A Going Merry scholarship platform guide (with videos!) for high school counselors

In 2019,  NACAC (the National Association of College Admission Counseling) invited us to deliver an online demo of our scholarship platform.

So Going Merry co-founder and CEO Charlie Maynard led high school counselors through how the scholarship platform works and how it benefits counselors: “It’s one place where students can come and get matched with scholarships, and then apply directly to them,” Charlie said.

What is Going Merry?

Going Merry is a free service for students and high school counselors to find and apply for scholarships (with no redirects!).

Charlie shares that Going Merry began as a graduate research project at Stanford University, when he and his cofounder sought to simplify the scholarship application process.

“I was looking for scholarships for graduate school. I found the application process pretty broken,” Charlie said. “So we built this one-stop shop and we did a pilot with three high schools in the Bay area and found that those students were applying to 5 times as many scholarships using Going Merry as they had done with other sites in the past. That was a really exciting moment that led us to expanding our reach.”

Watch the full video of Charlie’s NACAC demo below, or jump to an interview with a fellow counselor talking about her experience with Going Merry.

Partnering with High Schools and Scholarship Providers

Going Merry now works with over 10,000 high schools to provide an easy scholarship application process for students and high school counselors.

Equally as important, the scholarship platform works with thousands of scholarship providers, such as the Rotary Club, Kiwanis International, Golden Door Scholars. Going Merry also partners with corporations such as Motorola, Hewlett Packett, and H&M to provide scholarships, as well as individual and local scholarships.

Unlike other services, Going Merry does NOT sell student data because the platform is instead funded by these large scholarship providers, as well as by colleges who want to list their financial aid offerings on our website.

Counselors love Going Merry

Over the years, counselors have stopped by our NACAC booth, sent us wonderful emails, or sat down to video interviews to explain how much they value Going Merry. Here’s just what a handful of them have had to say:

Stacey Nielsen and Shelley Gerringer - College Admissions Counselors for high school students | Scholarship platform demo

“You’re the solution we never knew we needed.” 

Stacey Nielson and Shelley Gerringer, counselors in Wentzville School District, Missouri

KIPP Bay Area on Going Merry

And here’s KIPP Bay Area’s Director of College Counseling, Shannon Harrison, on her experience with the scholarship platform (transcript below):

KIPP Bay Area’s Director of College Counseling, Shannon Harrison, on her experience with the Going Merry scholarship platform .

The scholarship slog, before Going Merry

Q: What have you used for finding scholarships in the past?

“In the past, it’s really been hit or miss. It’s been very student-driven, where only kids who were motivated to do it, would just take it upon themselves to do it. They’re using the massive search engines that bring back everything, that aren’t super well-filtered. Students aren’t really well versed in how to pick through those for quality scholarships, and so our success rate and application rate have been very low.”

Q: From a high school counselor’s perspective, how have you known what the students are doing?

“I’d say that’s also really hit or miss. If a kid is really communicative, then of course, we would help them in any way we could. If a kid won a scholarship, they might tell us. [But] if they’re not telling us, we don’t know.”

“[And] chances are, [students aren’t really applying much on their own.] They have homework, they’re applying to college, they’ve got a lot of things going on. So they’re just applying to these things on a whim, usually.”

“We definitely weren’t using any kind of unified platform that would allow us to peak into what they were doing and see their progress. we were just notified based on.”

How Going Merry made scholarships easy

This part of the interview begins at 1 minute, 28 seconds:

Q: What was it like using Going Merry?

“I definitely saw a jump in terms of the amount our students were using it, the ease in which the counselors were using it. The whole process was just really user-friendly for students, so they were utilizing it a lot more than we’ve ever seen [them utilize] any other platform,[related to] scholarships or not.”

Q: What did the students say about it?

“The students were really happy that it was so condensed into one platform. I think they really enjoyed the fact that they could put information in [once] and it would be transferred over to [all their] different [scholarship] applications. It took out a lot of the monotony and the tedious work [out of] the scholarship process. So they definitely liked that.”

“The interface was very user-friendly as well, and so they were really able to navigate it on their own without much help, which our kids really liked. They felt in control, that they had agency.”

Q: How did you and the other counselors find it?

“It was the easiest platform we’ve come in contact with, whether it was scholarship related or not. The counselors loved it. It was something that they could easily implement, right away with their students. There wasn’t a huge learning curve for them. The kids took it upon themselves really quickly, and I think that just helped the counselors feel more confident in the platform itself.

Being able to track students’ progress with the tool was definitely a help for the counselors. It helps counselors hold students accountable, but it also helped them feel reassured that everything was going okay, and that their students were using class time appropriately. They were also able to make sure that students were holding up their end of the bargain, whenever they were told to go do something. [Counselors] could follow up and make sure that the kids were doing what they needed to do.”

“Do it. Do it right away… It’s going to make your life easier.”

This last part of the interview starts at 3 minutes, 20 seconds:

Q: What would you say to any high school guidance counselors considering using Going Merry?

“I would say, don’t hesitate – do it! Do it right away. It’s definitely going to make your life easier and your students’ lives easier.

I think it was a great learning process for not only our counselors to see how easy it can be to help students find money, but also for students to apply to scholarships. [We trained students] on what do you say, when do you say it, how simple it can be to replicate applications. And so, it’s definitely a great tool to use, and it’s been an amazing experience for us.”

Want to help your students apply for scholarships faster? 

Join Going Merry as a counselor, and then invite your students to the scholarship platform.

You can also lead a college readiness lesson, all about scholarships. Check out our ready-made scholarships lesson plans here.

Charlotte Lau

Charlotte remembers the anxiety of college application time, trying to get into a good university and then finding enough funds to pay for it. She joined Going Merry as Head of Growth, to help make that college process a little less stressful. Charlotte holds a BA from Stanford and a MPP from Oxford—degrees both funded by scholarships. For several years, she also tutored academic writing and edited college/fellowship applications, as a side hustle.

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