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Friday, May 11, 2007

Today's Mailbag...

The other day I received this invitation from The National Scholars Honor Society.

I have to be honest with you guys...

I felt a sense of ~pride~ wash over me.

In fact, I felt my head starting to swell a bit.

I think that is what brought me back to earth. An emotional chord had been struck.

And I am ashamed to say, it was struck fairly easily.

When I pulled my a**...


What I meant to say is that when I pulled my head out of the clouds I seriously began thinking about this opportunity and the consequences that it could present.

So, I decided that I would see what would happen if I "applied" for membership.

I went online to their website at www.collegehonors.org.

I was wanting to see how they compared to other vanity type opportunities such as Metropolitan Who's Who, Cambridge Who's Who, et.al.

There was a section provided for me to write in my "accomplishments", biography, and all of that stuff.

All I did was put in a ~one liner~.

This is what I put in the little box:

Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges

I don't remember how long it was before I received an e-mail reply.

(Time just seems to get away from me.)

I had planned on writing a post about all of this as well as portions of the e-mail, but I got busy again and put it on the back burner.

Well today I received another e-mail from them. So that gave me the impetus to write the post.

The e-mail states (bold is my emphasis):

Thank you for your interest in The National Scholars Honor Society. The membership committee has reviewed and approved your application for membership.

It is my honor and privilege to extend congratulations on your acceptance into The National Scholars Honor Society. Our membership of over 60,000 university scholars and students welcomes you.

Your Membership Acceptance Key is:
** **** ****
(You will need this to complete your membership.)

As a member of The National Scholars Honor Society, you gain the right and privilege of listing your membership on applications, professional credentials, curriculum vitae, and resumes. Upon accepting your membership, you will receive The National Scholars Membership Document, a parchment document suitable for framing. You will also receive a complimentary copy of "The System. The tools you need to get the grades you want."

After an initial review of your file, you have not been selected to receive a scholarship.

You have two options for accepting your membership and submitting the membership fee: Online (for credit card payment), or regular mail (for check or money order). There are no additional fees or dues.

If you choose the Online option (pay your membership fee via Visa or MasterCard), you may follow this link http://www.collegehonors.org/ccpsystem.htm to complete an online Membership Acceptance Form and pay your membership fee via Visa or MasterCard.

If you choose regular mail (pay your membership fee via check or money order), then your next step is to complete, print and return the Membership Acceptance Form along with a check or money order for $85.00, payable to The National Scholars. This link will open the printable Membership Acceptance Form http://www.collegehonors.org/MembershipAcceptanceForm.pdf

I personally welcome you to The National Scholars Honor Society, and wish you continued success.

Kevin Wakeman MD
President , The National Scholars Honor Society

I have to say that deep down I was disappointed. Not only had I been rejected for a "scholarship", but I felt that it was just someone else trying to get some of my hard earned money.

And what would I have in return for the $85 fee?

I don't really know. Perhaps it would look good on a resume`?

And besides...

I can dream up just about anything I want and place it on parchment paper at Kinko's for a lot less money.

In researching this opportunity on the internet I discovered that there are a whole slew of "scholastic scams".

For some reason I was surprised. I suppose that I had mistakenly thought that scholastics was somewhere in the same neighborhood of integrity, honesty, and achievement.

But I guess I was wrong.

A few universities have warnings on their school websites and offer advice.

They tell you to ask yourself questions like this one:

If I put the honorary on my resume, and a prospective employer asks me about it, how will I respond?

I also found out that there are scholarship scams. These people ask you for money in order to give you money in the form of a scholarship.

Does this make sense to you?

UCLA has an interesting resource site that tells you where you can report scams and stuff like that.

And Williamette University has a helpful page about scams that is entitled Scholarship Information.

I then ran across the Association of College Honor Societies. These people basically say that if the society isn't one of their members then it could be a scam.

Could that be true?

Who knows. The National Scholars Honor Society isn't on their list.

But neither is Alpha Sigma Lambda. An honor society that I was inducted into at the university that I attend.

