South Fulton County School Student, Kayla Willis, Westlake High Senior Gains Acceptance to 31 Colleges

South Fulton County School Student, Kayla Willis, Westlake High Senior Gains Acceptance to 31 Colleges

Westlake High School Senior Kaya Willis set a goal of receiving acceptances from thirty college as part of the process of selecting where she will continue her education. Ms. Kayla Willis exceeded her goal by being accepted into to the incoming 2019-2020 freshmen class of 31 colleges and universities. She has been offered nearly $1 million in scholarships, a rare feat for any high school senior.

Westlake principal Jamar Robinson says Kayla’s story is inspiring. “A lot of times we assume every student knows they can be accepted into college if they apply, but they don’t,” he said. “When you see a story like Kayla’s and her quest for college scholarships, it lets you know how far our students can go. Kayla’s enthusiasm has encouraged our students. It’s contagious.”

At Westlake, Kayla took a full IBM schedule, worked part-time, and completed her first semester of her senior year with straight A’s. While some students only apply to two or three schools, Kayla applied to 44. “My goal was to have options,” she said. “I didn’t want to limit myself. I also asked the question, how can I go to school for free?”

Kayla’s stack of college and university acceptance letters to consider included schools near and far, such as Texas Christian University, Loyola University of New Orleans, and Spelman College, Dillard University, Fisk University, Howard University, Clark Atlanta University, Bethune-Cookman University, Savannah State University, Florida A&M University, and North Carolina A&T University.

Ultimately, Kayla Willis made her official choice to go to her dream school of Fisk University where she received a full ride, her parents marked the moment with their very own signing day. Congratulations, Kayla! Wishing you a strong finish to your high school career and a great start to college at Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee.

Lessons Learned

Three lessons from Kayla story that students applying for college should take away.

1. Use time management to decide what is most important and balance your activities

“I taught myself time management,” Kayla said. “I learned how to balance my part-time job with my schoolwork. If there’s a big project I make sure I have two weeks to complete it.”

2. Some schools will waive application fees if you submit an application

Kayla said “A lot of top tier schools will waive your application fee if you just submit one. I spent no money because I tried. “Request a fee waiver from the

school. Seven times out of 10 – not nine times out of 10 – they will go ahead and waive your application fee. Go ahead and try.”

3. Use rejection as your motivation

Kayla used her rejection as motivation. “That’s just part of the process,” she said. “The more you apply, the more you try, the more acceptances you’ll have and the more motivated you’ll be.


Michael Davis (

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