So your child has received their National Society of High School Scholars acceptance letter. Surely, it’s time to open a bottle of champagne and pat yourself on the back; you’ve raised a marvelous kid, and someone has noticed it!
Yet, here’s the issue — is NSHSS a scam or not? There could be something fishy going on, especially if your child hasn’t done anything to deserve the honor.
Is NSHSS a Scam, or Is the Invitation the Real Deal?
Let’s make one thing clear right now — the National Society of High School Scholars is an organization, or rather, a company that charges students for membership. As such, the letter is nothing more than a marketing ploy most parents fall for.
At first glance, getting an NSHSS acceptance letter seems quite prestigious. Most of you have probably heard other parents boast about it on more than one occasion. However, in reality, this letter is a clever marketing trick that makes you believe your kid is more important and better than some other children.
In essence, this “acceptance” letter is not truly an honor. It’s not based on any real achievements. Most students get them, and the only reason it still exists is that most of them take the bait.
Will the Letter Help Someone Get Into College?
Is NSHSS a scam that could pass as an honor and give your child the necessary advantage when applying for college? Unfortunately, no.
Just because you weren’t aware that NSHSS is a scam, that doesn’t mean the whole academic society isn’t. Higher institutions already know about this annual Who’s Who of American High School Students letter and definitely don’t see it as a plus.
In fact, if someone does write that they got accepted to NSHSS in their college application or resume, they will be seen as a fool. They’ve fallen for a scam most people already know about, which doesn’t bode well with colleges looking for the brightest minds of today.
The admissions committee actually wants to see what your child has done so far in their academic career. They care about how they’ve helped change the world — not if they’ve paid to be recognized as an important figure by some shady organization. Thus, they ought to avoid even mentioning NSHSS in their application. They really shouldn’t risk it!
What Is the Point of This Letter Anyway?
Other than money, there isn’t another reason the organization sends out these letters each year. It’s all a marketing scheme that is supposed to dazzle you with gold seals and a fancy letterhead. The idea behind it is to make the students feel incredible, talented, and above all — important.
And that’s why many do take the bait and pay for a ridiculous fee. The company feeds off the parents’ hopes and fears because they know every parent wants only the best for their children. In reality, the award or honor is just a sales pitch.
NSHSS Benefits and Promises
Now, you might be thinking — if NSHSS is a scam, then what makes people truly fall for it? As it turns out, it all comes down to the promises and benefits the organization offers to potential members.
Is NSHSS a scam, or are just the promises false? You should take everything you get in that acceptance letter and what you read on the website with a HUGE grain of salt. The organization basically offers things future students can easily get themselves.
For example, if your child wants a scholarship or is looking to participate in a conference, they can google those things and figure out who to talk to. There’s no need to pay $75 for someone to do it for them.
In any case, there’s a slim chance the organization will even do anything since they’ve already lied at the beginning. If it’s truly an honor to be a member of NSHSS, why is your child paying for it?
As Told By Other People: Is NSHSS a Scam of a Lifetime?
There’s one issue with explaining to others why NSHSS is a scam — many have already fallen for it and don’t want to seem naive. They have paid for the membership and are expecting to use all those benefits, even though there’s a fair chance they can get all of that for free.
That’s why you really should take into account WHO you’re talking to about NSHSS. Most parents are too busy to actually consider the fact that someone is trying to scam them. Others are just waiting for an opportunity to boast about their child’s achievements — even if they are fake overall.
So, if you still aren’t sure whether NSHSS is the real deal, ask the people who matter what they think. College admissions consultants with years of experience will probably roll their eyes at you as soon as you utter the words ‘Is NSHSS a scam.’ They are probably asked the same question every year by those who know it’s impossible for their children to get such an “honor” for a variety of reasons.
On the other hand, you may even run into people who don’t even know what NSHSS is — which shouldn’t surprise you at all at this point. If it weren’t a scam, everyone would be trying to get an acceptance letter.
Warning Signs an Honor or Award is a Total Scam
Although you’d think most companies have given up on these sorts of scams, students and their parents can be quite gullible. Therefore, before believing an email or a letter that talks about the achievements of your child, go through this checklist to determine if it’s legitimate at all:
Is There a Reason They Are Getting This Honor/Award?
If your kid hasn’t done anything too important recently, such as competed at something or written an incredible essay, you should wonder why they are even being honored.
Does the Honor Involve a Fee?
By all means, if you have to pay a lot of money for an honor or a reward, know that it’s most likely a colossal scam. Of course, some national organizations may need you to pay a registration fee. However, even with those, there’s usually a local chapter representative you can ask for more information.
Is It Brought By a Renowned Organization?
As mentioned, most people don’t even know what NSHSS is, so anything the organization sends you could be a marketing ploy and scam. Therefore, if you receive something from an unknown organization, do check the National Association of Secondary Principals list of programs. These offer actual academic value and have proven to be legitimate.
Do You Know Anyone Else Who Has Received the Same Honor?
The whole point behind getting an exclusive honor or award is just that — exclusivity. If most of the students in your child’s class have received it, then it’s not that prestigious. Most likely, it’s a scam everyone fell for.
So, is NSHSS a scam? Ask anyone with higher education experience, and you’ll get the same answer — YES. Paying for an honor is never a good sign, but alas, some people do fall for it.
The important thing is to think for yourself and pay attention to the warning signs. If it seems too good to be true and requires you to pay for it — it probably is.
Most students are quite anxious when it comes to college applications anyway, which is why they might think of NSHSS as a fantastic confidence boost. Let it be just that if they need some extra reassurance. However, under no circumstances should you send the organization money. Most importantly, future college students should avoid mentioning NSHSS in their applications — it won’t help them at all.