Many high school students have received a congratulations letter in the mail indicating they are invited to join the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). With the letter of acceptance, the student is able to join the organization using a code and by agreeing to pay a one time membership fee. Many students, or their parents, respond by immediately tossing the letter into the trash or recycling bin without giving it a second thought. The assumption is any organization asking for membership dues cannot be a legitimate group, and therefore it is a scam. But is it really a scam, or are their benefits of joining the organization? In order to answer this question, it is important to first understand what the organization is, the requirements for membership, as well as any potential benefits for joining.
What is the NSHSS?
The NSHSS is an honor’s society established in 2002 by Claes Nobel and James Lewis. Both of these individuals have a significant connection to well known honor societies and accolades, including the Nobel Peace Prize and the Golden Key International Honor Society. Currently there are a number of notable members in the field of academia who serve on the board of directors, which should be taken into consideration when determining if the organization is legit or not.
Requirements for Membership
For many, there may be the assumption that this agency sends out these letters in an attempt to solicit students to pay the membership dues. While there are a large number of these letters which are not responded to by high school students, the letters are actually only sent out to those students who have met specific GPA of at least 3.5/4.0 and standardized test scores for consideration. The test score requirements include at least one or more of the following:
- SAT score of 1750 or higher, and/or
- ACT score of 26 or higher, and/or
- PSAT score of 200 or higher.
With that being said, there is some dispute about how reliable the use of GPA or standardized test scores are to determine which students are most likely to succeed in higher education.
Benefits of Membership
There are a number of benefits of joining the NSHSS. One of these benefits is the ability to be associated with the NSHSS on college applications, job applications, as well as scholarship applications. While this may not sound like much, listing this on an application may very well be the deciding factor in some cases if a person is looking to decide between two different applicants. Another benefit is the ability for members to have access to potential scholarships, international study programs, and internship programs available only to NSHSS members. While this is not a guarantee of being awarded these opportunities, it does make an additional number of possibilities available that are only possible through membership. Lastly, membership allows for discounts on a number of different academic products. Many of these are necessary for preparation for college, and can be pricey for students. The ability to save on these products are a plus. With all of that being said, it really comes down to whether or not the individual student or their family sees these benefits as outweighing the one time $75 lifetime membership fee.