. We also train them on how to interpret prompts, facilitate the brainstorming process, and provide inspiration for great essays, with curriculum culled from our years of experience helping students write essays that work.