Student Turns Down Acceptance to Yale After Writing Essay About Papa John’s Pizza

"It smells like celebration."

A high school student turned down an offer to attend Yale, after an unconventional application essay helped catch the Ivy’s eye.

Carolina Williams, a graduate of the Ravenwood High School of Brentwood, Tennessee, placed in the top 10 in her class and participated in a slew of extracurriculars. But where Williams truly stood out was her response to a short essay prompt about something she enjoys doing. Her answer? Ordering Papa John’s pizza.

“Honestly, I thought I should go with the first thing that popped in my head,” Williams, who will be the first in her family to attend college, told the Tennessean. “It was completely genuine.” From her essay:

The sound 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 younger, ordering pizza made me feel grown-up, and it still provides that satisfaction for my child at heart. 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.

Alack, Williams turned down Yale’s offer and will instead attend Auburn University this fall. There, she intends to major in business and minor in economics. Who knows, maybe there will be a spot waiting for her someday in the Papa John’s C-suite.