News

This Teenager's College Essay About Papa John's Got Her Into Yale

Getting into Yale is no small task, considering it accepts just 6.9% of applicants. You basically need to blow the admissions office away. Or, you could try submitting an essay about how much you love Papa John's pizza, which is what a teen in Tennessee did to get her acceptance letter from the Ivy League school.

When faced with the prompt to write about "something you love to do" in 200 words or less on her application, Tennessee senior Carolina Williams threw caution to the wind and went all-in about her unwavering love for Papa John's. She went into great detail about exactly how PJ pizza makes her feel, using choice phrases like "When the delivery person rings my doorbell, I instantly morph into one of Pavlov's dogs, salivating to the sound..." and "It tastes like comfort..." Interestingly, there's no mention of her thoughts on the signature pepperoncinis.

Her bold move turned out to be a chance worth taking, because the vaguely cheeky mini essay was one of the reasons the Yale admissions crew let her into the class of 2021. In fact, in addition to the formal acceptance letter she received in the mail, one of the admissions counselors who reviewed her application included a handwritten note about how much she loved the pizza bit. "As a fellow lover of pizza, I laughed out loud (then ordered pizza) after reading your application," it read.

Williams was just as surprised by the turn of events, telling AL.com "I thought about it for a while, and I thought that it was probably creative and stuff, and it was easy to write about because I really do love to order pizza, but I didn't expect that it would have such an effect on getting me in."

Here's the twist, though. Williams isn't going to Yale. She's decided to attend Auburn University instead, where she plans to major in business and minor in economics, all while presumably continuing to stay on pace with the her once-a-week Papa John's habit.

Let this be a lesson to us all to never underestimate the power of delivery pizza.

h/tGrub Street

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.