Alpha Sigma Lambda does seem to meet their criteria and standards that the ACHS have listed in their How to Judge the Credibility of an Honor Society page. However, I didn't have to pay Alpha Sigma Lambda a dime for anything. Not even for the little finger sandiches that I ate at the special induction ceremony.

Could it be that you have to pay an enormous membership fee as a society to be a part of ~their~ organization?


Sounds like this scholastic thing could be fairly lucrative.

As far as The National Scholars Honor Society goes they do have a satisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau.

And they've almost been in business for 5 years and are upfront about the things that they don't do.

They don't write letters of recommendation.

They don't issue press releases.

They don't host public ceremonies for induction or graduation.

And they don't sell or distribute honor cords.

I guess whether or not you choose to join any of these organizations is solely dependent on what you expect to receive from them.

After you write your check out of course.


Labels: ,


Blogger Sicilian said...

TJ. . . everyone wants your money. . . anyway they can get it. . . even if it just lists your name on some web page under a bunch of other people's names.

May 12, 2007 4:38 AM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Hey Sicilian...

I don't have very deep pockets. So I try to be very careful about these types of things.

But it does seem to be sooo easy of a thing to do.

You know, I could set up some sort of "society" of my own and just rake in the dough.

All you need is a computer and internet access.

It's really sad.


May 12, 2007 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Vijay said...

You've been tagged with the $456 Billion Meme.


May 13, 2007 5:18 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Just when you think you've heard of every scam going, another one like this pops its head up!

It's unbelievable. And, like every other scam, there will always be someone ready and willing to part with their money.

Well done for keeping your head out of the clouds and your hand firmly in your pocket, ;-)

May 13, 2007 10:36 AM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Hey Vijay...

This one looks *hard*!!

It's going to take me a while.

Hey Sue...

It wasn't too hard to keep my money in my pockets.

$85 is a whole lot of money to me!!


May 13, 2007 9:46 PM  
Anonymous wolfbaby said...

Some people will do anything to get money..

such a shame.

May 14, 2007 7:55 PM  
Blogger Pattie said...

Yet another scam. Wow, there are so many ways for someone to make a buck, huh? Hmm....I remember being inducted into the National Honor Society in college. There was no fee..it was all about one's actual academic achievement. That was the tip off that this honor had some integrity.

May 15, 2007 7:55 AM  
Anonymous ohio said...

thanks for sharing your story and investigation! i used google trying to find out more about this 'sociey' and came across your story. thanks again for saving me $85!

June 22, 2007 5:44 PM  
Anonymous TNGator said...

Something curious about trying to scam those making the good grades... :/

I'm going to go rip up my "Invitation" now. Thanks for this post.

August 21, 2007 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also applied and was accepted and thanks to this message board I will not be joining. Thanks for saving me money.

August 22, 2007 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you - reading your story has kept me from forking out $85... What is the world coming to is what I want to know...

October 15, 2007 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to this site I too have just saved $85. Some people !!!

November 24, 2007 2:42 PM  
Anonymous mom said...

The addresses they post on their website are actually various UPS stores in Illinois. You can check this yourself doing a reverse address search on 411.com. I called one of the UPS stores, and they told me that they do have PO Boxes, but if mail came to the address without a PO Box they would through it out. My son had already paid the $85, so I emailed them on the address they give on their web site and the email came back with an error. The phone number on their site only has a message on it to dial the extionsion you want but if you hit zero or any other number is just says "goodbye." I called our credit card company to stop payment and they made me get a new card since they also had our address. I reported it as fraud to the credit card company. I am going to contact the Better Business Bureau also. There is no way that they should have a satisfactory rating, it is a total scam against college students and should be stopped.

February 02, 2008 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omg thank you so much! I just got an invitation today in the mail. It looked pretty sketchy (mine says magnacumlaude.org instead, but its the same thing). I do alot of research before joining any honors societies, because it seems everyone's grabbing for your money.

