We were recently blown away by a young woman's college essay about Papa John's pizza. Carolina Wilson eloquently expressed all the things that make her so passionate about pizza, and her words — along with outstanding grades and impressive extracurriculars, we're sure — earned her admission to Yale University. Today, we found out that entrance into one of the country's most prestigious universities is not the only thing the pizza essay got Carolina. According to a rep for the pizza chain, Papa John himself reached out to the teen with a video message and offered her several gifts of congratulations.
First, Carolina has been offered an internship at the Papa John's headquarters in Louisville, KY next summer after she completes her freshman year at Auburn University. Second, in the fall, Papa John's will throw "the ultimate dorm pizza party" for Carolina and her hallmates. Last but certainly not least, the rising freshman will receive a "Papa John's Family Care Package," which will include pizza for a year — in the form of a $780 Papa John's gift card — and a few items for school like an Auburn hoodie, a Papa John's journal and pen set, a Tervis Tumbler, backpack, and umbrella. Looks like Carolina's going to have a lot of friends next semester.
This article was originally published on June 1, 2017.
There is so much pressure that accompanies the task of writing a college entrance essay. Whatever you write is supposed to make you look interesting, intelligent, and enlightened. It has to standout among the thousands of other essays that pass through the admissions officers’ hands. And to an 18-year-old who is trying to move on to the next phase of their life, it seems like the most important thing ever written. So, yeah, it’s pretty easy to overthink something that high-stakes. That’s why we’re so impressed by a young woman named Carolina Williams who managed to let go of all the pressure and just write about something simple that she truly loves, Papa John’s Pizza.
This year, the application to Yale University included a fairly open-ended question that said, “Write about something you love to do.” Williams, who is a native of Tennessee, chose to write about ordering Papa John’s Pizza. In fewer than 200 words, she managed to bring a totally new perspective to the act of ordering pizza, something so many of us do on a regular basis. She cleverly explains that her favorite food makes her feel joy and independence, and we weren’t the only ones that ate her essay right up.
Carolina was accepted to Yale, and when she received her acceptance letter in the mail, she also got a handwritten note from one of the admissions officers. It included a line that said, “as a fellow lover of pizza, I laughed out loud (then ordered pizza) after reading your application.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Ivy League Universities have a positive response to essays about the simple pleasures in life. Last year, a Delaware teen was accepted to six Ivies with a memorable essay about shopping at Costco.
Earlier this month, Carolina Williams tweeted photos of her essay and the responses she got from Yale, and tagged Papa John's to tell the pizza chain her good news. Papa John's responded to congratulate her and requested that she send a direct message to the account. That led many Twitter users who came across the post to wonder if the Tennessee teen would be receiving free pizza for life or if she would get to meet Papa John himself. According to TeenVogue, Williams has decided to attend Auburn University in the fall. Hopefully, she really has been promised some free pizza because that sounds like the perfect way to break the ice with her new classmates.