Strategy: An essay about Papa John's pizza helped a high school senior get into Yale (PZZA)
High-school senior Carolina Williams was accepting into Yale after penning an essay about an unconventional topic — Papa John's pizza.
High school senior Carolina Williams was accepted into Yale after penning an essay about an unconventional topic — Papa John's pizza.
"When I saw that the prompt was 'Write about what you love to do,' my very first thought was order pizza from Papa John's," Williams told Business Insider on Wednesday. "I order pizza from Papa John's once a week — it's my absolute favorite! I thought for a while about if I should actually do that and if they would take it seriously, but I decided to just write it because it was so easy and my passion came through."
Williams said that she was proud of her essay, which she believes stood out to admissions officers because it was reflective of her actual personality.
While the essay was about Papa John's, it touched on broader topics, such as comfort and independence.
"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, consolidation, and joy," Williams wrote.
Earlier in May, Williams tweeted about her achievement, with screen shots of her essay, her letter of admission, and an email from a pizza-loving Yale admissions officer.
"I laughed so hard on your pizza essay. I kept thinking that you are the kind of person that I would love to be best friends with," an admissions officer wrote to Williams. "I want you to know that every part of your application stood out in our process and we are thrilled to be able to offer you a spot at Yale."
Yale's admissions rate for the class of 2021 was just 6.9%, according to its website, making it one of the most difficult colleges to get into in the US.
Williams is turning down Yale's invitation to join the class of 2021 and plans to attend Auburn University in the fall, allowing the Tennessee teen to stay in the South and avoid chilly New Haven, Connecticut winters.
Papa John's was quick to congratulate Williams on her achievement.
"We're so honored that you wrote about us in your essay!" the pizza chain tweeted. Papa John's also sent along some gift cards, according to Williams.