How to Write the Syracuse University Supplement 2019-2020

Syracuse is a private research university in Syracuse, New York. About 15,000 undergraduate students attend the school that is located on top of a hill overlooking the city. The acceptance rate is around 50%.

Who or what influenced you to apply to Syracuse University? (250 words) 

If you’re a potential legacy student at Syracuse, meaning that someone in your immediate family attended the school, it’s fair to say that they introduced you to school. But after doing so, research the school and find reasons for wanting to attend outside of your familial ties to campus. If you have no ties to the school, jump straight to the research process.  

The most common answer for “what” influenced you to apply would be that Syracuse came up in your search for the best “X” program that you’re applying to. The school gets especially high praise in the fields of broadcast journalism and special education. After you’ve nailed that down, write about why you’re interested in the program by linking what you’ve done in the past to how you can further your goals at the school. So, if you do on camera work for your school’s website and write for the newspaper, it makes sense that you would want to go to Syracuse to study broadcast and digital journalism.

Looking for a who? You could look at notable people (think professors and alumni) who attended the school. This is a research assignment, so research! Do a deep dive beyond their career track and try to find out as much as you can. If you really look up to this person, it shouldn’t be hard. Explain why this person has influenced you to apply.

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

This question is harder than the first because you need to 1) think of your person and then 2) find specific offerings at Syracuse that will help you become the person you hope to eventually morph into.  

There are two ways to describe the person:

  1. Name the person. “I dream of becoming the next Walter Cronkite.”

  2. Describe a fictitious person in broad strokes. Ex: “I dream of becoming a business savvy philanthropist.” 

Whatever you choose, keep the unique qualities and expertise of the person at the forefront of your brain. Actually, make a list. Then find classes that will help you get there. If you’re going the Walter Cronkite route, look at the course catalogue from the broadcast and digital journalism program. For example two, start with business courses and then look at the citizenship and civic engagement major. The major offers courses on Poverty, Policy and Human Services; and Critical Issues for the United States. Explain why taking those classes will help you get closer to where you want to be.  

A few don’t to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t say you want to be a billionaire. (There’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t show much depth.)

  2. Don’t pick someone problematic who has undergone public scrutiny.

  3. Don’t go for overtly obvious answers. (It’s okay if your person needs a bit of explanation.)

  4. Don’t pick the same “who” from the first prompt.


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