Exceeding expectations in higher education

The Spectrum

Its requirements are rigorous, but the lifetime benefits of joining this society are more than worth it.

The National Society of College Scholars (NSCS) University at Buffalo chapter has been in existence since 2004 and encourages its members to achieve and promote growth of scholastic achievement in the Buffalo community. The UB chapter was recently promoted to Gold Star status as of the 2011-12 academic year.

According to Ball State University's website, "To attain Gold Star status, chapters are required to hold an induction ceremony for new members, create a student mentoring program, hold campuswide events to support NSCS's integrity initiative, create an on-campus membership recruitment campaign and engage a campus office in a chapter event."

NSCS is a national organization with participants at over 300 college campuses nationwide. The organization was founded in 1994 at George Washington University and serves to recognize the scholastic achievements of students in various fields of academia.

The organization welcomes freshman and sophomore students who achieve a minimum GPA of 3.4, who rank within the top 10 percent of their class and take to heart the ideals of leadership and scholarship. Students in NSCS are connected to over 1 million students nationwide and hundreds of UB students through the local chapter.

Laura Barnes, sophomore exercise science major and community service vice president, said the instrumental properties of NSCS help students further their education at UB. She thinks it's beneficial to the students involved.

NSCS offers students involved in the organization opportunities for discounts on different scholastic services such as test preparation, tutoring and renting books, according to Barnes.

Freshmen and sophomore students are offered more leadership opportunities than they would ever have without the guidance of NSCS, Barnes said, as well as eligibility for valuable scholarships. These include finances such as merit awards, induction recognition awards, service scholarships and scholarships for studying abroad.

NSCS gives away nearly half a million dollars in scholarships to its members.

In addition to receiving help from the organization as a whole, Barnes strives to make UB's chapter more than just the face of NSCS in Upstate New York; she wants members to enjoy their time within the organization.

"The NSCS chapter in Buffalo is beneficial because the members here really want to make a difference and stay involved," Barnes said. "We try to have as many meetings as possible with our busy schedules."

NSCS is used to guide students through the educational process from the minute they walk into a college classroom to the time they graduate, according to Barnes. NSCS is designed to help members apply to internships, learn what it is like to be in the workforce and gain real work experience.

The organization is also known for the PACE Program, or Planning to Achieve Collegiate Excellence. This program is specifically used to encourage younger students to attend college. NSCS members tutor these high school students to prepare them academically and mentally for college life.

The members of the organization are involved with high school seniors who may be on the fence about college. NSCS provides opportunities for high school students to obtain thousands of dollars in scholarships in order to pay for college tuition.

Stephen Maloney, a sophomore management major and the vice president of NSCS, believes the organization is much more than just a name.

"I know many people think of it as just something to put on a resume, but NSCS has so much more to offer," Maloney said. "As the VP, I've had leadership opportunities such as helping to lead and organize our induction ceremony for our new members. [It] was very rewarding."

According to Maloney, NSCS hosts many events that bring professors and distinguished speakers to teach students the skills needed for college and the real world. Some speakers include Paul J. Cullen, associate professor of biological sciences, and Larry Hawk, associate professor of psychology. He thinks these speakers deliver insightful and motivating messages.

NSCS is a program that aims to enrich the education of high-achieving students, provide a pathway for the ambitious, and more specifically, make UB a more enriching and scholarly environment.

Email: features@ubspectrum.com