How to Get Into Syracuse University: Admissions Stats + Tips
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- How Hard Is It to Get Into Syracuse?
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted Syracuse University Students
- What is Syracuse University Looking for?
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Syracuse University
For more than a century and a half, Syracuse University has been at the forefront of higher education. Syracuse was the first school to grant a Bachelors of Fine Arts (B.F.A) degree and has established a sterling reputation for providing educational opportunities to veterans—it ranks 29th on Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges. One thing all Syracuse University attendees have in common is a love for (or at least tolerance of) winter weather. Syracuse is consistently among the snowiest cities in the U.S.
How Hard Is It to Get Into Syracuse?
Syracuse is a challenging school to gain admission to. It received a record-setting 39,342 applications to its Class of 2025—a 24% increase over the prior year. Syracuse doesn’t publish its acceptance numbers, but its overall acceptance rate generally hovers around 70%.
While Syracuse University’s acceptance rate is low, your actual chances of acceptance are tied to the strength of your profile. CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator can help you better understand your odds of getting into Syracuse University. It uses a variety of factors—from grades to test scores to extracurriculars—to estimate your odds of acceptance and provide tips to improve your profile.
Average Academic Profile of Accepted Syracuse University Students
The average high school GPA of Syracuse’s Class of 2024 was 3.67.
Syracuse does not make the middle 50% SAT or ACT scores of admitted students public.
Syracuse doesn’t report the average high school class rank of admitted students, but most accepted students graduated at, or near, the top of their class.
What is Syracuse University Looking for?
Academics play a considerable role in admissions decisions at Syracuse. The university is searching for students who are academically talented and prepared for college-level coursework. You can stand out to Syracuse admissions officials by pursuing intellectual interests and taking high-level coursework.
Syracuse is looking for more than just great grades—they want a campus populated by interesting, talented students of high character. They also want students who pursue their passions outside of the classroom with the zeal they do for those in the classroom.
How Syracuse Evaluates Applications
Syracuse doesn’t publish a Common Data Set, which means we can only guess how the factors they use to make admissions decisions.
In general, top-notch schools like Syracuse consider the following factors “very important”:
- Course rigor
- Class rank
- Test scores
- Extracurricular activities
- Recommendation letters
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into Syracuse University
1. Achieve at least a 3.67 GPA while taking the most challenging classes available
Syracuse University attracts very good students—the average high school GPA of Syracuse’s Class of 2024 was 3.67. According to Syracuse, “academic performance is a significant factor in our admissions decision.” The first step toward getting into Syracuse is to earn all, or at least mostly all, As.
Schools like Syracuse that receive huge numbers of applications use a tool known as the Academic Index (a distillation of your entire academic performance into a single numerical score) to expedite admissions decisions. If your Academic Index fails to meet Syracuse’s standards, you risk being viewed as unqualified and not having your application given serious consideration.
If you’re early in your high school career and your GPA is underwhelming, there’s still time to improve it—check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, increasing your GPA is more difficult, and the easiest way to raise your Academic Index is to have high test scores.
A superb Academic Index alone isn’t enough to wow admissions officers at Syracuse, you’ll also need to have completed challenging coursework. In Syracuse’s words, “Your participation in honors and advanced placement courses and/or meaningful electives demonstrates your commitment to maximize your college experience.” Applicants to selective schools, such as Syracuse, have commonly completed anywhere between five and 12 AP courses, if not more.
2. Aim for the highest SAT/ACT score possible
Syracuse doesn’t publish the middle 50% SAT or ACT range of students accepted to the school, but know that the higher you score on the SAT or ACT, the better your odds of getting accepted at Syracuse become. Syracuse superscores both the SAT and ACT, and taking one of the exams between two and three times is a proven strategy to improve your test score—and, consequently, your odds of admissions.
To improve your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:
- How to Get a Perfect 1600 Score on the SAT
- How to Get a Perfect 36 Score on the ACT
- More SAT Info and Tips
- More ACT Info and Tips
Due to the challenges created by COVID-19, Syracuse introduced test-optional admissions in 2020-21 and has extended that policy to the 2021-22 admissions cycle. However, CollegeVine still recommends submitting test scores to Syracuse—provided you can take an exam safely and your score is attention-grabbing. Applicants who submit test scores are accepted at higher rates than those who do not. You can get recommendations on whether or not you should apply test-optional using our free chancing engine.
