MIAMI - You may have seen the bumper stickers saying "I am a proud scholar," or received a packet saying your high school student has been selected for membership.
The National Society of High School Scholars, or NSHSS, seems similar in wording to the well-renowned and well-respected National Honor Society.
But there is no relationship.
The National Honor Society is based on academic achievement with a minimum grade point average requirement and is widely recognized by institutions of higher learning.
On the other hand, the NSHSS is less scholarly and is vague when it comes to what the organization uses to invite students.
The NSHSS also charges students $60 to join.
The organization's materials promise access to an exclusive pool of scholarship opportunities and interaction with college admissions representatives and academic leaders.
"I have not heard of it," Karen Long, the University of Miami's assistant Vice President for undergraduate admissions told Local 10. "This is an organization that asks students to pay to be a part of it."
Long says paying to get ahead in academic admissions is a no-no.
"That right there is a tip-off that we're not talking about something that's on the up-and-up," said Long.
The Facebook site of the NSHSS shows several complaints from students saying they received nothing in return.
Students in South Florida schools say the type of marketing used by the NSHSS adds confusion to the already overwhelming college application process.
Admissions officials say there's no paying your way to the top of the pile when it comes to making an impression and organizations like the NSHSS can actually distract from students' worthy achievements.
"I'm very glad to have this exposed," Long added. "Because, as we know, this is a process that people have a lot of anxiety about."
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