i just received a mail from “National Academy of future scientists and technologists”. This is totally some scam crap right? i felt like this was a scam right away when they asked me for $1500 for just 3 day camp. But then i found out that this camp is held on Harvard University and is sponsored by Buzz Aldrin. I also found out that i get to meet all the Nobel Prize physicists. Is it worth it to go?
It seems it was just recently launched. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-academy-launched-to-inspire-and-motivate-future-scientists-and-technology-leaders-283200761.html That means there is no way to know if it “is worth it to go”.
Do you want to meet Buzz Aldrin and the Nobel Prize physicists?
What could you possibly get out of a three day program even if it had a reasonable cost? It sounds absurd to me. And I see nothing on the website about a connection to Harvard–the website says the program is to be held at UMass Lowell, which I’m sure is happy to rent out its facilities in the summer.
The organization is run by the same people who run the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, which isn’t exactly highly thought of on CC, and the National Young Leaders Conference, which the New York Times did an interesting article on. Do a search and see for yourself. The only thing you can be sure of is that some folks will be making big money out of this program, including Buzz Aldrin, for letting his name be used. I also note that the GPA requirement for participation is 3.5, so any suggestion in the marketing materials that the invitees are an elite group is simply false.
If we’re lucky, we’ll soon get a first-time poster waxing rhapsodic about how great this organization is and how amazing the program will look on his college applications…
These are often for profit ventures that exist to generate income or salaries for the and the programs might be well run or not they are a mixed bag. They guy who starts and runs these–Richard Rossi-- National Academy of’s seems awfully under the radar, He also founded the ‘National Youth…’ conferences but no longer associated with them and Envision, the parent private company is now held by an investment group. Some jorno should do an expose on this. Be sure you are not likely to get much personal interaction with the VIPs who are paid a fee for appearances and being figureheads. These all follow this direct mass marketing model and try to make you feel flattered to be invited. Like Publishers Clearinghouse you too may be a winner, call today! I wouldn’t give these people a dime. Some people have reported enjoying such events but they are not impressive to put on your resume. It is the University of Phoenix of student programs. But this thing seems particularly gouging pricewise,
National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists:
I am retired college adviser, admissions and scholarship committee chair, and departmental administrator who now coaches high school juniors and seniors in college selection and admission. I am also a parent of a high school junior. I expect kids who go to the June Congress run by this organization will have a great time but if resources are tight should you spend the money? My assessment is that this program won’t be a big plus for admissions committees.
Here are my reasons:
- Is it a legitimate program?
a) It is a new venture, founded in November 2014.
b) It has absolutely NO TRACK RECORD of success.
c) Who is behind it? It is a FOR PROFIT Educational company founded by Richard Rossi who is well known for his burgeoning stable of for profit educational companies that make lots of money from high school students and their families. He is behind: National Young Leaders Conference, NYLC see: http://www.collegeconfidential.com/dean/is-national-young-leaders-conference-a-scam/ ; National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists, Congressional Youth Leadership Council, and many others. He’s been at this marketing to aspiring college students for 26 years.
d) Since the organization has no track record, let’s look at the founder’s track record. See Envision, EMI LLC, in particular THE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST another one of his for profit companies that he ran until 2011 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Envision_EMI
- There are luminaries involved so it must be legitimate, right?
a) They are invited.
b) They will speak. Have you ever been to an event with an august figure and come away wondering how many times she’s given that talk? I envision a speaker dusting off one of their rubber chicken lunch talks, previously given, many times, to many organizations across the country.
c) Are these speakers doing it because they believe in the program? I don’t know. You’d have to contact them. My best guess is that the speakers will be paid. So it doesn’t sound like they’re receiving a fee for service, they’ll likely get an “honorarium” which is a nice word given to describe a payment in an educational institution for a speaking gig.
d) How much contact can you have with these figures in 3 days if there are, say, 500 participants? Very little, I imagine.
- Students – with the means – will attend?
- Connections with peers will be forged?
Likely. But so are TED talks and there’s no $1500 charge or airfare to pay.
a) Yes, as I read it, some scholarships are available.
b) Will they cover the full cost? No. They will cover up to one half of the cost of the “Congress” and will be granted on the basis of need. So, even if your income is limited, you’ll still have to pay $750 for a 3-day event as well as any transportation expenses to get to and from Boston.
