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How to Write the Syracuse Supplements: Essays that Showcase Your Passions and Goals


The two Syracuse supplements will paint a vivid picture of who you are and why you’re passionate about attending Syracuse University. Let’s start by taking a look at the prompts:

  • Who is the person you dream of becoming and how do you believe Syracuse University can help you achieve this? (Response required in 250 words.)
  • Who or what influenced you to apply to Syracuse University? (Response required in 250 words.)

These prompts are similar in theme, but there are some subtle differences. The first prompt gives you the opportunity to describe your academic goals, but it also invites you to showcase your values. The second prompt is more straightforward: it allows you to share the deciding factor in your decision to submit a Syracuse application. In this guide, we’ll show you how to get a strong start on both!


Step One: Brainstorm

Take a second to flex your wrists. You’re about to do some freewriting! Reflect on these questions and jot down any stories or ideas that come to mind.

  • Prompt #1: Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve graduated college. Moreover, all your dreams have come true. What skills do you use at work? How does your job impact the world? How do you spend your time outside of work? What kind of community do you belong to? What is your role in this community?
  • Prompt #2: Think back on the moment you decided to apply to Syracuse. Where were you? What were you doing? What convinced you that you could call Syracuse home for four years? If you found out tomorrow that you got into Syracuse, what would you be most excited about?


Step Two: Connect

In order to effectively answer the first prompt, you’ll need to connect your goals to specific resources at Syracuse. Go through your freewrite, and highlight the three dreams that are most important to you.

Next, comb through Syracuse’s website to learn about its classes, professors, extracurriculars, and community. For each of the three dreams you chose, identify 1-2 resources that are unique to Syracuse.

Let’s take a look at an example student’s profile:

  • Work for a studio like Pixar or Dreamworks
    • Character Development for Animation course
    • Visual Effects workshop
  • Make the world a better place for women and girls
    • Equal Time magazine
    • The Menstrual Information Network Teaching Empowerment Project
  • See the world
    • Summer study abroad - “Olympic Odyssey”


Step Three: Core Message

Before you start your Syracuse supplements, we recommend developing a core message that tells the reader who you are and what you hope to gain from studying at Syracuse.

Let’s take the student from the above example. Her core message could be something like: “Through my work in animation, I hope to create empowering female heroes to inspire the next generation of girls. Syracuse would give me opportunities to develop my technical abilities in the classroom and to learn how to effectively advocate for women and girls through my extracurricular activities.”

After developing a strong core message, you’ll have all the tools you need to write two strong Syracuse essays!

Note: This article focuses on the two mandatory Syracuse supplements. You’ll also need to write a killer Common Application essay, and present an activities list. The following programs require additional essays/portfolios:

  • Citizenship and Civic Engagement Program (250 word essay)
  • Discovery Program (250 word essay)
  • School of Architecture/Art/Design (portfolio required)
  • Department of Drama (portfolio required for non-performance majors)


Happy writing!


Click here for our guide to writing the Common App Essay

Prompt’s Essay Specialists reviewed 13,000 admissions essays in 2018, helping thousands of students submit their applications with confidence.

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