3. Cultivate a strong portfolio of extracurriculars.
Top-tier schools like Syracuse are as interested in what you do outside of the classroom as what you do inside it. Syracuse uses extracurriculars to “evaluate your organizational and leadership skills, as well as your commitment to helping others.” Extracurriculars also help highlight your talent, which is something Syracuse admissions uses to make admissions decisions.
A highly developed interest (known as a “spike”) and one or two wow-worthy extracurriculars (among a portfolio of several others) will make you stand out from a crowded field of applicants at Syracuse. Not every activity outside of the classroom carries the same weight with college admissions officers, though. The four tiers of extracurriculars provide a helpful guide to understanding how colleges value extracurriculars:
- Tier 1 activities are the least common and most alluring to colleges. They demonstrate exceptional accomplishment and leadership and include activities like winning a national competition or honor, gaining national recognition in athletics or music, and attending a prestigious merit-based summer program.
- Tier 2 activities demonstrate great achievement and leadership but are more common than those found in Tier 1. Tier 2 activities include winning a state-level award, earning state-level recognition in athletics or music, or holding a leadership position like student body president.
- Tier 3 extracurriculars are better for showing your interests outside the classroom, rather than highlighting any great distinguishment. Tier 3 activities include winning a regional award, captaining a varsity sports team, playing the lead in the school play, and holding a minor leadership position in a club.
- Tier 4 activities are the least influential and most common extracurriculars. These include playing a sport, participating in a club, general volunteering, and working a job after school.
4. Write engaging essays
At competitive colleges like Syracuse, nearly every applicant will have an outstanding academic profile and impressive extracurricular activities. One of the best ways you can stand out is to compose a compelling essay.
Syracuse University uses the Common Application and you will need to write a 650-word personal essay to answer one of its prompts. In addition, Syracuse requires applicants to compose a short essay (250 words) in response to the following prompt.
Why are you interested in Syracuse University and how do you see yourself contributing to a diverse, inclusive, accessible and respectful campus?
To write a winning college essay, write in your unique voice and use your limited space to highlight how you fit at Syracuse and how the college will benefit from you being on campus. Your interest in Syracuse can help you get accepted, so make sure to show the college why you want to attend there.
5. Get great recommendations
In addition to making their own judgments about you, Syracuse seeks the opinion of others when making admissions decisions. The college requires an evaluation from a counselor and two teacher recommendations to get a “sense of your unique gifts, capabilities, and accomplishments.”
Because Syracuse University highly values recommendations, it’s imperative that you receive persuasive testimonials. More goes into getting a great recommendation than simply asking. Who you ask for a recommendation, when you ask, and how you support your recommendation writer can all affect the type of letter you receive, and ultimately your odds of getting into Syracuse. The nine rules for requesting letters of recommendation from teachers provide a good guide for navigating the process.
6. Apply Early Action/Early Decision
Syracuse has two admissions tracks: Early Decision and Regular Decision. Applying Early Decision can improve your chances of getting into Syracuse, as it shows the university your deep interest in attending the school and has a smaller pool of applicants—making it easier for your application to stand out. Early Decision is not without its downsides, however. Most notably, Early Decision is a binding process and by applying through it, you’re committing to attend Syracuse if accepted.
How to Apply to Syracuse University
Syracuse accepts the Common Application. Other requirements include:
- High school transcript
- Secondary school report
- Counselor evaluation
- Two teacher recommendations
- Syracuse writing supplement
Optional materials include:
- Portfolio (School of Architecture; School of Art, School of Design, Department of Transmedia; Department of Drama)
- Audition (for Setnor School of Music and Department of Drama)
Learn more about Syracuse University
Interested in learning more about Syracuse University? Check out these other informative articles:
- What Does It Cost to Attend Syracuse University?
- What is Syracuse University Known for?
- Top 23 Party Schools in the US: Should You Go to One?
Want to know your chances at Syracuse University? Calculate your chances for free right now.