How to Get Into Syracuse University: Admissions Data and Strategies

March 2, 2022

Over 14,000 undergraduate students proudly don the distinctive orange gear associated with Syracuse University, a mid-sized school in Upstate New York. The ‘Cuse received a record 39,342 applications for a spot in the 2021-22 freshman class. On selectivity scale, Syracuse varies greatly from year-to-year, sporting acceptance rates as low as the mid-40s and as high as almost 70% in just the past decade. Still, the admissions process is a competitive one, even more so for those hoping to enter standout academic programs such as those within the prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Given Syracuse is a selective institution, it is important for prospective Orangemen and women to fully grasp:

  1. An understanding of the big-picture of Syracuse University admissions.
  2. Data to help you assess your chances of admission with more accuracy.
  3. What the Syracuse University admissions committee looks for and how to get your application to stand out from the crowd.

To accomplish these goals we will touch on the following topics:

  • Syracuse University’s Class of 2025 acceptance rate
  • Syracuse University’s ED acceptance rate
  • SAT, ACT, GPA, and class rank of accepted Syracuse University applicants
  • Admissions trends at Syracuse
  • The demographics of current Syracuse University undergraduates
  • Syracuse University’s yield rate
  • How Syracuse University’s admissions officers evaluate candidates
  • Tips for applying to Syracuse University
  • How to assess whether applying to Syracuse University is even worth the $85 application fee (for you)

Many students applying to Syracuse University may also find the following blogs to be of interest:

Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.

Syracuse University’s: Overall Acceptance Rate – Class of 2025

Syracuse is not as forthcoming with admissions data as we would like, as they do not release an annual Common Data Set. We do know that they received over 39,000 applications in the 2020-21 admissions cycle and expected a first-year enrollment of around 3,600. The most recent data comes from the Class of 2024, which saw 69% of the 32,005 applicants accepted. However, the admit rate had been as low as 44% in recent years and it is usually closer to 50% making the Class of 2024 one of the least selective in the last decade.

Syracuse University Early Decision Acceptance Rate

Syracuse applicants have two Early Decision options with the ED I deadline falling on 11/15 and an ED II option with a January 1 deadline. Interestingly, the ED acceptance rate for the Class of 2024 was only 56%, lower than the 70% clip for regular decision. There were 2,116 ED applicants and 1,189 were accepted.

Syracuse University Admissions – SAT, ACT, GPA, and Class Rank

Those admitted into the Class of 2024 (most recent data available) had an average high school GPA of 3.7. One-third placed in the top decile of their high school class, 65% were in the top 25%, and 90% were in the top half. The median SAT score for enrolled students was 1260 and the median ACT composite score was 28.

Admissions Trends & Notes

  • Applications for the Class of 2025 increased 24% over the previous cycle.
  • Students of color represented 39% of the applicant pool, an increase of 37% from the prior year.
  • The ED acceptance rate was 60% for the Class of 2023 compared to a 44% overall clip.
  • Syracuse did not require the submission of test scores in either 2021 or 2022.
  • Given the substantial increase in applications to the Class of 2025, we expect the acceptance rate at Syracuse to dip significantly, possibly back toward the numbers seen in the Class of 2023.

Who Gets Into Syracuse University?

Let’s look at the demographics of current Syracuse University undergraduates:

  • Students represent all 50 states.
  • They come from 120+ countries around the world.

As at any selective university, competition is toughest among those hailing from states with endless streams of qualified applicants (the entire Northeast & the West Coast). If you hail from a less populated state like Hawaii, the Dakotas, or Montana, your location is more likely to provide a boost to your admissions chances.

Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of current undergrads was as follows:

  • Asian American: 7%
  • Hispanic: 10%
  • African American: 7%
  • White: 55%
  • American Indian: 1%
  • Two or more races: 4%

The breakdown by gender of all current undergraduates is notably split in favor of women:

  • Male: 46%
  • Female: 54%

One would think that this disparity would give men an edge in the admissions process at SU since there are far more qualified female applicants year after year. Yet, this is not the case—66% of men are accepted compared to 71% of women.

International students make up 14% of the degree-seeking population at Syracuse. The greatest number of students hail from the following countries:

  1. China
  2. Canada
  3. India
  4. South Korea
  5. Brazil
  6. Thailand

Yield Rate

Syracuse University’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted was an extremely low 16% last year. This is due to the fact that SU is competing with the same pool of students as many elite institutions in the Northeast. As such, the university greatly values “demonstrated interest” (more on that in a moment). For comparison, other private institutions have the following yield rates: Fordham (9%), Boston University (24%), and Villanova University (26%).

How Syracuse University Rates Applicants

There are an incredible 11 factors that Syracuse University ranks as being “very important” to their admissions process: rigor of secondary school record, GPA, and talent/ability, class rank, the essays, recommendations, an interview, extracurricular activities, and character/personal qualities, volunteer work, and the level of an applicant’s demonstrated interest. Talk about a holistic process!

Straight from the Syracuse University admissions staff:

  • “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.”
  • “Grades are only part of our admissions equation. Your personal essay illustrates your goals, interests, experiences, and values. Though an interview is not mandatory, it is an ideal way to further personalize your application.”
  • “An evaluation from your guidance counselor and two academic teacher recommendations give admissions representatives a sense of your unique gifts, capabilities, and accomplishments. These testimonials help to round out who you are as a student—and a person.”
  • “The 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.”
  • “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.”
  • “Syracuse University is looking for more than academically prepared students. Syracuse students innovate and take risks, they are people of integrity and good citizenship. You are a strong candidate if you strengthen and support those around you, even as you are working to develop yourself.”

Additional Tips for Applying to Syracuse University

If you plan on joining the 39,000+ SU hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  • Syracuse University offers interviews with an admissions rep that very important to the admissions process
  • Syracuse University weighs “demonstrated interest” as “very important” in the admissions process. Therefore, you will be judged on whether or not you made a campus visit (in non-pandemic times) contacted an admissions officer, etc.
  • Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the supplemental essay(s) required by SU. In the 2021-22 cycle, there is one prompt that every applicant must tackle:

All applicants must answer:

Why are you interested in Syracuse University and how do you see yourself contributing to a diverse, inclusive, accessible and respectful campus? (250 words)

Should I Apply to Syracuse University?

Unlike many schools of its ilk, Syracuse is not looking for reasons to say “No” to prospective students with reasonably strong credentials. However, if Syracuse University is your aim and you don’t have grades and test scores in their 75th percentile range, make sure to also have a rock-solid backup plan. All students need to make sure that they formulate an appropriate college list, containing a complement of “target” and “safety” schools. You’ll definitely want to do this in conjunction with an admissions professional.