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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
On Pizza, College Admissions and Yale
About a month ago, a tiny corner of the internet was abuzz about a 196-word admission essay that landed 18-year-old Carolina Williams an acceptance to Yale University. The content? A paean to her favorite pizza joint, Papa Johns. Apparently, the Yale admissions committee thought it was hilarious. Williams tweeted the story to Papa Johns. The pizza chain, no doubt sensing a ripe marketing opportunity, offered free pizzas and an internship to Williams. Her local paper took up the story, and the story went viral from there.

Last year, a young student was admitted to a handful of Ivies with her essay about Costco. This admissions season, Ziad Ahmed was accepted to Stanford with an essay that repeated the phrase “Black Lives Matter” a hundred times. These news stories are catchy. These students are brave and creative. But the media does a routine disservice to readers by suggesting that any of these essays on their own got these students into elite universities.

That's because real college admissions metrics make for pretty boring copy.

At its core, a viral internet sensation is the act of comments threads wagging the dog. This story is charming, but hardly an instructive anecdote. Williams also happened to be one of the top students in her class. Two hundred quirky words aren't alone what wooed Yale. But those words gave comments trolls a few things to consider-namely, whether Williams was an accomplished writer and whether or not she had good taste in pizza.

One thing's for sure-Williams didn't want Yale as badly as they wanted her. She declined their admission offer in favor of Auburn University in Alabama, which she described as a "better fit".

If anything beyond entertainment emerges from stories like these, it is that everyone likes a whimsical story. Even admissions officers.


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