Your website helped make my search for "truth" (so-to-say) a wholeeeeee lot easier :) You should totally start a list blog of all the honors societies you see as non-legit. You'd definitley get alot of hits! Its a very hot topic right now. There's a thread entirely dedicated to this: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/transfer-students/51927-scam-honors-national-deans-list-who-s-who-etc-4.html

Anyways, thanks again. You just saved me alot of money, and provided some enjoyable reading materials as well :) Happy Blogging! :)

February 21, 2008 8:49 PM  
Blogger TheWordBoy said...

Hey there. Like many others, I just wanted to thank you for this post. For me, when I got the card, I went ahead and applied for it since their application form was pretty painless. I actually didn't slap anything in the optional written field at all, and then I pretty much forgot I'd applied. Today, however, I got an acceptance e-mail worded similarly to the one you describe. I wouldn't go as far as calling it a scam as it does pretty much tell you that the only thing they'll do for you is send some parchment and let you toss their name on a résumé. Still, I hadn't realised quite how sketchy it was till I read this blog, and it definitely helped me make up my mind. Like you, even though it shouldn't be surprising, I'd just never considered academic scamming.

March 09, 2008 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too was about to apply but figured I'd look up it's credibility. Considering this site, along with about 30 other ones were the 1st to follow the so called "magnacumlaude.org", I think it's a load of crap. Thanks!

March 10, 2008 12:44 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 21, 2008 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's weird is that I just got a packet with the pledge pin and everything. And i didn't pay anything at all...

April 21, 2008 5:00 PM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Hey Michelle and Anonymous...

That's interesting and thanks for visiting.

I do have one question for you both though in how you arrived here at my blog:

Why were you Googling "National Scholars Honor Society Scam"?

Do you feel like there is a problem with the items you received?


April 21, 2008 8:54 PM  
Blogger Jeff V said...

Yea thanks for the post you saved me 85 bucks (while simultaneously hurting my pride).

As a fellow blogger I thought that I'd share with you that the way I found this post was through a google search for "thea national scholars honor society"

Thanks again.

April 23, 2008 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Adam said...

Just got one in the mail, at least they're probably honest about their establishment date:

MCMXCVII=Ripping you off since 1997!


April 24, 2008 9:02 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Hi there,
After applying I also received my parchment paper document and a letter saying that the membership fee had been waved. I got to this site by trying to figure out why they would send me free things if they were a scam. I just did a little Google surfing and found this page. I'm not sure if it is legitimate or not but the embossed parchment paper document looks nice and was free.


August 01, 2008 12:27 AM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

I feel doubly cheated now!

i didn't get a free embossed parchment paper!



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December 06, 2008 11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My question is does this fool Kevin Wakeman MD understand his name is being tarnished? MD? sounds like "More D.ck" in the a** if you listen to him. My goodness, go see him if I am ill, probably scam my a** more. No thank you. I think I rather get a needle and thread to do my own surgery.

January 15, 2009 1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

60000 members at $85 a pop sounds like pretty good business to me. Give away a few free pins and 'waive the fee' and you also get lots of cheap advertising from those so honored....
The Association of College Honors Societies at achsnatl.org is the only verifying agency in the US for honor societies and the place to go if you want to check out if your society is legit. Being a member of one of their societies kicks you up a pay grade in GS positions in government jobs, for one thing.

May 14, 2009 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh wow... I also was excited when I got the card in the mail...lol until I realized that my roommate, who was on academic probation at the time, also had one. Needless to say, that made me question this organization a little...
I decided to apply anyway, just to see if I would get in, because on their website they make it seem like it's hard. I got my acceptance e-mail, but because I'm lazy [haha] I hadn't gotten around to paying the $85.00. They've sent me at least 3 (of the same) e-mails since the first arrived.
*sigh* Soooo... probably won't be joining. Lol, and I'm mad I didn't get any kind of pin in the mail! :)

-I found this blog by googling "Kevin Wakeman" or whatever that guy's name is on the e-mails.

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