A Dose of Opinion

National Society of High School Scholars: Ripping-off Teenagers

July 26, 2020

As a fourteen year old high school student, going into a university is something that is on the horizon within the next few years. As a result, it is important to begin preparing for standardized tests, to explore colleges, and to search for various scholarships and programs that I may be eligible to apply for. One of these such programs is called the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS, not to be confused with National Honor Society (NHS)), who claimed to be a distinguished program. If you do a little bit of research, the program is cofounded by Claes Nobel: the nephew of Alfred Nobel, and makes you excited that you are eligible for a prestigious program that would boost your college admissions. I have received various emails beginning in 9th grade from this program inviting me to join by making it seem professional, using an envelope with sealed wax, in addition to using an appealing online animated invitation, which makes you feel exclusive. However, I would argue that if you were to actually sign up, you would get ripped out of your money, as the program is illegitimate, and does not even aid you into getting into a university.

The biggest problem with the program is that the program is a business, and you actually have to pay money for entry into the program, a flat fee of 75 dollars. One should never have to pay money to get into a program, as true distinction is worked for, not paid for. The benefits of the program include: access to scholarships, college fairs, discounts for standardized test preparation, and a network to peers that also participate in NSHSS. If we pretend that entry into the program was free, a participant wouldn’t benefit with many perks, but at least you didn’t get scammed. However, given the fee of 75 dollars, this society isn’t worth wasting your money for, since there are many ways of receiving the same perks without having to enter NSHSS.

I feel as though using the word “scam” to describe this program is a bit harsh: if someone was naive enough to join, the benefits they receive were technically exactly as advertised. In my opinion, scamming someone would be taking their money and completely running off with it, giving absolutely nothing in return. Therefore, the word “ripoff” is a better term, defined as “a fraud or swindle, especially something that is grossly overpriced”s. In this case, paying any sort of money to gain entry would be overpriced, but it was not a “dishonest scheme”, which is how scam is defined.

You can easily find ways to search for the above mentioned benefits without NSHSS.

Even though this program claims to be distinguished, its requirements are quite low, as you only need one of the following to gain admission into the program, according to the official NSHSS website. Don’t be fooled by the long list of requirements, once again only one of the eight total requirements are required for entry, and the 1000 plus point scores on the standardized test is much easier to obtain than it might seem. Even then, given that the organization is for-profit, and has to make money to stay alive as a business, it is possible that the standards are even lower.

NSHSS Requirements
These NSHSS Requirements were found here

Any decent student could easily surpass these requirements. According to the College Board, the company that administers the PSATs and SATs, a score of 1280 on the SATs puts you in the 84th percentile, while a score of 1150 on the PSATs puts you in the 74th percentile. If you actually take time to study for the test, you can easily pass these benchmarks with ease, since the bottom 50 percent probably didn’t study for the test and took it just once to get it over with. The fact that only one of these requirements are necessary for admissions into the program is another red flag that really shows that the NSHSS is not worth joining. As a result of this lack of competition with almost 2 million total members, joining NSHSS won’t increase your chance of gaining admission into your prestigious reach colleges, as colleges are aware of this program, and the program won’t boost your resume.

Despite the numerous red flags that make the program sketchy and a ripoff, people are still falling for its traps, and paying money for the essentially useless experience. Parents and children who might think the program is NHS will pay for the fee because they think it would be the best for their child. NSHSS makes the experience seem legitimate by advertising the handful of success stories that might occur for 1% of the people in the program, while the 99% gain absolutely nothing, but lose 75 dollars. Students and parents are hopeful to be part of the one percent, but once again, the chance of benefiting is next to zero, and you are better off spending 75 dollars on something else that will actually benefit your chances in pursuing your dream.