Is NSHSS (National Society of High School Scholars) a Scam or a Real Award?

We received a letter from the high school that our daughter is eligible for a membership in NSHSS (National Society of High School Scholars). Is this worth the money? Should we do it?

NSHSS Wants Legal Action

I’ve received multiple letters from the NSHSS legal team expressing their displeasure with this article and threatening legal action. They want me to remove this post. While I’d love to stand on principle, I am a solo-practitioner and don’t have the time or money to fight this legal battle. But I also don’t want NSHSS to bully me into removing any sign of criticism.

I Wouldn’t Pay for It

I am a parent. When we received the NSHSS paperwork at my home, it went straight in the trash. I do not believe it is worth the money. I do not view it as a significant achievement that would help either of my children. I think this makes my position on the issue pretty clear.

What You Don’t See

Because I’m removing the original article on this post, I am also going to remove the comments. (NSHSS specifically mentions the comments in their legal correspondence.) You will no see the stories of parents and students who regretted signing up. You will not hear from educators who suggest so many more meaningful ways for students to earn recognition. But ask yourself, “What was in these comments that sparked NSHSS to send this small blog multiple letters threatening legal action?” Scroll down and take a moment to consider what you don’t see. Hopefully you can now answer the question of whether this program is worth the money for yourself.]]>

is NSHSS a scam, scams, Who's Who

Comments (115)

  • Thank you for this information. My daughter received this invitation and i was a little suspicious. At first i thought it was from the National Honor Society but i know that would come directly from her school. I was really close to putting that bumper sticker on my car until i read your email so thank you!

    • Me Too!! Not the bumper sticker part but I was on the site, because my daughter said it was the “last day” to join, putting in my information, getting ready to create a password when my common sense kicked in and I thought – better look this up! So glad that I did!! She was disappointed but I was not surprised. Glad I found this site!!

  • Thank you so much for this information. We almost paid the membership fee. So glad my husband checked first if it was legit or scam.

    • This is a bit late, but that program is a scam as well. I know many people who received that offer. Leadership programs are great, but if you are going to attend, you can find a cheaper, better one pretty easily.

  • My granddaughter received this invitation yesterday. I am so glad that I did go on line to find out if it’s legitimate or a scam. I am also glad that I read comments from others. We all love to feel that our children are scholars. My husband and I are retired and very careful that we spend our money wisely. Than you for your input

  • Wow…almost. I was on the payment page, before I decided to do further research. The reviews were confusing. Helpful information. Thank you very much.

    • Thx so much for the info, I’ve been debating whether or not to pay for this, I now know I’m better off without it

  • We paid before we did any research and I am still on the fence if it will be beneficial. My DD got an email from them asking her to participate in a CIA Stem Camp. I have been doing a LOT of research to see if this is legitimate but can’t find anything. I am not putting her on a bus in a parking lot without me. Do you know if this is legitimate? Thank you for any help you can give because she really wants to do this.

    • I am a rising junior going into stem and I suggest letting her do this. She can put it on a resume for internships (I suggest putting the event, not the organization on anything. It’s one thing to actually go to events vs just paying into an org.) Shes 16, 17, or 18? She will be off soon anyways. It seems to be two days. Ask her if she has any friends that are going to the camp that she can stick with. Advise her to make friends quickly if not, preferably with a female who she can go to the bathroom, shop, and room with. Safety is in buddies. If you are really concerned, email the directors (or call them, for better assurance that they’ll get back to you) It would be fun for her I think. You can also send a family member or a family friend (preferably female) to go with her. (I say preferably female because as a 16-20 year old shes at her most vulnerable point so safety first, the stats show and can save lives) Let her explore the world, and her future career. I’m still just a 16 yr old though, so this is just my plans if I have a daughter later on.