- What can you tell about the organization from the address?
a) It is NOT offered at or sponsored by HARVARD UNIVERSITY.
b) In my opinion, the materials intentionally misrepresent this organization as prestigious and academically sponsored. It is, in fact, a PRIVATELY HELD, FOR PROFIT education company.
c) The address is on Harvard Square (as in the Square NEXT TO Harvard University. No one – except marketing companies – refer to Harvard Square as Harvard University Square. And, to provide evidence of the marketing angle, there is a Harvard University Square website designed by marketers that advertises hotels, restaurants, and shops.
d) And unless Au Bon Pain is doing cutting edge genomics research while their croissants rise, the neighborhood is definitely not a Silicon Valley, a medical alley, or a hub known for science and technology.
e) Most damning in my estimation is that the building address given for the “National Academy of Future Science and Technology Leaders”, 1 Mifflin Place offers, and I quote from the building’s website:
"Virtual Office packages From $89.00, Count on Regus to make your first impressions count. A business address in the right place and a local contact number answered in your company name can make all the difference in business. Our professional teams will manage your calls and handle your mail." f) Now, yes, there may be a Suite 400 in that building (the full address is: Harvard Square, 1 Mifflin Place Suite 400, Cambridge, MA 02138) that isn't a Virtual Office but the building seems like a rather suspect address for a rigorous, vibrant academic program devoted to developing future scientists and technologists, don't you think?
- How will participation in the “Congress” be viewed by colleges?
a) No track record means that colleges aren’t going to esteem students from these programs any more highly than their peers with similar GPAs.
b) Admissions staff know about Richard Rossi’s for-profit educational programs (again see the EMI Wikipedia article, especially the section on litigation).
c) They – like we who are trying to figure out if this is a legitimate program worth investing in for our kids – will only have what they know historically about Rossi’s programs (not positive) and what they can figure out from the web to go on.
- Worth $1500? It’s up to you.
If it comes down to: will it make a difference to an admissions committee? I don’t think so. My 20 minutes of research confirms that I won’t be sending my kid. The best part of this “award” may be the reproduction of Buzz Aldrin’s signature on snazzy stationary.
This is an excellent breakdown of my impression of the packet my daughter received this afternoon. She’s been getting recruitment letters from many major universities since taking her PSAT. When this packet arrived, I just assumed it was another recruitment packet. When I looked closer, it seems impressive with the names of the promoted speakers, but, it also comes with a rather expensive cost for a three day conference.
A big question was presented in the material: Will attending the congress help you gain admission to a competitive college? The answer is a long one, but the phrase that stands out, “…can inspire you to take the personal action necessary to become a much stronger candidate…” says no.
A 3.5 GPA to qualify? Add a bit more and you could even be in my daughter’s IB Degree program!
My son received this invitation too. Are any of you aware of any similar but reputable programs?
me and my friends got this letter… if we can get it, then it’s not special. it just means that a million other people got this same letter … big deal
My younger brother got this, as well. I told him that it wasn’t worth it. That money would be better spent on a $1200 Herman Miller Embody office chair, the most comfortable chair in the world. Or a Titan X, whenever that launches.
I’ve been on both sides of the coin with these conferences, as both a student and a staff advisor. I got a great experience out of going to a conference when I was in high school and I’ve enjoyed my time working for conferences. Good way to make some scratch over the summer.
That said, it’s the most expendable type of income there is. It will not help you in any way on a college app. It will definitely a fun time, because the conferences need to at least get you that in order to assure people keep coming back.
P.S. I live in the area where this particular conference will be. Calling Lowell “Boston” is a total joke. It’s about 40 minutes away. It’s a sweet, reviving old mill town, but Boston it is not nor has it ever been.
It is not a scam in the sense that you pay the money and there is a program.
Now the question is, is it worth it? It is not an “honor”, it is not something that college admissions committees care about one bit.
DANGER, DANGER!! BACK AWAY FROM THE INVITATION AND PUT DOWN YOUR CHECKBOOK!!! Today is Thursday, June 25th and the conference is Sunday, June 28th. We are the parents of a very bright rising sophomore. Our child received the invitation and we fell for the whole thing; hook, line and sinker, and sent off the $1000 for him to attend. Let me tell you what you’ll get if you send the money. First, you’ll get about a million exciting emails and videos telling you how amazing it’s going to be. What you won’t get are the tickets, aka credentials, to get inside. When you try to inquire about not having them and when they’ll be mailed and what to do about it, you’ll get nothing. That’s right… Nothing. No person to speak with. No return phone call. No return email. No face book reply. Nothing. And then when you go to the website, fb page, twitter page, you’ll find that it hasn’t been updated for almost a week. In other words, it’s a money grab for anyone stupid enough (and yes, I hate to admit it but I’m one of those) to have sent the money. Oh, and one more thing… Some of the original advertised speakers aren’t even going to be there after all. I know we won’t see our money again but I certainly hope this post, like the one from DelphiListener might help another family not get taken.
My son got one of these months ago. Filed it under “G” (for garbage). After reading the above post, I feel even better about the decision.
My husband and son just returned from the Congress. He said it was the best experience of his life. He was inspired, rejuvinated, and awed by the speakers. We too were skeptical before we went but are so grateful that we did send him. He got more out of it than we could have ever expected. I hope you will all open your minds and give it a chance next year. My son has already asked to go again!
