The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is a non-profit academic honor society that recruits academically high-achieving university students. It is designed to help develop leadership skills by encouraging participation in community service activities. It boasts to be “not your average honors organization.” Founded in 1994 at George Washington University, NSCS has now reached over one million members with over 300 chapters nationwide.
NSCS membership is offered to freshmen and sophomores with a GPA of 3.4 or higher, and who rank in the top 20% of their class. According to junior and secretary of the UR chapter Kali Noonan, NSCS generally inducts “between 20 and 30 students each fall” on campus.
Once inducted, members pay a fee of $95. This one-time payment is used to “help support the organization as a whole,” according to Noonan, and comes with a series of benefits.
“By becoming a member, you have access to numerous exclusive scholarships and member discounts for everything from insurance to medical prescriptions to Kaplan courses, as well as career resources and networking opportunities to provide a leg up after college,” Noonan said.
NSCS also offers several study abroad programs, including Semester at Sea, in which students attend classes while aboard a ship in a variety of subjects. These include many humanities classes that are connected to destinations visited.
The UR chapter, established in 2002, has ties with Kaplan Test Prep. This “allows the chapter to provide members with the resources to continue their education beyond their undergraduate experience.”
Members are also encouraged to attend ScholarCon, a leadership summit hosted by NSCS each summer. It is a gathering of NSCS members and, according to the NSCS website, an opportunity “[to] discover what it’s like to work in particular industries, get tips on writing resumes and cover letters, hear motivational speakers, and have fun.”
The scholarships include merit awards, study abroad scholarships, graduate study scholarships, and several program-specific scholarships.
Being a member of NSCS is important for many students.
“It puts me among some of the best and brightest students in the country, and I am honored to be a part of such a group,” sophomore Tiffany White said. “I remember being in middle school and high school and admiring the older students who went through induction into NJHS and NHS respectively… I want to inspire academic excellence to those following in my footsteps just as those who came before did for me.”
White feels that the commitment to leadership required by NSCS enables her to make an impact on the community and allow her to develop as a person and a student.
Junior Gabryella Pulsinelli said that she decided to join NSCS because she “wanted to be a part of something that was more than just an honor society.” She attended ScholarCon and noted that “it was an amazing experience” for her.
NSCS is currently working on a program called Planning to Achieve Collegiate Excellence, or PACE.
“We are establishing a PACE program and we will be working with local 7th and 8th graders from School 19 in Rochester,” Pulsinelli said. “We will be doing a mentor and tutoring program as well as [holding an assembly] in early November [to help] kids realize they can go to college.”
According to the NSCS website, the PACE Program “empowers college students at NSCS chapters across the country to create local programs with a school or organization; this partnership helps increase the likelihood that those students graduate from high school and are effectively prepared for college.”
Other projects currently being taken on by the UR chapter include volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, promoting breast and childhood cancer awareness, and volunteering at the Golissano Children’s Hospital. Members also volunteer for the Salvation Army and host a benefit concert for charity with support from other organizations on campus.
Kanakam is a member of the class of 2017.