Guidelines for Student Portfolios

To facilitate the handling of the materials by SUSSC members reviewing each candidate, materials must be submitted electronically as PDF files by the nominating school or college. All materials submitted should be properly labeled/named with the candidate’s name and the nominating college or school (e.g., Brown.Alice – AS).

Each candidate's portfolio should be submitted as a single PDF file.

Programs of study that require creative portfolios (art, music or architecture) to demonstrate the student’s work must submit photographs in a PDF file.  If you wish to submit student portfolios containing MP3 files or video files you should create a Dropbox and provide access information for the committee.

Please organize the materials in your PDF document in the following order:

1. Cover sheet - Include the student's name, academic year, and school/college.  Do NOT include a photo of the student.

2. Student Nomination Form - The Student Nomination Form must be signed by the nominated student.

3. Student’s resume or CV (maximum 2 pages) - The CV must include the student's major(s), current GPA, and a section listing awards/scholarships.

4. Dean's Transmittal Form, Parts I and II -Part I of the Dean's Transmittal Form asks for information on the school/college's selection process; Part II asks for nominee information.  The school/college contact person should complete, print, and affix the Dean's signature to Part I of the Dean's Transmittal Form.  The same Part I can be used for all the nominees from a school/college.   Part II will need to be completed separately for each nominee.  Parts I and II should be included as the fourth item in the student's portfolio.

5. Student’s personal statement (maximum 3 pages; 12 pt font with 1" margins) - The nominee’s personal statement serves as an introduction to the nominee and as a current sample of their writing. In it, the nominee should describe their intellectual growth and how experiences at Syracuse University have contributed to that growth.

6. Student’s transcript(s) - An official Syracuse University transcript is required. The transcript should contain the most recent fall semester grades. In addition, if a student earned six or more credits from another institution(s) of higher education, an official transcript from that (those) institution(s) must be included in the application materials.

7. Letters of recommendation - The candidate can submit a maximum of four letters of recommendation.  Recommendation letters should NOT be prefaced with an introduction by the candidate.

Two letters of recommendation must be from Syracuse University faculty; one of these writers must be identified as the nominee’s “primary faculty mentor.” Two additional recommendation letters may be included from either within or outside the University. The SUSSC is particularly interested in why the candidate’s achievements uniquely qualify them for this academic honor.

The faculty mentor’s letter must address the following:

a. What makes the student’s academic achievement within the classroom, laboratory or studio outstanding?
b. How has the student displayed evidence of intellectual growth and/or innovation in their field of study?
c. How has the student contributed to the academic environment of the school, college and university?
d. Why is the student worthy of the designation “University Scholar”?

Faculty mentors may also use their letters to address:

e.  What constitutes "scholarship or creative endeavor" within the student's discipline.

8. Samples of student work

• Each nominee must submit at least three, but no more than six, samples of their academic work from the categories listed below.
• At least one sample must be a writing sample.
• Each sample document or file must be preceded by a brief paragraph (maximum 200 words) that provides insight into the sample. Please note that the nomination portfolios will be read by faculty who are (most likely) not in the student’s field of study, and thus this paragraph should help the “educated layman” understand what they will be reading, seeing or listening to.

A. Writing sample – required: The candidate should select sample(s) of their writing appropriate to the academic discipline.
B. Creative writing: Samples of creative writing in any genre.
C. Art and architecture portfolios: Portfolios must be submitted in PDF format. A minimum of ten and a maximum of twenty images should be included per portfolio.
*D. Music files: Music files should be submitted in MP3 format. The nominee should include pieces that demonstrate his or her breadth of musical experience and understanding. Special note: When a musical score is submitted as a sample work, an audio file of the piece must be included. The score and audio file together will ‘count’ as one sample of student work.
*E. Videos: Videos can be included in the PDF document as an MP4 file. Videos located on a private website or on a sharing site such as YouTube are acceptable. In this situation, a list of the appropriate links should be included in the sample documents. Be aware that broken, missing, or non-working links will negatively impact the application.

*Candidates submitting music or video files may wish to create a Dropbox to store these materials and provide access information for the committee.

Note: While there is no limit to the length of writing samples, music files or videos, candidates should be mindful that especially lengthy selections are unlikely to be thoroughly read, viewed, or listened to by the committee.

All nomination portfolios must be received no later than the first Friday of classes in the spring term.

Nomination portfolios should be submitted by email to Jolynn Parker at