Guidelines for Student Portfolios

To facilitate the handling of the materials by SSSC 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., Smith.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.  Programs that wish to submit student portfolios containing MP3 files or video files should create a Dropbox and provide access information for the committee.

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

1. Student Nomination Form – The nomination form must be signed by the nominated student.

2. Student’s resume or CV (maximum 2 pages)

3. School or College transmittal letter – The dean of the school or college must write a letter of transmittal for all students nominated from their school or college. The same letter may be used for each candidate. This letter must include the following information and evaluation:

a. A list of the school/college’s nominees
b. Describe the school/college selection process including:

i. The number of students nominated by faculty or staff to the school or college’s selection committee
ii. The number of students who submitted portfolios for consideration by the school or college’s selection committee
iii. Generally describe the selection process, i.e., the make-up of the selection committee; the timeline for the process; criteria considered; etc.
iv. Address the diversity of areas of study, diversity of the student nominees, how academic excellence was measured

c. Briefly highlight each nominee’s contributions to the academic environment and endeavors of the school or college as demonstrated by innovation or commitment to excellence.

4. Student’s personal statement – 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.

5. 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.

6. Letters of recommendation – The candidate can submit a maximum of four letters of recommendation. 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 SSSC 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”?

7. 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