Harvard Senior Neha Seshadri Advances to ‘Jeopardy!’ College Championship Semifinals


Neha Seshadri ’22 won her quarterfinal match of the “Jeopardy!” National College Championship on Thursday, besting students from Clemson University and Creighton University in a tight round that came down to the final question.

Seshadri, an Economics concentrator in Eliot House from Ann Arbor, Mich., ran the board during the game in the “Medical Specialities” category and answered 15 out of 20 attempted questions correctly.

“I was super shocked and super grateful,” Seshadri said of the support she has received, including from her previous middle and high school teachers. “Random people have been recognizing me on the street and telling me that they’re gonna watch the games.”

Seshadri said she took the first qualifying test for the show in early 2021 “on a whim” after seeing it advertised online.


“My family watched ‘Jeopardy!’ a lot — I watched it growing up,” she said. “I just thought, ‘Okay, might as well just take the first test.’”

After passing the initial assessment, Seshadri said she completed a months-long screening process that included a proctored test, an audition, mock games, and interviews to clinch a spot in the tournament. She flew out to California to tape the show last November in near-complete secrecy.

“The only people who really knew were my parents,” she said.

When her roommates learned the news, Seshadri said they were “screaming, standing on the couches.”

“I was sitting on this for quite some time,” she said.

Seshadri said the “adrenaline” of being on the set was a highlight of her experience filming the competition.

“To really finally be on that set after having watched ‘Jeopardy!’ growing up, it was cool for me to finally get my turn on the stage,” she said.

With the tournament drawing 36 contestants from colleges and universities nationwide, Seshadri called the environment on set “fun and collaborative,” adding that the competitors bonded on and off set over dinners and while watching each other’s matches from the audience.

“At the end of the day, it’s just a lot of college students just hanging out,” she said. “I think everyone came in wanting to make friends because none of us could tell anyone.”

Going into the “Final Jeopardy!” round with a slight lead over her opponents, Seshadri wagered $6,201 and correctly identified Sicily and Sardinia as the two regions of Italy divided by the Tyrrhenian Sea to win the game.

“I was just filled with surprise, shock, and excitement that I had won the game!” Seshadri wrote in an email. “I wanted to represent Harvard well, this school with such a storied and historical legacy, and make the school proud!”

Seshadri will compete again on Thursday in the first semifinal match of the National College Championship.

—Staff writer Rahem D. Hamid can be reached at