    • The National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists is actually not a scam. I went to that and it had the best information there, but I went for the Future Medical Leaders and Physicians. One the last day there was a live surgery, that was cool. They give you a plaque, fee waivers and the best learning opportunities. If you can’t pay, they will whatever they can to help you join. Also, there are about only 120 kids there at the event, so it was prestigious and you could meet some of the Nobel Peace Prize winners. If you think it is a scam, next time, call the number provided and ask them a lot of questions. I mean a lot! That is what I did.

    • Annette,
      I am a 10th grader and I just received my invitation, did you pay the fee? If not, why not? I am in desperate of answers, so please get back to me. Thank you.

  • They literally send them out to everyone!!!!
    My friend’s son received one last year and he FAILED A COURSE AND HAD TO ATTEND SUMMER SCHOOL LAST YEAR!!! We were cracking up when that actually came in the mail addressed so “officially” to him!!!!! LMAO!!!

      • It is hilarious. This is such a money grabbing scam that they send these emails to every student they can find.

        • I think that it’s nice that everybody can get a chance to feel like they have a chance because the prestigious groups surely don’t. If you have the money for it I say spend it.

          • I’m keep reading and reading that everyone gets this letter and that’s not true my Daughter received it and she told all her friends and they posted it on social media and it got reposted several times and just one other kid in their school got the letter and after the posts being up for a while a friend of mine saw it and told me her son got the letter and they asked the school Director about it and they asked the student body about receiving the letter and only he received it out of the school, so my suggestion to anyone who receives the letter is to first try to find out how many other people got it and then search the web and specially the BBB they are a neutral source of information, and I just wanted to add that we didn’t send in the money and not because we thought it was a scam, always in life guys learn n to make your own decisions like in politics, religion, social issues and most importantly; your lives! May Your Higher Power Bless You!!!!!

  • I got a letter saying the samething except it had a lot more private info such as my scholarship info, SAT score and GPA to the dot. It also says it is free. So I am very confused and worried.

  • I did find a list of criteria in order to be invited. My son has struggled all through junior high. This was his 9th grade year and he pulled out an unweighted GPA of 3.58 with one honors class!! I dont care about the money! I care that my sons hard work was recognized! He’s so proud of that and no doubt will strive for even better next year. And btw we live in a small town. Maybe 3000 people and I have heard of no one else that recieved one, and trust me every mom in town would be all over Facebook and every car in the drop off sporting that sticker. If $60 isn’t worth a possible even $1000, or $5000 oh and not required.. how is that not a worthwhile investment. I’d pay 10 times that to be able to prove what he did was outstanding by more than just moms standards even if he wins zero scholarship. But if he is awarded even $500 that’s obviously worth it. Besides if this makes him strive for even better I wont be dependent on their scholarship money anyway. I have no doubt with sustained high academic performance winning scholarship wont be an issue. And if it gives him the pride and confidence to get their I’d pay $1060!! They do have criteria so instead of sitting down and researching for any possible negatives which so far has been investment versus value let them have there moment!! And my kid worked his butt off for that GPA so he earned that media recognition! One more thing to make him motivated, confident and proud! After his struggles hell yeah I’d pay $60 to have him recognized because he deserves it. I’m not buying him media attention hes getting the attention he should have but other wise eoukf would not and that Is a flaw with media. I’m aghast at some of the things I’ve heard! Am I the only one who cares more about what it does for my childs confident and dedication to do even better above what I may gain from it and whether its worth my measly $60 bucks. Shameful the day any recognition is judged based on what you stand to gain.

    • If you made it to here in the comments… ^^ wow that was pretty wild, right? The things you read on a college prep website XD

    • While recognizing ones achievements is fantastic, and doing so is up to the individual, I think the point of the article is merely to inform that paying the money will not benefit you as much as it first appears, at least not for certain. Have you ever considered that some may not have an extra $60 to spend on this? I’m sure struggling families have paid money that they did not have because they were under the notion that it would have a tremendous affect on a resume when it does not . You may think that the money is nothing, but you are completely ignorant to others problems. Not everyone is able to purchase recognition or payola for themselves, Andrea.

