Whitehaven student explains how she got accepted into 160 colleges

WHITEHAVEN, TN (WMC) - One Whitehaven High school graduate was accepted into more than 160 colleges and received nearly $9 million in scholarship offers.

If you're old school, then you might be scratching your heads and wondering how you apply to more than 160 schools.

Thanks to technology, a lot of hard work, and a program at Whitehaven, Jayla Woods and the entire class of 2018 at Whitehaven High could be breaking records across the country.

"I had to push myself to keep going and going," Jayla said.

After all, it's not easy to be accepted into 160 schools.

"She'll be up to 2 a.m. in the morning still filling out applications," said Jayla's father Vearnon.

Individually applying to 40 different schools and the rest from the Common App and Black Common App websites that allowed Jayla to create one application to be sent to dozens of colleges and universities.

"I have accumulated over $8.7 million in scholarships," Jayla said.

Get this – Jayla is third in her class for highest scholarship offers. Her classmate Meaghan Jones is first, raking in more than $10 million.

"This class I can promise you will have over $190 million in academic scholarships all to children of inner city school kids," said Dr. Vincent Hunter, principal of Whitehaven High School.

That's a $60 million increase from last year. More than 70 students have at least a million dollars in scholarship offers.

"I think this year's totals will be the greatest totals throughout this country," Hunter said.

So how does Whitehaven do it year after year?

"Our scholarship program is embedded into our curriculum, it's a part of our senior portfolio," Hunter said.

Every student at Whitehaven has to have a resume, practice interview skills and have a specific plan of what's next after graduation.

But with 400 students applying for millions of dollars in scholarships, it can be taxing on the staff.

"It's a huge commitment and that's why it's important to have people from your community working, because they understand you can't get it done between 7:15 and 2:15," Hunter said. "You have to do the extended hours."

Thirty former Tigers come back to teach to help the next girl or boy from "the Haven" reach their highest potential.

Jayla has a 4.2 GPA, and she plans to double major in athletic training and nutrition at Tennessee State University.

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