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The letters start arriving at the houses of high college students in early spring.

You are watching: Who is who among american high school students

They’ve to be nominated to who Who amongst American High college Students, i beg your pardon “is a very special honor” completed by “only 5 percent of high college students throughout the country.” Or called to the nationwide Honor Roll, which means “you have actually attained a level of achievement shared by a very tiny percentage of every students in the U.S.” Or have come to be an All- American Scholar, “which represents the upstream scholars across our nation.”

Thousands of college student send in their biographical sketches, and also sometimes their pictures, too, for publication in the annual books. And also many proud parents and grandparents eagerly fork end $40 come $60 because that a copy of the tomes.


“This vital historical registry will serve together a irreversible record that your accomplishments that will certainly last forever,” states the All-American Scholar web site.

In addition, the publishers sell to send news release listing nominees, i m sorry are periodically published verbatim in neighborhood newspapers. And they to speak nominees space eligible because that college scholarships.

But unbelievable say the publications space little more than appeals to vanity and are fixed the impressive honors the publishers do them the end to be. Besides accepting nominations indigenous high college teachers and counselors, the publishers likewise pitch come students who names are gained from lists compiled by marketers, movie critics say.

“They room trying to sell books,” stated Marybeth Kravets, a university counselor in ~ Deerfield High school in Illinois, who states students and parents frequently ask her about the sales pitches from student- recognition programs. “I tell parental to think hard around how they room using your children’s future college funds.”


Ms. Kravets notes the the publishers carry out offer at the very least some scholarship money, and that nobody is compelled to to buy the publications to it is in included. Yet she advises versus including together honors top top college-admissions applications.

“To admissions people, this things are not going come be vital factor top top a student’s application,” she said.

Jon Reider, the manager of college counseling at san Francisco university High School and a previous admissions officer at Stanford University, claimed he advises students to simply toss the end the sales pitches. That believes the publishers prosper on the myth the “you can earn certain credentials and also join the American meritocracy.”

Recent discussions top top CollegeConfidential.com, an web listserv for student and parent questions about college admissions, were also harsher in their assessments of student-recognition programs. “I certainly wouldn’t use it on an Ivy or other selective institution application, uneven you space trying to intentionally develop the impression you space a naive bumpkin,” said one recent posting.

Said another: “The few people I recognize who have these type of who’s Who and Honor Roll publications grow more and more embarrassed by the books over the years.”

Teachers’ Book

Perhaps the best known that the programs is who’s Who amongst American High institution Students, i beg your pardon is unrelated come the publisher the the 105-year-old Who’s who in America reference book.


The high school publication was began in 1967 through Paul and Ann Krouse, a suburban Chicago couple who to speak on the company’s net site the they wanted to respond to the negative image of adolescents in that era by recognizing “high-achieving, ambitious students.”

In 2001, the Krouses marketed the company, Educational communications Inc., to lock Harlan Inc., a brand-new York City-based exclusive equity firm that additionally owns the high college yearbook company Taylor Publishing and also Commemorative brands Inc., one Austin, Texas-based concern specializing in class rings. ECI is now part of Commemorative Brands.

Jefferey Fix, the general manager that ECI, stated he has heard the objections of student-recognition books for years. However he stated his company takes pride in its products.

“I think educators recognize the program and also what we space trying to attain with it, which is come honor and recognize students and encourage them to walk on to greater education,” that said.

The company has awarded more than $3 million in scholarships since its inception and also now awards about $250,000 per year. The awards have traditionally been $1,000 per student, however this year ECI will give a few $6,000 awards, Mr. Settle said.

Last year, The wall Street journal reported the ECI to buy names indigenous the national Research facility for College and University Admissions, a Lee’s Summit, Mo.-based firm that asks teachers to give students a survey seeking names, addresses, grade suggest averages, and other data. ECI identified to the newspaper that it had derived student names from nationwide Research. Mr. Fix decreased to delve more into the matter.


Besides the flagship college student book, i beg your pardon costs around $55 if a student’s picture is included, ECI has included other titles over the years, such together a high school athletes’ edition and also Who’s Who among America’s Teachers. The last volume, an initial published in 1990, is made up largely of teachers nominated by recipients that the student honor.

The teachers’ book likewise puts ECI in somewhat an ext direct competition through Marquis who’s Who, the publisher that Who’s who in America, who Was who in America, and other volumes. Marquis, i beg your pardon is now component of the Anglo-Dutch publishing large Reed-Elsevier Inc., has likewise published a volume dubbed Who’s that in American Education, which has not simply teachers, but additionally other educators and also policymakers.

Who’s who in American education and learning has been on a hiatus due to the fact that its 1996-97 edition, however the agency is posting a new volume later this year, stated Fred Marks, the an elderly managing director in ~ Marquis who Who, i beg your pardon is based in new Providence, N.J.

“There have been requests to carry it back, and we desire to be associated in such a publication since of the growing importance the teachers and also education,” that said.

The agency distances itself from what it considers the vanity publications on the market by stressing the large acceptance that its who’s Who books as library referral volumes. However it acknowledges that there is also a sector for selling its publications to those who make it right into them. The brand-new Who’s that in American education and learning volume will offer for $235, Mr. Clues said.

No to Joe Blow

Name recognition, or confusion, appears to it is in a subtle component of the arrangement for some publishers.

The nonprofit nationwide Honor society warns top top its web site the some colleges have puzzled it with national Honor Roll, a for-profit concern based in Washington.

On its web site, nationwide Honor Roll claims that anyone came to whether “this is a precious program” can call its workplaces with questions. A representative told education Week critical week come e-mail concerns to the publisher, Lynn Romeo. She no respond.

At All-American Scholar, which is released by a Lexington, Ky.-based company called the unified States accomplishment Academy, manager Robin Tomlinson said: “We’re well known approximately the united States. Yes nothing we’re trying to hide.”

She said the firm does no buy college student names from marketers’ lists and accepts just those who have been nominated by educators or to be on their schools’ honor rolls.

“Teachers obtain strict criteria to follow,” she said. “It just can’t be Joe Blow.”


The All-American Scholar publications sell because that $59.95 with a snapshot included, Ms. Tomlinson said, with some of those fees going come cover scholarships. The firm says on its net site that it has actually granted much more than $740,290 in scholarships due to the fact that its inception in 1980, or an median of around $32,000 a year.

While the sales pitches because that student-recognition programs reach a new cohort the students and also their parents each year, some households are simply saying no.

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David Loutrel, a father in Anchorage, Alaska, recalls that his daughter, Sarah, got nominations last year because that Who’s Who among American High school Students and also National honor Roll.

“We hosted on come them around as long as it took to review over the letters and also then drop castle in the garbage can,” he said. “Everyone likes it when their son gets an honor. Yet when the honor comes with a price tag, that is sort of amusing.”