  • I don’t think it’s a scam it kinda sounds silly. Listen I am a rising junior and did a lot of deep research on this. Many people think it is a scam because they feel like everyone is getting it out of nowhere and so they start assuming. If you look on the website your school actually nominates you in order for you to be invited. That’s how they know your address. Come on people read the website. They don’t know you, your school, or address unless the school allows them too or else it’s crazy. Number two, it’s a private organization it’s not very exclusive and that’s where people get it wrong and miss the opportunity. So before you go around looking at everyone else’s opinion do a little more research yourself look at the website use common sense because it’s an actual program. Look at the YouTube channel. It’s a huge program. I almost rejected it when I heard people claiming it was a “scam” but these people did not actually take the time to look at it. Plus it’s a one time fee I know plenty of other programs that cost a fee. Also I watched their videos and they actually have conversations with a room full of children and they give out awards. They also have a college tours at the Ivy League!!!! On July 29 to August fourth!!! And you wonder why it costs money. I’m not missing this opportunity because now I know what this society is all about. People think it’s a scam because others are claiming it’s a scam.

    • Lots of deep research based on your 10th-grade education…?!?!. Nominated by your school? Find out who nominated you. Contact a college admissions office and ask what they think.

      • I know a young man in the eighth grade that has an intelligence ratio of 182 and has the social aptitude to go with that it and presents himself in a more dignified manner than most adults I see, so what makes you think that you or I can do a better job at researching it (the society) than she did, I’m 50 years old by the way and I don’t underestimate young people nowadays.

    • Your school nominates? Guess what, schools can nominate anyone without looking at accomplishments. Schools aren’t as ‘for the children’ as you think. If you search online, you’ll see teachers and even students talking about this. Schools mostly go for money and how the school looks, not the student’s accomplishments. They most likely just nominated everyone in the school without much thought, and that’s why a straight A student and a failing student both get the same invitations. I’ve checked, schools just give out names and addresses to any ‘society’. It isn’t restricted access schools carefully give out. Any scam can find a student’s name and address and send an invitation asking for money for some membership.

    • I agree with you a 100% . I am not letting no one on this site discourage me. Is sad that you all want do your on investigation you just go by hear say or what other people experienced. This is legit my daughter was nominated by 3 of her teachers and i took the letter to the counselor and had a conference with her teacher who nominated her. With me going through financial hardship the school paid for my daughte membership. This is not a scam. If you join any club at school there is a membership fee. And joining the National High school Honor Society at your child school you still have to pay a fee. Just because you never heard of it doesn’t mean its a scam. Maybe you need to ask yourself was that teacher who nominated your child being petty or making a joke of your child. People just go to the site and read or call the number they have posted. This program is also recognized by the governor of your state. Do your research people.

  • A friend of a friend whose child received an award letter from this organization asked me what it was; I had never heard of it and I went on line to learn something about it. In my mind, I was
    thinking “Elitism…probably CIA”–naughty me! I had trouble finding exactly what the award was that the letter represented, but the first thing I found was a quoted passage from a speech the founder of this group gave in which he mentioned that students such as recognized by this award would be instrumental in carrying out Agenda 2030. Now, for anyone reading this who has not heard of that, I want to say that is huge cause for suspicion. If you haven’t heard of that, go to You Tube and have a look at any number of presentations describing Agenda 2030 (or Agenda 21). And after that, the more I saw the more dodgy this thing looked.

  • Hate to tell you but this is not a scam. I am currently a highschool student and I received one. And my guidance counselor told me it’s legitimate

  • My GPA was around a 2.5 when I got my letter so I knew something was fishy from the start also the fact it give you “lifetime membership” for paying proves it’s a scam. Most honors societys don’t give you a “lifetime” membership and require you to keep your grades up. It’s a scam I was no honors student in school but still got this.

