The education system for kids is changing rapidly these days. Gone are the days when just studying hard, getting good grades and doing well on the SATs were enough. Nowadays, kids need to excel at one, if not multiple extracurricular activities as well. Just burying their head into a mountain of books is not enough these days, kids need to participate in a number of activities ranging from basketball to chess to debating clubs. Kids can have straight As but they can forget about getting into the MITs and the Harvards if their resumé is bereft of excellence in extra-curricular activities. Since there is a huge demand for extracurricular activities among kids’ parents, a slew of companies and institutes have sprouted up, looking to capitalize on that demand and provide kids with the extracurricular exposure that they need National Academy for Future Scientists and Technologists (NAFST) is an organization of that sort.
The National Academy for Future Scientists and Technologists (NAFST) offers young students an opportunity to work with intellectual royalty and open up future avenues by fostering a network with peers who are super-achievers. The welcome page of the National Academy for Future Scientists and Technologists makes some impressive promises and claims. Here’s an excerpt from their page:
“The Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders is an honors-only program designed to motivate and direct the top students in our country who aspire to be scientists, technologists, engineers, or mathematicians, and encourage them to stay true to their dream.
At the Congress, students will learn about state-of-the-art discoveries and will be inspired by world-changing researchers, futurists, and technologists.
Speakers include Nobel Prize winners, top scientific university deans, leaders in scientific research and cutting-edge technology, as well as leaders from private industry.”
Some of the stuff might seem like it’s too good to be true, especially the ‘Nobel laureate speakers’ claim, which hasn’t really been verified. However, the speakers so far have definitely been individuals who had achieved a lot of success in the field of science and technology. Nobel laureates might be on the way in the future though.
The National Academy for Future Scientists and Technologists has impressive credentials and is directly involved with a number of member communities. Some people are a bit sceptical about the authenticity of the institution though. Many have questioned whether your hard earned dollars are worth spending over the National Academy for Future Scientists and Technologists and if kids are actually going to benefit from it in the long run. A slight analysis of the website can get us closer to the answer.
As per the National Academy for Future Scientists and Technologists’ website, the institute is a member of the following groups as well:
- School Counselor Association (ASCA)
- National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
- STEM Education Coalition
- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA)
- The Society of Torch and Laurel
Some of these organizations, such as The Society of Torch and Laurel are affiliated with both the National Academy for Future Scientists and Technologists and the National Academy for Future Physicians and Medical Scientists. Both of these institutes have enough similarities to rouse suspicion inside the mind of any rational person. However, since the National Academy for Future Scientists and Technologists was formed in 1994, and has run successfully since then, at least there is no need to consider it as a fly-by-night scam operation. Even the ‘exclusive invites’ received by the students are far too fancy and intricate to be a part of a spam operation.
Overall, the National Academy for Future Scientists and Technologists program definitely adds value to students’ careers. Hearing successful intellectuals speak and interacting with successful peers of a similar frame of mind can lead to students developing new and interesting passions in fields they were not aware of. However, if you have to scrape through your last bit of savings to get your kids into the National Academy for Future Scientists and Technologists, you might bet better off getting your kids into a smaller activities club or even buy them the pre-requisite learning materials, scientific equipment and the right supplies to develop and nurture their interests on a more personal level.