College Essays and Pizza

College Essays, College Admissions Essays, College Admission Essays

LeBron James doesn’t look as though he eats much pizza (photo credit: Keith Allison).

LeBron James, currently locked in an uphill battle against Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, recently declared that everybody likes pizza. Or maybe that was just a meme. Who knows. But who doesn’t like pizza? There’s even gluten-free pizza these days. But, Ivy Coach, are you hungry? What’s with all the talk about pizza? You’re supposed to be writing about college admissions. We know, we know. But as “Fox News” reports, a successful applicant to Yale this year wrote about…you guessed it…pizza.

So now we get to talk about pizza. One of Yale’s supplemental essays this past admissions cycle was a 200-word prompt that read, “Tell us about something that you love to do.” Carolina Williams, a student from Tennessee (a great state to be from when applying to a highly selective college like Yale, we should add!), wrote about how she loves to order pizza from Papa Johns. Oh Carolina — there is such better pizza out there in this world than Papa Johns (side note: one of the very best pizza places in the world is right near Columbia University). And while we don’t happen to think the pizza essay is extremely well written (sorry), we do absolutely support the premise.

But, Ivy Coach, why would writing about a love of pizza help you get into college? It won’t per se. But what it will do is make you likeable. When so many other college applicants aim desperately to impress — rendering themselves unlikeable to admissions officers — Carolina Williams dared to write about pizza. She wasn’t trying to impress people. She was just showcasing her personality, even adding in a dollop of intellectual curiosity (e.g., operant conditioning). There is an expression in medicine: “When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras.” In highly selective college admissions, when you’re trying to get into a school like Yale, think pizza not National Honor Society. Think about it.

And how much pizza can LeBron James truly eat in light of his physique? But we digress.


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