the chain gang

A Teen Got Into Yale With an Essay About Loving Papa John’s

Eight slices of “independence, consolation, and joy.” Photo: Casey Florig/CC/flickr

A genius teenager used the universal love for pizza to finesse her way into Yale. Carolina Williams, who just graduated high school in Tennessee, must have seen the prompt in the admissions application (“Write about something that you love to do”) and realized she’d been given a gift from the essay gods. Williams knew two things — everybody is obsessed with pizza, and nobody loves eating Papa John’s as much as she does — so she figured a 200-word love letter to the chain was as solid a ticket in as anything.

The essay essentially walks a reader through the emotional ordeal that is Williams awaiting Papa John’s delivery. She sets the scene: She’s counting down until the doorbell rings. When it does, she “instantly morph[s] into one of Pavlov’s dogs, salivating to the sound that signals the arrival of the cheesy, circular glory.” There is more: Now she has the pizza, and “[i]t smells like celebration,” “looks like self-sufficiency,” and “tastes like comfort.” The admissions officer was then left with this kicker: “Accepting those warm cardboard boxes at my front door is second nature to me, but I will always love ordering pizza because of the way eight slices of something so ordinary are able to evoke feelings of independence, consolation, and joy.”

Williams, who cops to ordering Papa John’s once a week, tells Business Insider that she thought “for a while” about the consequences of handing Yale University’s admissions office an ode to pizza. In the end, though, she decided it had to be a subject matter she was passionate about. And whatever, because it 100 percent worked: “As a fellow lover of pizza, I laughed out loud (then ordered pizza) after reading your application,” her admissions officer wrote. “Yale would be lucky to have you.”

Realistically speaking, declaring love for Papa John’s specifically was gutsy, but maybe that bold move was what really put her application over the edge. Funny part is, she tells that she’s going to Auburn instead anyway. Everyone should have seen this coming, though: College in New Haven, despite the city being a pizza haven, would mean four years living 30 minutes from the nearest Papa John’s.

A Teen Got Into Yale With an Essay About Loving Papa John’s