Hamilton Gregg is the founder of International Educational Consulting and has worked in education since 1985. He helps students and their families understand their personal and educational needs and find the right school to meet their requirements. If you are a student or parent who would like to ask Gregg a question on our blog, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
About this time of the year, high school students start getting glossy, embossed letters from impressive sounding organizations like Who’s Who in High School or the National Leadership Program and many other interesting sounding programs, but beware!
While it’s nice to receive recognition for your work, most of these companies are offering something for a cost. The only cost for recognition should be something you have already spent time and hard work on achieving – school work. While most of these companies are legitimate, there is no reason to pay money for recognition.
Some programs actually do have some benefits. For example, National Leadership offers summer programs in medicine, international relations, and other programs, which can be rewarding. They often have interesting speakers and the chance to meet and participate with like-minded students from around the world. Though the programs are usually two weeks in length, they provide an insight into future studies and career opportunities.
The question is though, is it really worth the money? Generally no, it’s not worth it. Most colleges know that these organizations exist and for the most part want to learn about activities in which you have engaged and learned something from, not something you have paid for to gain “recognition.” And while it might be nice to say you are in Who’s Who in High School, in some ways it is an underachievement and not worth the money you will spend to be entered in their directory. By the way, once entered you may be opening yourself up to receive more of these great offers.
Sometimes it is important to weigh the advantages against the cost of joining one of these organizations. Ask yourself, does it make sense for me to pay or join? Who is really going to be interested? What is the value of paying? What am I really getting for my money? If it is just a name in a book that will collect dust, there is probably not much value. As mentioned earlier, if by joining you gain some educational experience that is both valuable and rewarding then you may want to consider it.
Colleges and universities value your hard work and the experience you gained from sound education. Recognition should be intrinsic to the experience, not necessarily something you paid for. So, read the fine print and if you are confused, ask your school counselor it the nomination is really worthwhile.