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The college admissions essay about Papa John’s Pizza that Yale loved, highlighted edition

Just a few months after her 18th birthday, Carolina Williams has suddenly hit the national spotlight for 196 words that she sent to Yale University.

“I never really understood the concept of viral until now,” she said.

I just want @PapaJohns to know that I wrote a college essay about how much I love to order their pizza and it got me into Yale pic.twitter.com/lDlzEErHCn

— Carolina Williams (@justcarolina22) May 9, 2017

The teenager from Brentwood, Tenn., wrote a college admissions essay about her love for Papa John’s Pizza. (Click the yellow highlights for more.)

“When the delivery person rings my doorbell, I instantly morph into one of Pavlov’s dogs, salivating to the sound that signals the arrival of the cheesy, circular glory. It smells like celebration, as I love to rejoice a happy occasion by calling Papa John’s for my favorite food.”

Williams was admitted.

“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,” a Yale admissions officer wrote in an email.

Williams and her friends thought it would be funny to tweet the pizza company, which has responded with free pizzas and offers of an internship, she said. Then her local newspaper wrote a story about it, and it took off from there.

That’s how we got here.

Speaking to The Washington Post from orientation at Auburn University in Alabama, Williams described her newfound fame.

“I’d walk into a place and they’d go, ‘Oh, it’s the pizza girl,’ which is a great reputation, honestly.”

They would also ask why she chose Auburn over Yale, she said.

“Auburn was just personally a better fit for me. I felt more at home here. It was just a gut feeling.”

When asked why she loves Papa John’s above all the other pizzas out there, Williams, who says she is the first person in her family to go to college, said that she will eat pretty much any pizza put in front of her but that something about Papa John’s brings her back.

“I’ve been ordering there since I was little. It’s such a classic to me.”

And I love their garlic sauce.”

Click on the highlighted sections to see more about Carolina Williams, including the other college essay that Yale praised. Also, see why college counselors thought the essay was successful and a possible reason a Yale admissions officer would write the student a note.

The Yale University application essay: (“Write about something that you love to do”)

The sound of my doorbell starts off high, then the pitch mellows out, and the whole effect mimics an instrumental interpretation of rain finally finding a steady pace at which to fall. I have spent several minutes analyzing its tone because I have had many opportunities to do so, as one thing I love to do is order pizza and have it delivered to my house. When the delivery person rings my doorbell, I instantly morph into one of Pavlov’s dogs, salivating to the sound that signals the arrival of the cheesy, circular glory. It smells like celebration, as I love to rejoice a happy occasion by calling Papa John’s for my favorite food. It tastes like comfort, since having pizza delivered to my quiet home is a way for me to unwind. It looks like self-sufficiency, because when I was young, ordering pizza made me feel grown-up, and it still provides that satisfaction for my child at heart. Accepting those warm cardboard boxes 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.

Handwritten note on invitation letter to Yale’s Bulldog Saturday:

Congratulations on your acceptance and welcome to Yale! I absolutely loved reading your application. Your essay on reading 100 books in a year was so passionate, fun, and likable and, as a fellow lover of pizza, I laughed out loud (then ordered pizza) after reading your application. Yale would be lucky to have you, and I know …”

Email from the regional Yale admissions officer

“I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read your application. As someone who kept trying to read books for fun on tops of thousands of applications this winter, I really loved your essay on reading 100 books in a year and 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. 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 University Undergraduate College Application Essays

These Yale University college application essays were written by students accepted at Yale University. All of our sample college essays include the question prompt and the year written. Please use these sample admission essays responsibly.

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College Application Essays accepted by Yale University

The Absurd, The Prom Anthony Haddad

Yale University

In ninth grade, we learned that Voltaire’s Candide was a satire on society, expressed through the absurd extremities Candide must face. In “What Befell Candide among the Bulgarians”, ‘our hero’ must ‘run the gauntlet six and thirty times through.

An Academic Affair Anthony Haddad

Yale University

Oh, you naughty girl you! NO, I can’t spend the night, I have so much work to do. I’m sorry. look. I promise I’ll make it up to you on the weekend. I won’t even go see my friends on Friday. Yeah, I promise. Sure, of course I think about you. I.

