Syracuse University

Applying for Admission

What We Look For

Here are some general criteria we review carefully for all applicants to Syracuse University. All students are considered for admission without regard to financial need.

Preparation and purpose

Your academic performance is a significant factor in our admissions decision, especially your senior year accomplishments. Your participation in honors and advanced placement courses and/or meaningful electives demonstrates your commitment to maximize your college experience.

Educational background

Schools across the country differ in their curriculum, grading policies, and overall quality. We’ll closely review your school’s profile to put your course selections and grades in proper context.

Standardized test performance

While your coursework tells us a lot about you, we’ll also consider your SAT or ACT score (whichever is higher). If you only take the ACT, you’ll need to take the optional ACT writing test.  If you are considering the Score Choice option for the SAT, please be aware that we require all of your test scores.  This works to your benefit as we will take the highest combination of your SAT scores.


Grades are only part of our admissions equation. Your personal essay helps us to understand your goals, interests, experiences, and values. Though a face-to-face interview is not mandatory, it is an ideal way to further personalize your application.

The opinion of others

We look to recommendations from your counselor and two teachers to help us get a sense of your unique gifts, capabilities, and accomplishments. These testimonials help to round out our sense of who you are as a student and a person.

Extracurricular activities

We need to know that you can manage your time and interests. Our Admissions Committee will review your after-school activities, volunteer work, or employment to see how each illustrates your organizational and leadership skills, as well as your commitment to helping others.

Special talent

Several programs at Syracuse University include a talent component, including art and design, architecture, drama, and music. Talent is evaluated by faculty members, and their evaluations are shared with the Admissions Committee.

Strength of character

Syracuse University is looking for more than academically capable students. We’re interested in people who innovate and take risks, people of integrity and good citizenship. We believe that the best students are those who strengthen and support those around them, even as they work to develop themselves.

The selection process

Last year, we received approximately 22,000 applications for a first-year class of about 3,200 students. We have specific enrollment goals for each college. The Admissions Committee must make difficult decisions about which students will be admitted. These decisions are not always a statement of your ability, but a matter of competition. Students may indicate a second- or third-choice college of admission and will be considered on a space-available basis.