Naming Your College-Age Characters

I like to keep lists of names handy, for when inspiration takes a holiday and a character needs to be named – NOW. If you are giving your character a name – whether in fiction or creative nonfiction (with appropriate disclosure in the front matter) – here’s a way to look at some choices, especially if your person is in their late teens or early 20s.

Yale Admissions

Photo of historic buildings at Yale

Yale University

Ivy League colossus Yale University admitted students with first names that only overlap somewhat with the most popular ones in the US for the birth year 1994.

An article with Venn diagrams for Yale student admissions compared to most popular names appears at this link.

Yale Says Yes

Girls named Elizabeth, Sarah, and Victoria, and boys named Charles, Peter, and Samuel are hanging out in New Haven, even though their names were not very popular in general US baby-naming circles in 1994.

Popular but Not at Yale

On the other hand, you could be super popular as Alexis, Amber, or Ashley; Brandon, Cody, or Kyle, and still be lining up for Pepe’s Pizza if you happened to be in New Haven.

pizza parlor storefront

Pepe’s Pizza, New Haven, CT

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