Yanni Anthony Haddad

Yale University

I was about nine when I watched the PBS special “Yanni: Live at the Acropolis” with my extended family. My parents said Yanni was a piano virtuoso, for whatever that was worth to a nine year older. As I awaited in ‘enthusiastic anticipation’, our.

From Negative to Positive (Or Positive to Negative?) The Lurid Confessions of a Member of Teeny Bopper Anonymous Janet Rosenbaum

Yale University

From Negative to Positive (Or Positive to Negative?) The lurid confessions of a member of Teeny-Bopper Anonymous

Wow. Wasn’t I cool? Since this picture was taken, everything outside of myself – my appearance, my surroundings, even my superficial.

EMR Michael Jin

Yale University

The smell of twenty-seven kinds of chili and one style of barbecue wafted through the air at the Palo Alto Chili Festival. It was a perfect day on a summer weekend, one of many I had spent volunteering for the Palo Alto Fire Explorers. The morning.

Having a Ball in Europe Dan Venning

Yale University

On a summer vacation with my family last year, my first experience of independence in Italy was of almost being arrested. My parents had decided that they wanted to go to Europe for our annual summer trip. Since I had studied Latin for three.

Challenges of the New Millennium Anonymous

Yale University

The advent of the year 2000 signifies a new world of hope and challenges for our country and the planet. With developments in technology such as the Internet, the world is coming closer together than ever. It is vital for the survival of our.

The Power of Diversity Anonymous

Yale University

The doorbell rang incessantly. The rest of the NASA Sharpies (as we like to call ourselves) and I in the room looked at each other in confusion – the door was already wide open. Glancing over, we saw Kennedy walk in with a curious look on his.

A Night at the Fifth Avenue Brian D. Earp

Yale University

Midnight was two hours old before I could finally peel out of my costume. The prosthetic nose and glue-on beard tore at my skin as I tugged them off, and they quickly joined the clutter on the bathroom floor: a tired pile of mismatched robes.

The Listening Party Brian D. Earp

Yale University

My brother lives in a “gated community,” one of those manufactured neighborhoods. It was like we were driving through the streets of a toy city, a miniature suburb built for the amusement of a god-sized obsessive compulsive. I myself was steering.

Safeguarding Memories Rachael Ji Yoon Kim

Yale University

Leaping over crooked crevices in the sidewalk, my childhood self hopped a few yards ahead of my grandfather. As I paused to scrutinize a colorful candy wrapper, the smell of melting sugar drifted from a small blue cart where an old woman flipped.

Color Guard Rachael Ji Yoon Kim

Yale University

I like to play with guns and knives.

It’s not what you think: I’m in color guard. Although events like the Virginia Tech incident have worsened the reputation of weaponry, color guard attempts to transform the traditional connotations of.

Poetry Rachael Ji Yoon Kim

Yale University

“Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes.”

It is impossible to convey the art of words with more words. Case in point: try to find another word for “salty.” It isn’t bitter; it isn’t sour; it’s salty. Likewise, the terms “.

Colors of Life Anonymous

Yale University

Yellow – one of the primary colors. It is one hue; it is a million hues. Pale yellow, the color of silt in China’s River of Life; saffron yellow, the color of Chinese sovereignty for two millennia; tanned yellow, the tint of my skin.

Unfinished Symphony Hang Xu

Yale University

A small square office, no more than ten feet wide, holds two upright mahogany pianos sitting back-to-back. The metronome marks the beat, ta-ta-ta-ta, first 100 beats per minute, then 105, 110, working toward 120. The door is closed.

The Ride Hang Xu

Yale University

September 15, 2002

“Star 94 FM Real-time Traffic…those heading northwest on Peachtree Industrial should expect major delays due to a gas leak….”

I abruptly change the radio station. What luck! I have moved exactly one mile in ten minutes.

Most Influential Teacher Anonymous

Yale University

She was the toughest; she was the best. She was also the most influential teacher I have ever had. Ms. William, my sixth grade teacher, was never one to settle for second-best. As a demanding teacher, she hadn’t always been popular. In fact, my.

Why I Love Debating Anonymous

Yale University

We are sitting in an empty classroom, two hours after school has ended. Our hands are scribbling furiously across the page, trying to catch up with our torrent of ideas. It is the week before the debate final, and we are doing a dress rehearsal.

