Some honors societies, like Phi Beta Kappa, date back to the 1700s. These academic legacies are communities of pride and prestigious achievements. At the beginning of every new school year, students get stuck with deciding on which honors society to join.
Not all invitations are equal and not all honors societies are worth joining. If you make grade strides in your academic progress, you should get plenty of invitations. Take your time and really understand the differences between them.
Use this guide to find the best honor society membership for your journey into the working world.
What is an Honors Society?
Some honors societies appear like a glorified fraternity for certain majors. Others take a role that resembles that of a career networking club. Both of these are valid descriptors, sometimes taking on both characteristics.
Honors societies are set up to introduce a healthy space to grow leadership skills, career advancement, and share common interests. Usually, an honors society in your field will send an invitation if you already meet certain requirements. Applying to join an honors society is not always possible.
It’s about who you know and making the commitment for a lifetime. Honors societies take their memberships very seriously.
Requirements Before Joining
As we mentioned, applying to an honors society requires an invitation. All college honor societies charge a membership and application fee. That fee is usually around $100. Steer clear of honors societies that are completely free.
That usually means that there is either no useful resources or benefits to joining or that they are a scam trying to rope you in. It’s important to understand what makes an honor society legitimate.
Here are some more requirements you should discover:
There is an Association of College Honor Societies that certifies national honors societies. You can check this list for free here. If they’re not on it, chances are they’re a scam.
If you feel like an honors society should be on the list, call them and ask them why they haven’t joined.
Look on their website for backstory and history on the honors society. Where are they physically located? If they only have a P.O. Box listed, that might indicate they’re hiding something.
Do they have a full list of officers, staff, and chapter policies? How specific are their benefits for joining? Is it filled with actionable programs?
Membership and Applying
Some honors societies charge only a one-time lifetime membership fee. This isn’t a sign that they are less legitimate than others. Although, when this is combined with an online application process, it does cause alarm.
They should have a presence on the campus, so they should also have paper applications. Also, if their membership terms aren’t clear, then they clearly don’t take it seriously. Ask if there is a democratic process for hiring new members and moving up through the ranks.
Meet Them In Person
The only way to guarantee that they are an official chapter on campus is to meet up with a staff member. Joining an honor’s society with no presence on the campus is a waste of time. Even if there are other members that go to your school, it’s not the same as having an established chapter.
You want to have the ability to gauge the culture of an honor’s society. See whether or not you will get along or share ideas with them. If you aren’t planning on being super involved or attending every meeting, that’s okay.
Always having access to the chapter is important, though. Every member should have a voice in the group.
Legit honors societies are not-for-profit organizations. They should have no issue with providing proof of being registered as a non-profit. Anyone can call themselves non-profit orgs, but their tax returns do the talking.
Secrecy of financial information and how decisions get made based on memberships is bad for long-term trust. The less you feel connected to the lead organizers, the higher the likelihood of conflicts within the organization.
Benefits for Alumni
The potential advantages for alumni could come when you’ve graduated. These advantages could come as entry level position openings, or maybe even the chance to quickly submit applications into top organizations. Connections made by the honor’s society can get your foot in the door of major corporate sponsors.
A few managers might be interested in the way that you’ve been successful as an individual from an honor society. Many do accompany a specific measure of honors achieved, not just membership. Leading within an honor’s society shows employers that you are loyal and take pride in your work.
Leadership abilities are exceedingly significant in today’s businesses. Numerous graduated classes are remaining active and dynamic in their honor social orders after graduation. This eliminates resume gaps after graduation, a huge factor for hiring managers.
Getting Into an Honors Society
You’ve made it and you were welcomed into an honors society that you wanted. This moment is the stepping stone into your life of adulthood. Being part of a community that cares about you and has your back for life feels good.
The advice, opportunities for scholarships, grants, and contracts more than pay for the price of admission alone. An honors society can become your extended family, especially if there’s already family history. Campus life can be a lonely road without networking and being involved.
Start your journey here at the Honor Society Foundation. Learn how to get involved with your community. Meet people who share your interests and goals in life.
Remember, you get out what you put into school. The same goes for joining an honors society. The sky is the limit at what you can accomplish from the Honor Society Foundation.