  • I received this letter as well. I ended up paying the fee and I bought a shirt, ropes, a pin, and a certificate on their website. In the end, I didn’t get what I paid for and lost my money. I do get offers about scholarships through them via email, but at this point, I wouldn’t even trust them.

  • We did do this for my daughter who is now a Junior at Oglethorpe University. It has worked out well for her. She gets $1000 per semester of scholarship money for being a member. Not sure if this is just for small liberal arts schools or what but it was well worth the $75 paid.

  • i am not smart when it comes to math i am going to be honest its my worst subject ever in all my school history i have great chemistry with the teachers its like after i meet them we have a bond and i hope if i choose this college that i have the same success as i have had in school English and history happen to be my favorite subjects and i have some experience as part of a NJROTC Unit here at Saint Stephens High school in Hickory North Carolina the NJROTC Unit here helps discipline and show u early military style and get a background of what u may do in the military.

    • Based on your lack of grammar – as well as many spelling errors – the point is proven that this is a scam and is sent to many students, some more qualified than others.

  • I am VERY glad I was wary enough to do a Google search of this organization…thank you all for your input and opinions. My daughter, (a senior who has already gotten into her fist school of choice), received this invitation twice, thus far. I was thinking, ok…anything that can help with school costs. There are literally thousands of outside scholarships out there, with no cost to apply. There are also a bunch I’ve run into, that turn out to be “buy this…fill out this survey to get money”…etc. I am not wealthy. Of course looking into every possible way to make this more affordable. Any REAL input and suggestions are GREATLY appreciated!

  • They are just trying to get your $$
    I paid for my sons membership in 2017, got a certificate with my name on it ( his mom). Complained,nothing was done, no new certificate no money back. Now in 2019, complained again. Still no money back. They are noe offering a new certificate. My son is half way through college. Its a scam. Dont waste your $

  • As Megan said, this isn’t technically a scam. But, it is not an exclusive club or organization.
    Does the organization have activities, camps, get-togethers? Yes, and they may be beneficial. But they are not exclusive or show any level of achievement or honors.
    Does the organization award scholarships? Yes. But is it worth it to pay the fee to join this organization just for a chance at a scholarship? That’s up to you. The fees that everyone pays to join the organization are used to pay these small scholarships.
    If the organization was called “Bob’s Group of Really Smart People”, would you join?
    BGRSP only costs $100 to join. They offer camps, conferences, and get-togethers that are really nice. BGRSP also gives away $1000-$5000 scholarships to some of it’s members.
    I might join BGRSP for the conferences and the chance to get a small scholarship, but I wouldn’t put “Proud Member of BGRSP” on my college application or job resume.
    You will also find, later in your career, the opportunity to join a “Who’s Who” publication.
    You will receive this honor many times throughout your life.
    You can be listed as a prestigious member of “Who’s Who”, for a small fee.
    For this small fee, your personal information will be printed and published in this glorious tome. But only a few million people are given this chance.

  • I received a letter today and immediately threw it out. I failed 2 classes my sophomore year and barley passed my classes in freshman year coming out of a charter school. This is my Junior year and I’m returning to a regular High school and frankly if it’s really that prestigious and given to the people who have earned it why would they mail it to me, the person who failed chem, pre cal, and almost failed algebra and Physics? I wouldn’t pay to join some society that won’t help me in the long run, especially if it’s lying about how elite it is.

  • My son just got the letter that is mentioned. We got excited for a few minutes until I went on their webpage. My son does very well in his honors courses, so I thought this was legit. Shame on companies like this that make someone think they’re special to be disappointed. How do they get people’s information and addresses. I think personal information needs to be private. I’m sure it was my son’s private high school that leak our address. This is totally BS! I’m glad I read these blogs. You just saved many people from falling for a scam.