Writing With Emily Emily Zhao

Yale University

In my naïve middle schools days, I did not think highly of English class. My love was math, with its logical equations, universal numbers, and challenging problems. English was my second language, something that surrounded and engulfed me the.

Beyond What I Knew Kevin Lin

Yale University

Imagine this: you are working on a complex jigsaw puzzle, placing piece after piece at ease, when you suddenly realize you have absolutely no idea what goes where next. I felt this initial shock when I first reached the third paragraph of a Judith.

Finding My Faith Anonymous

Yale University

A year and a day’s journey lay ahead of every fabled knight in search of the ever elusive Holy Grail, and if said knight was deemed worthy to find it, exhaustion would cause him to sleep at the feet of the Grail without ever truly seeing it. And.

More on Rowing Anonymous

Yale University

The first rower I ever met was my proctor in my dorm. At the end of her senior year, her first year on varsity, I asked her how she felt about closing her career with a championship. “I would have rather been on third boat,” she said, “Less.

The Duty of a Journalist Anonymous

Yale University

“You have a choice to make. If you choose to publish that article, you will be responsible for ruining the reputation of the school. Do you want to have that on your shoulders?” Assistant Principal Jeff Dingo asked me sternly. The following day.

A Tradition of Service Anonymous

Yale University

Each weekend before Christmas the tempting aromas of ginger, cloves and cinnamon permeate our kitchen as jovial friends and family gather. Freshly baked gingerbread for miniature houses are laid out on the table, and bowls of candy and homemade.

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Recent Questions about Yale University

The Question and Answer section for Yale University is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

The Germans had soldiers and guns. The Jews had nothing. A failed outburst would end up in mass killings. The Jews were also weak and starving.

Common themes during this time period were the supernatural, social problems, progress, and the status or position of women.

I’m sorry, this is a short-answer literature forum designed for text specific questions. We are unable to assist students with writing assignments.

Essay Topics

All applicants to Yale are asked to respond to a few Yale-specific short answer questions. Those applying with the Coalition Application are asked to upload a digital file of their creation along with a short reflection. Those applying with the Common Application are asked to respond to two short essay prompts. Those applying with the QuestBridge National College Match Application are asked to complete a short Yale QuestBridge Questionnaire, available via the Yale Admissions Status Portal after an application is received and a student activates his/her status portal. See additional details below.

You may begin your freshman application to Yale by visiting the Coalition Application, the Common Application, or QuestBridge online. We recommend reviewing Yale’s advice on putting together your application before you begin.

If you would like to begin working on your short answer responses and essays before beginning your application, please see the 2017-2018 Yale-specific questions for the Coalition Application, Common Application, and QuestBridge Application below.

Short Answer Questions

Applicants submitting the Coalition Application, Common Application, or QuestBridge Application are asked to respond to the following short answer questions:

  • Students at Yale have plenty of time to explore their academic interests before committing to one or more major fields of study. Many students either modify their original academic direction or change their minds entirely. As of this moment, what academic areas seem to fit your interests or goals most comfortably? Please indicate up to three from the list provided.
  • Why do these areas appeal to you? (100 words or fewer)
  • What is it about Yale that has led you to apply? (125 words or fewer)

Applicants submitting either the Coalition Application or Common Application are also asked to respond to the following short answer questions:

  • What inspires you? (35 words or fewer)
  • Yale’s residential colleges regularly host intimate conversations with guests representing a wide range of experiences and accomplishments. What person, past or present, would you invite to speak? What question would you ask? (35 words or fewer)
  • You are teaching a Yale course. What is it called? (35 words or fewer)
  • Most first-year Yale students live in suites of four to six people. What would you contribute to the dynamic of your suite? (35 words or fewer)

Essays – Coalition Application

In 300 words or fewer, write on one of the two essay topics below. In addition to writing on your chosen topic, upload an audio file, video, image, or document you have created that is meaningful to you and relates to your essay. Above your essay, include a one-sentence description of what you have submitted.

  • What do you most enjoy learning?
  • Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How do you feel you have contributed to this community?

