- CAMPUS LIFE
UT graduate Jared Hall won six games of Jeopardy! and may return to the game show next year on the game show's champion's tournament.
For Jared Hall, a University of Texas at Austin graduate, auditioning and winning once was not enough-- he won six episodes of Jeopardy!. But on Friday he played his final round and lost.
“This is Jeopardy!” Words many of us heard growing up that signify the classic game show series. Few of us ever imagine auditioning for the show, let alone winning an episode. For Jared Hall, a graduate from UT, auditioning and winning once was not enough. The UT alum went on a scintillating six-episode winning streak before playing his final round on Friday Sept. 20, walking away with $181,001 in winnings.
Hall said he did not expect to win as much as he did.
“I had a realistic expectation that I could win at least one episode, but that's about as far as it went,” Hall said. “I did feel confident going in, however, and I think that helped. Even if I didn't have a goal of winning six episodes, I was confident that I could succeed.”
Once or twice a year, Jeopardy! offers an online trivia test that anyone can take. Those who do well enough on that test are invited to complete an in-person audition in different cities around the country. Hall had his auditions in New Orleans on August 2012.
“My audition went well, and I got a call in March of 2013 from Jeopardy, asking me to come to LA to tape episodes in April,” Hall said. “I won two episodes in April, and then returned in August for more episodes after the show's summer break.”
Though he had been an avid fan of Jeopardy! throughout high school and college, Hall said it was not until recently that he thought he could compete and do well on the show.
“I was fortunate enough to get chosen on my first try,” Hall said. “Having such success on a show like Jeopardy is obviously pretty exceptional, but it still seems unreal to me. The magnitude of it hasn't quite sunk in yet.”
Hall said that he plans to use his winnings to pay off his student loans, travel, and donate to charity.
“While I was playing in front of the cameras, I was totally in the zone, so for a lot of the time I didn't quite realize what was happening - I was just focused on the next question,” Hall said. “All in all, it was an incredibly fun experience, and I had the chance to work with and play against a number of really great people.”
Hall graduated with a master’s degree in global policy studies from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in May 2013. Since graduation, he has been working at UT as a full-time Research Associate.
“I definitely think my graduate studies at UT helped expose me to a number of different subjects and issues that were useful on the show,” Hall said. “I also developed my ability to think quickly and remain calm under pressure, both of which are very useful skills for Jeopardy.”
As for the future, Hall plans to stick around Austin for the next year or so, and looks forward to pursuing professional opportunities on the East Coast or in Chicago. As for his Jeopardy! career, Hall said that he hopes to make a comeback appearance on the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions at some point in the next year.