Counselor Starter Guide: How to Use the Going Merry Scholarship Platform (step-by-step, with screenshots!)
You’ve signed up to use Going Merry to help your students find and apply for thousands of scholarships, but where do you start? At a quick glance, this might seem like a LOT of information. We’re here to assure you that our scholarship platform is helpful and easy to use. It could even become a staple in your process to educate and encourage students to apply for (and win!) scholarship awards.
Let’s dive in!
- What to do after you create an account and log in
- Get an overview of the numbers (“Dashboard” tab)
- Check on student scholarship applications, and follow up (“Students” tab)
- Browse scholarships with your students, or on your own! (“Scholarships” tab)
- Suggest local scholarships (“Suggest Scholarships” tab)
- Download (and print) resources (“Resources” tab)
- Invite your students to Going Merry (“Invite Students” tab)
- Highlight scholarships on your school website (“Scholarships Widget” tab)
- Update your account information
- Explore other online resources
- What does it look like for a student?
- Ready to get started with Going Merry as a counselor?
What to do after you create an account and log in
First, you’ll see your “Home” tab where you can choose 1 of 3 options (they’re all links):
1. Invite students to Going Merry to find and apply for scholarships
Through our platform, you can choose one of these ways to invite students:
- Add student email addresses to invite them individually
- Import a list of your students from your email contacts
- Get a personalized link to share with students (via email, or by adding it to a handout)
- Send an email to your students (using our handy email template, available once you click the “1. Invite your students now” link)
After doing this, on the “Students” tab (on the left side), you’ll be able to track:
- which students you’ve invited
- which students you’ve invited but haven’t yet joined (and you can remind them to join!)
- the total number of students at your school who have signed up for Going Merry
2. Email parents of students
Use our customizable email template to contact students’ parents about how Going Merry can help their child. Our template explains the value of signing up for a free student profile and how to use Going Merry.
3. Add your local scholarships to Going Merry (for free!)
You can host and manage your school’s scholarship program online with Going Merry–for free! Read more about how one California school did just this, and how it made their counselors’ lives much easier. If you’re interested in sending us your local scholarships that you DON’T manage, skip to the “Suggest Scholarships” section for more information.
Get an overview of the numbers (“Dashboard” tab)
Your “Dashboard” tab will give you a quick look at the number of students who signed up for Going Merry, the number of draft scholarship applications (this might be a good time to nudge those students to submit their applications), and the number of scholarship applications submitted.
Check on student scholarship applications, and follow up (“Students” tab)
In your “Students” tab, you can view a list of student information – including their name, email address, and expected grad year, plus information about scholarships they’ve applied to, per student. Get an overview of how many scholarship applications are in draft mode, how many applications students have submitted, and what documents they’ve uploaded to their Going Merry student profile.
You might also see an alert that they need to upload documents, such as their transcript and recommendation letters. As a counselor, you can do upload documents for them within the “Students” tab.
Keep in mind, we don’t sell student data, so everyone has peace of mind that the information in our system is confidential.
Browse scholarships with your students, or on your own! (“Scholarships” tab)
This is where the fun begins. You can search for scholarships (type in at least 3 letters in the search bar to populate results), browse scholarships available for students to apply for, or filter scholarships by items like deadline, award amount, and number of recipients in the “Scholarships” tab.
What you see in the “Scholarships” tab is what students see in their Going Merry dashboard. The main difference is students will see a “Learn More” or “Start Application” button on the scholarship pages (if they’re eligible to apply) while you as a counselor will see the “Ineligible to Apply” button.
You can email links to particular scholarships (or just print them out!) to suggest any you think would particularly suit a certain student.
To email a link to a scholarship, click the“View” button to the far right of each scholarship (on this “Scholarships” tab), and then copying the URL just below the deadline. This is the public link, available even to students who haven’t registered or aren’t signed in. You can find that public URL here:
Suggest local scholarships (“Suggest Scholarships” tab)
If you have a local scholarship you think should be added to the Going Merry database, fill out our quick form communicating your interest. If you manage a local high school scholarship program, we encourage you to reach out to us to learn more about bringing your scholarship program online. (It’s free!)
Download (and print) resources (“Resources” tab)
Just when you thought the Going Merry platform for counselors couldn’t get any better…your “Resources” tab is chock full of handouts, guides, counselor tips, and lesson plans about all things financial aid / scholarships.
Print a Going Merry brochure to share with students, parents, other counselors and school officials. Review our FAFSA How-to Guide to answer student questions and guide them to the FAFSA form. Or watch a demo video of the Going Merry platform. Think of the “Resources” tab as your go-to page for additional information.
Invite your students to Going Merry (“Invite Students” tab)
You already have this one down since it’s linked on your homepage when you log in to your account. You can also invite students to sign up for a Going Merry student profile from this tab.
Highlight scholarships on your school website (“Scholarships Widget” tab)
Showcasing Going Merry scholarships on your school website is a great way to promote scholarship opportunities that students can be applying for right now. And we’ve made it SUPER easy to do this with our “scholarship widget” (basically, a continuously updating table!).
Select your school color to customize the widget, preview what the widget would look like on desktop and mobile, and then copy and paste the widget code to send to your school’s IT team. Your IT team will know how to add it to your website. (It’s literally copying and pasting into the website code.)
Update your account information
You can update your title, name, timezone, language, bio, photo, and login information at any time. Just click your account name in the top right corner of the screen and then click “Account Settings.”
Explore other online resources
If you have other questions, you can simply click the “Help” option to search for help articles in our knowledge base (or contact us directly at email@example.com). You can get to know the Going Merry team – our Merry Makers – with the “Team” option. Plus, you can check out our blog, a vital resource we regularly update for students, counselors, and scholarship providers.
Tip: If the sidebar crowds your computer screen, you can click the arrow in the top left corner to hide it.
Need the sidebar again? Just click the hamburger menu and it will reappear.
What does it look like for a student?
We’ve written this separate article (with lots of helpful screenshots too!) so you can also see what it looks like from the student’s point of view, from sign up through to scholarship application submission.
Ready to get started with Going Merry as a counselor?
OK, so you’ve seen the dashboard, step-by-step, from top to bottom. Now, it’s your turn! Take your dashboard for a spin so you can help students find and apply for scholarships. We’re all about making the scholarship application process easier for everyone involved, especially counselors like you. If you’re not signed up yet, you can register for your free counselor account here. Get started today to help set up your students for success.