Please limit your upload to the following file types: mp3, mov, jpeg, word, pdf. Note that advanced editing of audio/video/image/documents is not necessary. While we are not providing limits to the length of the material you upload, the Admissions Office may not have time to review the entirety of your submission. Sometimes, less is more.

Uploads provided via the Coalition Application will be reviewed by the Admissions Office only. If you wish to submit material that may be evaluated by Yale faculty, please see our Supplementary Material instructions.

Optional Engineering and Computer Science Essay

If you selected one of the computer science or engineering majors, please tell us more about what has led you to an interest in this field of study, what experiences (if any) you have had in computer science or engineering, and what it is about Yale’s program in this area that appeals to you. (Please answer in 500 words or fewer.)

Essays – Common Application

Please choose two of the following topics and respond to each in 250 words or fewer.

  • What do you most enjoy learning?
  • Reflect on your engagement with a community to which you belong. How do you feel you have contributed to this community?
  • Write on something you would like us to know about you that you have not conveyed elsewhere in your application.

Optional Engineering and Computer Science Essay

If you selected one of the computer science or engineering majors, please tell us more about what has led you to an interest in this field of study, what experiences (if any) you have had in computer science or engineering, and what it is about Yale’s program in this area that appeals to you. (Please answer in 500 words or fewer.)

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Advice on Putting Together Your Application

Students commonly want to know what part of the college application “carries the most weight.” The truth is, there are many parts to your application, and together they help us discover and appreciate your particular mix of qualities. Academic criteria are important to Yale’s selective admissions process, but we look at far more than test scores and grades.

Every applicant brings something unique to the admissions committee table. Perhaps one application stands out because of sparkling recommendations, while another presents outstanding extracurricular talent; maybe your personality shines through a powerful written voice, or maybe your keen mathematical mind packs more punch. Our goal is to assemble a diverse, well-rounded student body, and that means admitting exceptional individuals of all types. You may find this answer unsatisfying, but we assure you that it is true: the part of the application that carries the most weight is different from applicant to applicant.

This section of our website aims to help you submit the very best application possible. We asked admissions officers to weigh in with their own thoughts on each topic and we have compiled their responses below. We know that the application process can be confusing, daunting, even overwhelming, and we hope this page proves helpful as you compile your applications, not only to Yale but to every school on your list.

When you write your essays and short answer responses, write about something that matters to you. Use your own voice. Do not worry about making a special effort to include impressive vocabulary words or overly complex sentences. If you sound like yourself and discuss something you care about, your essay will be more effective.

We know that no one can fit an entire life story into a few short pieces of writing, and we don’t expect you to try. Pick topics that will give us an idea of who you are. It doesn’t matter which topics you choose, as long as they are meaningful to you. We have read wonderful essays on common topics and weak essays on highly unusual ones. Your perspective – the lens through which you view your topic – is far more important than the specific topic itself. In the past, students have written about family situations, ethnicity or culture, school or community events to which they have had strong reactions, people who have influenced them, significant experiences, intellectual interests, personal aspirations, or – more generally – topics that spring from the life of the imagination.

Finally: proofread, proofread, proofread! Share your essays with at least one or two people who know you well – such as a parent, teacher, counselor, or friend – and ask for feedback. Remember that you ultimately have control over your essays, and your essays should retain your own voice, but others may be able to catch mistakes that you missed and help suggest areas to cut if you are over the word limit.

Activities

Your record of activities outside the classroom should demonstrate a number of things:

  1. You engage your community beyond the classroom. Yale is home to hundreds student organizations, and we want to admit students who will take advantage of these resources and contribute to Yale’s vibrant extracurricular community.
  2. You take leadership positions when they are available, and you invest your energies into the activities you choose. You do not need to be president of a national organization to impress the admissions committee. But, the committee would like to see that you have spent time pursuing meaningful opportunities and that you have had a positive impact on people around you.
  3. You demonstrate a deep commitment to and genuine appreciation for what you spend your time doing. The joy you take in the pursuits that really matter to you – rather than a resume padded with a long list of activities – will strengthen your candidacy.

Interviews

Interviews are another way to help your application stand out. An interview is not required, but if you are offered the opportunity to interview, we strongly encourage you to take it. Yale’s policies regarding interviews can be found on the interviews page.

