Scholar society NSHSS provides students no real benefits


National Society of High School Scholars

The National Society of High School Scholars charges students a 5 membership fee but provides few benefits.

By Kiki Soto, Henry W. Grady High School

The National Society of High School Scholars is a scam.

There are 76 complaints alone on Better Business Bureau calling out the organization NSHSS.

NSHSS is a for-profit organization that established in 2002. The NSHSS website lists membership services, but these services are available to anyone, without paying a fee.

One of the main motives for students to join organizations like NSHSS is to boost their resumes, but an organization so transparently a scam has to be noticed by colleges at this point.

Georgia College admissions counselor Javier Francisco said that organizations like NSHSS do not have any weight in their admissions process.

“If they are asking you to pay for something, it is probably a scam,” Francisco said. “We go through credible sources like College Board, not NSHSS.”

If you are a high school student, chances are you received a letter in the mail with fancy lettering and a gold seal, inviting you to join the National Society of High School Scholars, an organization based in Atlanta. Its acronym is NSHSS, a little like the very distinguished and highly regarded National Honor Society (NHS).

At first, you may feel accomplished to be invited to join the “prestigious organization.” However, the feeling fades when all your friends received the same cream-colored envelope in the mail.

It seems that invitations are sent out regardless of achievements. Some members report receiving another invitation after they already joined and paid the membership fee.

In order to join the NSHSS, there is a $75 membership fee, that guarantees a lifetime with the organization.

The organization advertises that, in return, students will gain access to scholarship opportunities and exclusive events at different college campuses. High schoolers also have the opportunity to become ambassadors for the organization.

However, students and parents should realize the scholarship opportunities allegedly provided by NSHSS do not require a fee to apply.

Companies like NSHSS know that they are playing a very fearful and hopeful group: stressed parents. The college admissions process can be stressful enough itself, and parents may see this invitation and automatically pay the fee to make their child seem, well, scholarly.

Unfortunately, these “awards” are no more than a purchased database of high school names and addresses looking to sell their accolades.

NSHSS was established in 2002 by Claes Nobel and James Lewis to continue the Nobel family legacy of recognizing and rewarding excellence.

The NSHSS website claims there are requirements to nominate a student, but in actuality, only one requirement on the long list is necessary to be nominated. NSHSS recognizes young scholars who have demonstrated excellence through their academic achievements based on objective criteria, including grades and test scores.

These characteristics include: 3.5 Cumulative GPA (4.0 Scale) or higher (or equivalent such as 88 on a 100-point scale), 1280 SAT score or higher, 1150 PSAT score or higher, 26 ACT score or higher, Score 4 or higher on an AP exam, total combined IB test scores of 36 or higher, IGCSE Grade A or higher, or rank in the top 10 percent in the class.

However, due to grade inflation and the statistics of high school students today, these requirements are not scholarly. In fact, Pendleton High School in Oregon does not recognize NSHSS or allow its students to wear cords from it at graduation.

The National Society of High School Scholars is a scam that takes advantage of students and parents through accepting money and not actually giving anything in return. Parents and students should remain cautious of bogus organizations that are taking advantage of fearful attitudes in the college admissions process.

This story was originally published on The Southerner on November 18, 2019.