  • Annette,
    I am a 10th grader and I just received my invitation, did you pay the fee? If not, why not? I am in desperate of answers, so please get back to me. Thank you.

  • Thank you for the information. I too know this is just a business. “Hey, we will print your name in a book if you will buy it!”
    The problem is that students and parents are both vain and desperate when it comes to college admissions. Everyone wants to believe and try to impress. I told my daughter it was a scam, but showing her your page helped her see the truth.

  • What a joke. They change the name a bit and send on fancy letterhead to make you think it’s real. I bet 2 to 3 out of every 10 pay the fee. I almost did and then realized it was a scam. They are preying on people’s pride and desire to be recognized. I think they should be sued

  • Im going to be a senior this year. I recently got my ‘invite’ a few days ago and was curious as to if i should accept it. My family doesnt have the money to pay the fee, but the letter, or one of the other papers, said that they didnt want people to not be able to accept based on money and that there was an option for families to not have to pay it if they couldnt afford it-or something along the lines of that. I am curious as to if anyone knows if this aspect of it is legit. I may end up accepting it if it is?

  • Hello all!
    I have gone through and read everyone’s responses, but it still has not helped me to make a decision regarding this organization. I am going into my senior year, and this is the second time that I am receiving an invitation to join. I do not think that everyone gets an invite (as some of you have mentioned), because no one else that I have spoken to has received the same letter in the mail as me. So, should I do it? Is it worth it? Is this not a scam? How beneficial is it, to those of you who have been a part of it already?
    Thank you! Any response would help 🙂

  • I just wanted to thank you. I am an incoming junior in highschool and recieved one of these letters. It seemed a bit off after I checked what was needed to become a member. My family is low on money so I had to do a back up check to see if it was really worth the money, thankfully I stumbled upon this article. Once thank you very much.

  • What I want to know is HOW they got my kids’ information? Does the school sell it?? Or is it from standardized testing companies like SAT/ACT?? Because I have a problem with that. In elementary school, one of the counselors gave my daughter’s information to a company like this and I was appalled! It is just pure marketing and the school should not be providing ANY information to anyone about your kids.

  • Thank you! I just checked the mail and I was suspicious that my child received a letter with no return address. When I saw the $75 ‘ entrance fee’ my skepticicism drove me to Google. This article was the first result and I am extremely thankful for the time and money saved by coming here.

  • Let me guess. You also have a Who’s Who in Business plaque hanging on your wall along with the book that everybody else paid $75 to get.

  • Me and my dad joined it before we realized it was a scam. We already paid the $75. We are wondering if they will take anymore money from us?

    • I did the same mistake. Do you know if we can cancel the membership fee and get our money back???

  • Thank you so much for posting this. I actually am an accomplished student, so there was no smoking gun that this was a scam. I am going into my sophomore year. I am furious that they sent me this letter, especially since my family doesn’t have that much money. I hope the government does something about this.

  • My mom and I JUST made the mistake of purchasing the membership fee before doing our research. Is there a way where we can cancel our membership fee and get our money back??

  • Right, I get all of this – but can I put the “I’m the Proud parent of…” bumper sticker on my car even if I don’t join?

  • Well I live in Georgia so Im going to stop by they office on Monday which will be July 29th 2019 today in Sunday July 28th 2019 and I’ll let you guys know.

  • My daughter has received the letter in the mail and I keep getting emails encouraging her to join. I dont know if there is ever a “last day to join” because that so called day came and went AND I’m STILL getting emails trying to persuade me to have her join… per scam.. please do not waste your money!

  • Some people like to use every opportunity for research and to get into colleges, just because you have to pay $75 to join doesn’t mean it’s a scam. I got an award for my GPA and I didn’t have to do anything but have a 3.5, I didn’t have to pay to receive the award or anything. And on top of that they give pretty weighty scholarships. So personally I feel that it’s worth it because at least they keep in touch with you and let you know of what’s coming up, at my school and most college websites you have to search for the information.

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