Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dear Mr. Bottomly, My Son/Daughter Got this National Scholars Program Letter...

Recently I've had a sophomore parent and student ask me about a creamy vanilla envelop with a "congratulations letter" in it. It's from the National Scholars Program.

Is this letter legit?

Is it a scam?

Will this really shimmer on a resume and impress an admission committee?


First. National Scholar Programs do go after promising future scholars. There is nothing "scammy" about who they recruit. Nor should you feel like a sucker if you do pay the entry fee. A National certificate of this caliber is something that you can put on your resume to underscore that you have been nationally recognized for your academic achievements.

Will it shimmer though?


Here is what I've learned. If you have to pay for it, a college admissions committee will often chalk it up to privilege. If, however, you have to work for it then it speaks of responsibility.

Colleges are far more interested in honors/awards/certificates that a student earns within his/her own school. And local community.

So in the future, when in doubt, apply the "x=PoR" litmus test: Does [x] = Privilege? Or does [x] = Responsibility? This will help you weigh pros and cons of any program.