Although the interviewer will get the ball rolling with questions, come prepared to be an engaged conversationalist. Rather than answering a question with a one-word, direct answer, approach each question as an opportunity to elaborate on various aspects of who you are. Share whatever additional information you feel the admissions committee should consider in order to fully appreciate your ideas, intellectual curiosity, character, and values. Interviewers can also learn about candidates from the interesting, thoughtful questions they bring to the table.

Recommendations

Recommendations tell us a great deal about the way you think and learn, how you contribute to your school community, and what you add to a classroom dynamic. The best recommendations are not always from the teachers in whose class you earned the highest grades, but rather from those teachers who know you best and can discuss the substance of your intellect and character. We are as interested in your intellectual curiosity and resilience as in your innate ability and work ethic. A string of generic superlatives is not as useful as a specific, thoughtful discussion of your strengths.

All applicants for first-year admission should request two letters of recommendation from teachers who have taught the student in core academic subjects: usually Math, English, Foreign Language, Social Studies, or Science. Teachers who have taught you in your junior and/or senior years often write the most insightful letters. These teachers will best speak to your recent progress, your preparation for rigorous collegiate coursework, and your potential contributions beyond the classroom.

Supplementary Materials

Supplementary materials can provide broader context to some parts of your application, but they can just as often be superfluous and distracting. For example, a letter from someone who supervised your extracurricular research project may answer important questions about the work you’ve done. But a third recommendation that raves about you, just as your other letters do, will not necessarily enhance your application. In fact, it may dilute the effect of the two required recommendations. For more information visit our page on supplementary materials.

Transcript and Testing

Your transcript is a significant part of your application. We look at your overall record, from freshman through senior years. We always remain mindful of context: what courses are available at your school? Did you take a rigorous curriculum given these course offerings? Are there patterns to your transcript that reflect on your academic potential? We rely on school profiles and guidance counselors to give us an understanding of your school and the ways in which you have been academically engaged.

We also consider your standardized test scores. Think of testing as just another part of the application. Only retake a test if you feel you will significantly improve your scores. If your testing is in the right ballpark, then it probably will not be the deciding factor for your candidacy. In other words, don’t worry about trying to get an extra few points. Instead, spend your time on things that will help you grow as a person: school work, extracurricular opportunities, time with friends — the things that will give you a stronger sense of yourself and, as a result, make you a stronger college applicant.

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Yale Admissions Essays

These college essays are from students who got accepted at Yale University. Use them to get inspiration for your own essays and knock the socks off those admissions officers!

1. Yale Supplement Essay

It’s never easy to appreciate something unconventional. Just ask the people who attended the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s , a performance infamous for sparking a riot, reducing the proud composer to tears. Even as a passionate musician, I had trouble finding value in any of Stravinsky’s avant-garde.

2. Yale Supplement

She wore a fluffy elf cap—powder pink, of course—and at barely an arm’s length, she already sported wispy hair and delicate fingers and toes. Still, her puffy eyes seemed too big for her tiny visage, which seemed curled into an eternal…scowl? Gingerly, I poked one chubby cheek. “Not cute at all,” I .

3. Culture Shock?

I love sitting by the Haft-Seen, surrounded by family, at the turn of another solar year on the first day of spring. I love listening to my dad pray for us with the Quran before him. I love the smell of our traditional foods wafting from the kitchen.

For that one day I am truly an Iranian; before I r.

4. Yale Short Answers

Computer Science, Economics, Italian

I see computer science as a refined way of thinking that allows me to find solutions to all types of queries. To me, economics is finding patterns in the ways that people make choices. I want to study both computer science and economics to develop a solid understa.

5. Loud Learning

My house has never been quiet, and I do not think it ever will be. Living with six siblings is not the definition of tranquility. My parents’ affinity to invite perfect strangers into our home only adds to the chaos. However, I have learned more from this revolving door than I could have ever .

Essays That Worked

Read the top 5 college essays that worked at Yale and more. Learn more.

Yale University Facts

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university located in New Haven, Connecticut. It is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious and selective universities in the world.

Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher educ.

Yale Stats

  • 6.3% acceptance rate
  • 12,336 enrolled students
  • $47,600 tuition & fees
  • #3 in US News & World Report

Located in New Haven, CT

  • 157,757 views

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela

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