Have you received a letter of invitation for a collegiate honor society and wonder if the organization is legitimate or if it is a worthwhile opportunity?
As a member of an honor society, you can benefit in many ways:
- connect with other campus scholars
- get involved in the university community
- develop leadership skills
- affiliate with a nationally-recognized organization
But, because dues payments are often required for membership, it is wise to thoughtfully consider your decision to join. You should know what you will receive in return for membership dues. Below are some ways to get started.
Association of College Honor Societies - A good measure of quality
To decide if membership in a particular society is right for you, start by visiting the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) online. This independent agency certifies college and university honor societies and sets standards for organizational excellence.
Use their standards guidelines to see how the organization in question measures up.
Organizations on the member societies list with ACHS are guaranteed to meet the ACHS standards guidelines and are academically and fiscally credible. Organizations not on the ACHS list should be carefully scrutinized.
Consider other quality factors
Even if a particular honor society is legitimate, the individual student must still decide whether joining the organization is a good decision for him or her. Some questions to consider:
- Does this organization have an active chapter on my campus? See all active groups at UC on the Student Activities and Leadership Development office's student organization listing.
- Will I be able to participate in meetings and activities? Or, will it just be a line on my resume? Students will benefit most from organizations that allow them to be actively involved. Think about this: If a prospective employer asks you about ______ Honor Society, will you have something substantial to talk about?
- Are there other honor organizations that I may have the chance to join later? If you want to use your money wisely, you do not need to join every honor society that invites you to be a member—although you are certainly welcome to do so. If you maintain an outstanding academic record you will likely be invited to join other societies, including those within your chosen field of study, as you progress through your education.
Links to some honor societies that are active at UC
Visit honor societies' websites to get a better feel for what they are all about. Below are some of the societies that have been active at UC (note that this does not guarantee that they are currently active; be sure to look into this yourself).
- Alpha Lambda Delta
- Golden Key
- Mortar Board
- National Society of Collegiate Scholars
- Omicron Delta Kappa
- Phi Beta Kappa
Still unsure of what to do?
If you are still undecided about whether or not to join a particular honor society, call the phone number listed on the invitation letter or on the organization's website. Ask questions until you receive the answers that you need to make an informed decision.
Congratulations on being invited to join an academic honor society!