@gdpherrers The history of this organization’s posts (overwhelmingly negative) on this website is that new members (one post) will jump on and submit a ravingly supportive post about how nice/inspiring/great experience it was. Please excuse us if we find ourselves skeptical again over your post. I find it hard to believe that you stumbled upon CC. Went through the hassle of creating a user profile and ID, searched out a post about Nat’l Acad of Future Scientists and felt compelled to gush about junior’s fantastic experience – all to enlighten us. Your lack of history on this site diminishes your credibility greatly, IMHO. Others may not be as skeptical as I am. If I’m mistaken, please accept my apology in advance and I will look forward to your ongoing posts about assisting your son’s college journey. If we don’t hear from you again, then let this be a warning to readers of posts about this org and its marketing methods…
We attended the 2015 Congress of Future Scientists and Technologists along with our son and it was a very informative and inspiring event. I am amazed at the amount of negative comments and can only attribute it to not having a full understanding of what these conferences are actually about. This is not a class, although through Washington Adventist University, you may receive 1 college credit if you complete their course requirements. This is not something special to put on your college application. It is an experience that brings together a group of scientists, visionaries, and motivational speaker to broaden your child’s world view and inspire them to pursue their dreams in the field of STEM. Oftentimes schools are greatly lacking in STEM content and are not geared toward highly motivated students. Everyone leads different lives, however this was a great opportunity for our child to meet a Nobel Prize winner, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, or Entrepreneurs like Dean Kaem in person. Our son left with a renewed sense of confidence and purpose and as soon as we got home started working again on experimental projects that had given him difficulty. He also left with a bunch of business cards and contact information from fellow attendees and is already starting to collaborate with them on different projects.
As far as the cost of the program, we travel for our professional conferences each year and you must pay for your membership, each event/class, travel, lodging, and food. We easily expend triple the cost of this conference, however, we feel the benefit derived is immeasurable. The cost and time involved in putting something like this on is enormous. We don’t begrudge any compensation that the company putting on the Congress (or any conference we attend) makes- if we could put the Congress on ourselves, we would. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the Congress and would have paid to attend ourselves. Everything we do in life is an investment, it’s just a matter of where your priorities lie.
MedPro: From what I can tell, the org seems to be like Janus: the programs do seem to elicit solid comments – I’m glad you and your family rec’d value. One side, well done.
However, what I find extremely distasteful is its marketing plan – and its outreach to kids whose funds are better spent elsewhere and its self purported boost to everyone’s college application chances (e.g. the 20 year old chaperone who will write a recommendation letter for each of his/her charges), the pre-written Press Release. This other face of this org is smarmy, IMHO.
I am new to CC and have only made one earlier post. I say this because this is a new journey for us. However, I want to add to the earlier post I made last June regarding the Congress.
We eventually did attend and our son had an outstanding time and was positive he wanted to go again in 2016. The speakers were encouraging, the tempo was upbeat and the excitement contagious. By the end, I had a very exhausted but content and motivated 15 year old son.
What we didn’t receive, which was promised again and again at the show, was regular followup and so called mentoring, a certificate of attendance, credentials to enter in the first place, or a satisfactory answer from anyone. When I called yesterday to ask about the lapses in communication, I was told -
- There was a glitch in the system and that there had been weekly emails and videos sent out from Mr. Rossi directly to the student's email address. I was on his email address and there were no such emails. She verified the address and said she showed there was 1 sent on 8/16 that he opened but that no others had been sent to him after that time. The rep had no explanation as to why that had happened but would have it corrected.
- Certificates were mailed in September and October to all attendees. When the rep checked, she said there was no record of him having attended, that he hadn't checked in, and had not been mailed a certificate. OH YES HE DID CHECK-IN! I'm so certain because I was the one who stood in the rain waiting for the doors to open so we could get the credentials he needed to enter the event. She made the correction and would have one sent by Christmas.
- As noted above, we never did receive the tickets, aka credentials, prior to flying to MA. I finally satisfied myself that there was actually an event by going on line and checking the University of MA at Lowell website to confirm the event was actually booked for the Tsongas Center before we left for the airport.
There is a parent’s forum on facebook and there are parents who have nothing but wonderful things to say about their experiences with the event. There are also parents just like me who have had a much different experience. My point is this… From what other posters have said, this is not Mr. Rossi’s first time at the rodeo and where I come from. you are only as good as your word. I find it suspect that according to the rep, my child is one of only a couple of kids who didn’t receive credentials, didn’t receive a certificate, and didn’t receive any followup emails / videos. And yet, strangely enough, just 2 days ago, we received an email asking for more money to book the 2016 event.
My final thought is this. We will do anything to inspire and enrich our son’s life that we can afford to do. He is a remarkable young man. I think we will be looking at other summer programs this year and chalk the Sci / Tech Congress up to a summer vacation that had some cool aspects to it. We should all be mindful of what Thomas Tusser said about fools and money and if you decide to send your child to the event, I wish you luck and that your outcome is much better than mine.
Wait, I’m so confused. I want to send my daughter who just recently got invited into the program, but so many people say its a scam and that they didn’t get tickets. But then how is it possible if there seems like 5000 people at the video on their main website??? It seems like a wonderful option and would it even be able to help my daughter boost up her college application?