How to Write the Syracuse University Essays 2021-2022

Syracuse University has one required short essay prompt for all applicants asking about their interest in the school. For applicants to the Citizenship and Civic Engagement program there are two additional required prompts.

 

Thousands of students apply to Syracuse with the same GPAs and test scores, so admissions officers place a large weight on essays to determine what students they want at their school. In this post, we will cover how to write essays that will impress admissions officers at top schools like Syracuse.

 

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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 of the Citizenship and Civic Engagement Program

 

(Required) Submit a personal statement that addresses the questions below. Please do not exceed two single-spaced pages.

 

  1. Discuss a recent event or news story 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?

 

  1. How do you anticipate the CCE major will enhance your intended major(s)? What are your future career goals? What else would you like the committee to know as it considers your application?

 

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 the Citizenship and Civic Engagement Program

 

For applicants to the Citizenship and Civic Engagement program, you are asked to submit a maximum of two single-spaced pages that answer both questions. This should be one essay that flows from the first prompt to the second, and not two separate essays addressing each respective question. However, the structure of your essay should follow the order of the questions. So, you should first discuss an issue that made you take action and then transition to your future goals and the resources the program has to offer. We recommend that you split your essay equally between the two prompts and allow yourself a full page for each question. Since there is a lot to tackle for this essay, we will split our breakdown into the two different sections.

 

Part 1

Discuss a recent event or news story 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?

Students in this program 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. 

 

This prompt asks you to pick a pressing world problem or local issue that had a deep impact on you, thus causing you to take action. If you are a globally-aware citizen who has gotten involved in many causes, don’t make the mistake of picking the one that sounds the most “impressive”. Choose an issue that you either have the deepest personal connection to or you experienced personal growth through your contribution to. Ideally your issue will combine the two. 

 

Once you have an issue in mind, you should spend more time describing why you are passionate and drawn to this issue than what the issue is itself. Anecdotes, descriptive imagery, and strong emotions will help focus your essay on your feelings. Consider these two examples and which one does a better job focusing on the student:

 

Option 1: The Black Lives Matter movement is one of the most heartbreaking, yet inspiring, issues facing our country. An entire portion of the population is discriminated against and punished for something beyond their control. From racial profiling to higher incarceation rates, the odds are stacked against Black Americans. Watching people take to the streets and fight back against injustice has inspired me to do the same in my own community.

 

Option 2: I turned on the TV to channel 4 and sat down to enjoy my third helping of my mom’s famous lasagna. As I tested the strength of the cheese pull and tasted the tangy sauce, the TV reporter snapped me out of my personal pasta heaven. “1 in 5 children in America go hungry.” The food in my mouth turned to ash and an overwhelming sense of guilt flooded over me. Here I was stuffing myself with a third piece of lasagna when all over the country kids don’t know when their next meal is coming. I have to do something.

 

The second option establishes a much stronger tie to the student and their interest in the issue than the first because of the inclusion of the anecdote to help express this student’s emotions when they first encountered this issue. 

 

Once a strong emotional connection has been established and explained, the prompt wants to know what action you took and how your involvement in that action changed you. This portion of the essay should show the leadership qualities you displayed and your personal growth throughout your involvement with this issue. Maybe you started sewing face masks for senior centers during the pandemic, and in the process you had to learn to effectively balance your time between school and sewing. Perhaps you convinced the human rights club at your school to raise money for Yemeni refugees, and you were in charge of organizing and managing the finances of a walkathon which taught you the importance of communication and delegating tasks. 

 

Remember that the people reading your application are cognizant of the fact you are only a high school student and cannot solve these giant issues on your own. They want to see your drive and resilience. So, even if you tried to take action and nothing came from it, you can still share your story and how that experience has only fueled your passion to change the world more. For example, a student who wrote to his senators about gun violence in schools and never received a response would write about how it was upsetting to be overlooked, but it made him realize that he wanted to represent kids and teens whose voices are unheard, and now it’s his dream to run for Congress. This student took a situation where he wasn’t able to bring about a change from his actions and turned it around to explain how this experience has inspired his future work, which perfectly sets up the second part of the essay.

 

No matter if you raised thousands of dollars, lobbied in front of legislators, or just educated your peers about a topic you were passionate about, the important part of this essay is what strengths you possess to challenge problems in the world. Whether you highlight strengths you already possessed or you describe new things you learned about yourself, make sure this essay paints you in a positive and civically-engaged light.

 

Part 2

How do you anticipate the CCE major will enhance your intended major(s)? What are your future career goals? What else would you like the committee to know as it considers your application?

For the second half of your response, you are asked to look to the future, both on Syracuse’s campus and beyond. Your response should ideally connect the passion for civic engagement and improving the world you displayed in the first half of your essay to opportunities offered through the CCE program and your future career goals.

 

When writing your essay, it is helpful that you know exactly what you want to get out of your college experience. Are you looking to learn more about global affairs? Do you want to conduct social science research with faculty members? Do you want to get hands-on experience in public administration? It’s important that you know what you want first, that way you can distinguish which of the program’s resources align with your goals for college. If you aren’t completely sure what you want to get out of college, you can also ask yourself what your career goals are. If you know you want to hold public office one day, what will you need to learn or develop in college to get you to that point? 

 

Once you have a few important goals, you will need to do some research to find resources within the program that will help you achieve these goals. You can look on the CCE website to see what resources they advertise to students. You can also use Syracuse’s course catalog to find classes and Facebook groups or club websites to learn more about extracurriculars that relate to your interests. Keep in mind that you should never name-drop resources without describing how they will contribute to your academic and career goals. The personal connection is what really shows admissions officers you are deeply interested in the school and have put time into researching how you will fit into the community.

 

The prompt specifically asks “What are your future career goals?” so this should be addressed in your response. If you have a dream job you’ve been thinking about since you were little, then go ahead and describe it! You should include what drew you to this career choice, how your vision for your career has changed and evolved over time, and what skills you still need to acquire in college to perform your job to the best of your ability.

 

It’s totally natural to not know what you want to do after graduating, considering you are still in high school. However, you still need to provide elaboration as to what fields you are thinking about or what are some possible career choices you are interested in. For example, a student who enjoys international relations might write this:

 

“I never know which future version of myself I’ll see when I lie in bed at night. Will it be the worldly diplomat attending council meetings and state dinners? Or maybe tonight the international human rights lawyer will make her case for the defense. I might even see the journalist exploring a foriegn country to get details on an ongoing conflict. As I go into college, I will continue my search for a career that is able to capture my love for international relations and hopefully win over my indecisive heart.” 

 

The final thing this prompt asks of you is if there is anything else you wish for the admissions officers to know about you and your application. If there aren’t any extenuating circumstances you feel haven’t been communicated elsewhere in your application, then you shouldn’t feel pressured to directly address this question. However, you can use this as an opportunity to end your essay reaffirming your passion for citizenship and civic engagement and improving the world. Your conclusion should show what you’ve done and what you hope to do for the public good. You want to leave the admissions officers with a feeling that you are the perfect candidate for this program. 

 

Where to Get Your Syracuse Essay Edited for Free

 

Do you want feedback on your Syracuse essay? After rereading your essay countless times, it can be difficult to evaluate your writing objectively. That’s why we created our Peer Essay Review tool, where you can get a free review of your essay from another student. Since they don’t know you personally, other students can be a more objective judge of whether your personality shines through, and whether you’ve fully answered the prompt.

 

You can also improve your own writing skills by reviewing other students’ essays. We highly recommend giving this tool a try!

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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.

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