Syracuse Application Essay Prompts
Who or what influenced you to apply to Syracuse University? (Maximum: 250 words)
Who is the person you dream of becoming and how do you believe Syracuse University can help you achieve this? (Maximum: 250 words)
An overarching note, both of the prompts are pretty short (only 250 words each). This means that pretty much every word and sentence has to be chosen with care; with such limited space, every bit counts. Both prompts are essentially asking you why you want to apply to Syracuse, and also what you hope to get out of a Syracuse education.
The first prompt asks you “who or what” influenced you to apply. This is a purposefully broad prompt, yet the limited word count demands concise responses. The key to navigating this tension is to focus on a short story or narrative that can be told quickly and leaves you plenty of space to connect that story to why you want to be a Syracuse student.
Another option would be to investigate notable alumni from Syracuse and talk about why that person inspires you and how that relates to your pursuit of a Syracuse education. Syracuse has a long list of notable alumni that can easily be found through a Google search.
The key here is to identify specific values that these people exemplify, and tie that into why Syracuse has those values and why you are attracted to them. For example, if you choose to write about Vice President Joe Biden (who is a Syracuse alumnus), consider writing about values such as public service, dedication, and courage that are nurtured at Syracuse.
That being said, clearly, individuals like the Vice President are very well known and it is not uncommon to write about an alumnus. Therefore, if you choose to write about an alumnus, the more specific the reference to your individual application, the better.
If you choose to write about something (answering the “what” part of the prompt), it is worth considering an experience or an event in your life that motivated you to apply to Syracuse. This can be a time when you faced adversity, or you felt challenged in a way that you hadn’t experienced before. Again, the goal here is similar to that of writing about a person: identify specific values or traits that you can connect to why you want to be a student at Syracuse.
A key point that should be demonstrated in your answer to this prompt is that you have done your research on the university. Pepper in a couple of details about the school you’re applying to, the location, and the specific Syracuse experience. For example, Syracuse has an interesting program supporting student entrepreneurship, it has 18 dining halls, and a particularly interesting mascot, “Otto the Orange.” These are all details that you can incorporate in subtly to show that your interest and the influences that inspire your application to Syracuse are genuine.
The second prompt asks you to describe the person you want to become as a result of a Syracuse education. This is an opportunity to describe specific aspects of the school that draw you to Syracuse and demonstrate a qualified interest in the school. Moreover, this is also your chance to communicate your ambitions for a Syracuse education.
It is important to be cautious about showing ambition without being perceived as cocky. If you have aspirations to develop the next revolutionary startup company, definitely mention that, but contextualize those goals by explaining how a Syracuse education best equips you to meet those goals. Mention the tools and resources that Syracuse has for student entrepreneurs, and why they’ll be so helpful to you.
This prompt also provides an opportunity to build on existing narratives of yourself as presented through other parts of your application. If your Common Application essay or extracurricular activities strongly emphasize a passion of yours, this prompt is an opportunity for you to explain why Syracuse is the best place to pursue those interests. If your Common Application essay was all about your passion for business and interest in economics, this is a chance to show that you’ve done research on Syracuse’s business major and the specific parts of it that are attractive to you.
Despite Syracuse’s relatively less competitive admissions, it is always important to have strong essays for your application that will persuade any undecided reader that you’re really serious about the school. A key challenge in both of these prompts is to fit in a lot of information and qualities — personal narratives, specific details, demonstrated interest in the school — in concise essays.
Here at CollegeVine, our team of highly qualified essay editors are available to help you write those essays and help you gain access to an incredible 4-year experience at Syracuse.
Essay, an analytic, interpretative, or critical literary composition usually much shorter and less systematic and formal than a dissertation or thesis and usually dealing with its subject from a limited and often personal point of view.
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nonfictional prose: The essay
In modern literatures, the category of nonfictional prose that probably ranks as the most important both in the quantity and in the quality of its practitioners is the essay.READ MORE
Some early treatises—such as those of Cicero on the pleasantness of old age or on the art of “divination,” Seneca on anger or clemency, and Plutarch on the passing of oracles—presage to a certain degree the form and tone of the essay, but not until the late 16th century was the flexible and deliberately nonchalant and versatile form of the essay perfected by the French writer Michel de Montaigne. Choosing the name essai to emphasize that his compositions were attempts or endeavours, a groping toward the expression of his personal thoughts and experiences, Montaigne used the essay as a means of self-discovery. His Essais, published in their final form in 1588, are still considered among the finest of their kind. Later writers who most nearly recall the charm of Montaigne include, in England, Robert Burton, though his whimsicality is more erudite, Sir Thomas Browne, and Laurence Sterne, and in France, with more self-consciousness and pose, André Gide and Jean Cocteau.
At the beginning of the 17th century, social manners, the cultivation of politeness, and the training of an accomplished gentleman became the theme of many essayists. This theme was first exploited by the Italian Baldassare Castiglione in his Il libro del cortegiano (1528; The Book of the Courtier). The influence of the essay and of genres allied to it, such as maxims, portraits, and sketches, proved second to none in molding the behavior of the cultured classes, first in Italy, then in France, and, through French influence, in most of Europe in the 17th century. Among those who pursued this theme was the 17th-century Spanish Jesuit Baltasar Gracián in his essays on the art of worldly wisdom.
Keener political awareness in the 18th century, the age of Enlightenment, made the essay an all-important vehicle for the criticism of society and religion. Because of its flexibility, its brevity, and its potential both for ambiguity and for allusions to current events and conditions, it was an ideal tool for philosophical reformers. The Federalist Papers in America and the tracts of the French Revolutionaries are among the countless examples of attempts during this period to improve the human condition through the essay.
The genre also became the favoured tool of traditionalists of the 18th and 19th centuries, such as Edmund Burke and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who looked to the short, provocative essay as the most potent means of educating the masses. Essays such as Paul Elmer More’s long series of Shelburne Essays (published between 1904 and 1935), T.S. Eliot’s After Strange Gods (1934) and Notes Towards the Definition of Culture (1948), and others that attempted to reinterpret and redefine culture, established the genre as the most fitting to express the genteel tradition at odds with the democracy of the new world.
Whereas in several countries the essay became the chosen vehicle of literary and social criticism, in other countries the genre became semipolitical, earnestly nationalistic, and often polemical, playful, or bitter. Essayists such as Robert Louis Stevenson and Willa Cather wrote with grace on several lighter subjects, and many writers—including Virginia Woolf, Edmund Wilson, and Charles du Bos—mastered the essay as a form of literary criticism.