What Does it Take to Get Into Syracuse University?

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With an acceptance rate of 47%, Syracuse University is competitive. So, how can you optimize your admissions profile to stand out?


Given that the university celebrates numerous interests, it’s no surprise that Syracuse boasts notable alumni/ae with diverse talents, including Joe Biden, Aaron Sorkin, Betsey Johnson, and Joyce Carol Oates.


Syracuse is home to nine colleges and schools with undergraduate programs, including:


  • School of Architecture
  • The College of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Education
  • The College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • The David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics
  • School of Information Studies
  • Martin J. Whitman School of Management
  • S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
  • College of Visual and Performing Arts


Students flock to the university to study a myriad of disciplines; it is particularly well-known for its prestigious art and architecture programs. It also attracts athletes; the Syracuse Orange basketball teams are particularly renowned.


So, what does it take to get into Syracuse? Read on to find out.


Applying to Syracuse: A Quick Review


Applicants apply directly to one of the nine undergraduate schools at Syracuse. All students must submit:


  • Common Application
  • Syracuse supplement
  • SAT or ACT (writing not required; Subject tests not considered)
  • Official transcripts/midyear report
  • Two teacher recommendations and one counselor report


Though it is not required, Syracuse also recommends taking a “college preparatory curriculum” consisting of four years of English, science, social studies, and mathematics (through geometry and intermediate algebra), and a minimum of three years of a foreign language. Although this is not required, we strongly advise showing that you’ve completed this curriculum.


Many individual schools have additional application requirements, which you can find here.


Syracuse Acceptance Rate: How Difficult is it to Get In?


Syracuse is a competitive university with an acceptance rate of 47%. Keep in mind that some schools may be more selective than others, and since you will apply directly to a school within the university, you’ll be competing against students with similar objectives and interests. The yield for the class of 2021 was about 24%.


Standardized Test Average Scores


SAT middle 50% range: 1230-1410

CRW: 630-700

Math: 600-710

ACT: 25-30

So, What Does It Take to Get Into Syracuse?


Know the School. First and foremost, Syracuse wants students who want to attend their university. In your essay, for instance, you’ll need to address two “why us?” prompts, demonstrating your interest in matriculating at Syracuse. They include:


  • Who is the person you dream of becoming and how do you believe Syracuse University can help you achieve this?
  • Who or what influenced you to apply to Syracuse University?


Find advice for writing these essays here.You should show evidence of your desire to attend the school throughout your application, such as by visiting the campus and demonstrating your knowledge of the university’s culture.


Know Yourself. It’s also important to understand your own strengths by applying to the right program for you. Recognize that some programs are particularly rigorous, and you will need to prepare according to the demands of that school and major.


For example, if you apply to the School of Architecture, which is one of the top architecture programs in the country, you should have engaged in art- and design-related extracurriculars and be able to submit a portfolio, understanding that it is very difficult to gain admission into the program.


Celebrate DiversitySyracuse has demonstrated that it is committed to diversity in many ways, including by convening a Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion to create a more inclusive environment. It also notes that it welcomes students of diverse and nontraditional backgrounds, including “DACA/undocumented students, veterans, persons with disabilities, Native Americans, and more.”


That doesn’t mean you must come from a minority background to gain admission. Syracuse also seeks out students who have diverse talents and are intellectually curious. Almost half of the student body studies abroad through programs in Chile, Italy, China, and other countries, and incoming freshmen may apply to attend the discovery Discovery Program, which involves spending your first semester abroad in Florence, Italy; Madrid, Spain; or Strasbourg, France.


Show evidence of your dedication to your passions. Perhaps you want to explore the world and have done projects abroad or engage in artistic extracurricular endeavors. Make sure your talents are obvious on your application.


What If You Get Rejected?


Being denied admission to any college, particularly one of your top choices, is disappointing. Still, it’s important to take a step back and regroup. If you get rejected from Syracuse, here’s what you can do:


Take a gap year or transfer in. If you had your heart set on Syracuse or received bad news from the other colleges on your list, one option is to take a gap year and reapply next admissions cycle. If you do decide to go this route, make sure you have a productive plan for the year. You might undertake a research project, volunteer, study to improve your SAT scores, or take classes at a local college. Do know, however, that this path is risky, as taking a gap year won’t ensure your acceptance the second time around.


You could also begin your studies at another institution with the hopes of transferring. On average, Syracuse acceptance around 350 transfer students yearly, although information about how many transfer applications it receives is not available.


Keep it in perspective. Even if Syracuse was your top choice, chances are, you’ll find a way to make a college that did accept you work. College really is what you make of it, and if you put effort into adjusting to another school by joining clubs, working hard in your classes, and cultivating a social life, you’ll likely find that you can make a fulfilling college experience for yourself, even if you end up at a college that wasn’t your top choice.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to Syracuse? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

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Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.

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