Arcadia High School Case Study: How Counselors Can Use Going Merry Effectively For Their Students

With about 3,500 students, counselors at Arcadia High School in Arcadia, California were overwhelmed by their scholarship program. On top of their usual responsibilities, counselors at AHS were attempting to manage over 25 scholarships, totaling more than $25,000, which was a time consuming and complex process.

Previously, students were given an online PDF where they could fill in their information and return it to counselors via email for each specific scholarship. Along with the applications, students would send other required documents back to Tabatha Wona, a counselor at AHS, in separate emails, clogging up her inbox with thousands of messages.

“[It] was a nightmare,” Tabatha commented. “I was so afraid of losing an application or email.” This all changed when Tabatha found Going Merry.

Going Merry has transformed the scholarship application process to make it simpler for students to apply and easier for counselors to manage. Tabatha was previously frustrated by the disorganization of their scholarship program and the time she had to devote to it.

Before finding Going Merry, she remembered thinking, “there has to be an easier way, and boom – you guys fell out of the sky.”

Arcadia High School discovered Going Merry when their district office director heard of a new free platform that was helping schools across the country. Excited to find a better way to run her scholarship program, Tabatha signed up for a counselor account and then was guided through the entire process. She merely forwarded on the old applications and the Going Merry team quickly converted them into digital form.

The exact application questions and specific eligibility requirements were maintained so that only AHS students could apply. Tabatha remarked, “It’s been so much easier” than the old way of running their program.

To kick off her scholarship season, Tabatha was easily able to invite her 800 seniors by signing into her Counselor Portal and using the simple invitation tool. Her students were able to quickly sign up in a matter of minutes.

Arcadia’s high school seniors could not only apply to their local program, but also to thousands of other matched scholarships using auto-filled applications with information from their profile.

In addition, students were able to store their documents and easily attach them to applications, and request needed recommendation letters. Then, using her Counselor Portal, Tabatha could oversee all of her students’ scholarship activity. She could track the number of applications her students were working on, view all the scholarships on the Going Merry platform, and upload needed documents.

This year, her students submitted about 1,500 scholarship applications, largely driven by applications to AHS’s own scholarship program.

During the application process, Tabatha was able to use Going Merry’s Provider Portal to manage her specific program. In past years, she was worried that some of the scholarships in her program wouldn’t get enough applicants. Now, she could track application numbers before the deadline, so she had a sense for whether students were working on their applications.

After the deadline was reached, Tabatha was able to access and review all of the applications and supporting documents for the 26 scholarships in her program all in one place, online.

“I feel like it’s best to have things in one place, and it helped me to keep everything in one little lockbox.”

She was also able to download all applications in one easy step so she could print any application that needed to be passed to other review committees. Going Merry offered Tabatha live support to help answer any questions she had throughout the entire process.

“[Going Merry] really streamlined it for us,” Tabatha said. The entire process was improved for everyone, and the end result far exceeded her expectations.

Her favorite part was no longer receiving thousands of emailed applications and having a paper-free process allowing her to focus on helping her students in other beneficial ways.

Tabatha loved the ease of transitioning her scholarship program and happily recommends Going Merry to other high schools, highlighting how amazing the whole experience has been. “It’s all I ever talk about.”

UPDATE from Jan 2020:

We are working with Arcadia High School again for their 2020 scholarship program, which you can see screenshots of below. They showcase:

  • Public school scholarships page, which can be emailed to students
  • Local scholarships page, which students see when they’re signed in
  • Provider portal dashboard, which scholarship administrators can see to monitor the program’s progress at a glance
  • Provider portal application, which scholarship administrators can evaluate submitted applications and select a winner

Interested in digitizing your school’s scholarships?

Here’s how to do that. You’ll get access to a Scholarship Provider portal that gives you stats on submissions  as they roll in, plus you (and any other reviewers) can rate applications and make notes on them. 

Kelly Lamano

Ready to find scholarships that are a match for you?