Preparing for College

Who's Who: Is It Worthwhile?

Question: Over the summer, I received an application for my daughter to be in Who’s Who Among American High School Students. She said it was no big deal and that all students get them. I recently found out that not all students do get that offer, but I have already thrown away the application. How can I go about getting another one?

Visit the Web site below to contact the Who’s Who folks, if you want another application.

Your daughter, however, is right. Who’s Who is primarily a money-making outfit that takes advantage of high school students (and, especially, their doting parents) by listing names and achievements in their “selective” book and then selling this book to families for a ridiculously steep price.

It’s true that not all students are invited to apply or selected for inclusion. That’s part of the racket. If every kid in your daughter’s class had been singled out, then you’d sniff the scam right away. The idea is to make you think that only the cream of the crop pass muster.

While Who’s Who indeed lists many outstanding young people, it is not an honor to be tapped for it, and college admission officials aren’t the least impressed when they see it on an application. In fact, at the more elite colleges it can almost have the opposite effectâ€"that is, its inclusion on a roster of honors and awards suggests that the candidate is provincial or naïve.

So, our advice is to save your money. Perhaps you can use it to take your daughter out to celebrate her accomplishments (and yours as a parent!) in a more meaningful way.