Honor societies have been part and parcel of the US’ academic tradition for well over 200 years, with others dating back to the 1700s. For most people, being in an honor society is a badge of honor, but joining one is about a lot more than just prestige.
At the start of every new school year, students get torn about which honors programs to join. This is a crucial decision because it’s one that follows them for the rest of their lives. So, “what is an honor society,” and is joining one really necessary?
Keep reading for answers to these and more questions. Today, we’ll be looking at what an honor society is, how you can be a member of one, and why you should. Without wasting too much time, let’s dive right into it.
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What Is an Honor Society?
Contrary to popular thought, honor societies are a lot more than glorified fraternities. Honor societies are organizations that bring together like-minded individuals based on merit. They look at factors like leadership skills, academic excellence, and other skills for their membership criteria.
Some spheres refer to honor societies as professional fraternities, with many of their names being Greek characters. You can obtain membership in an honor society through an invitation or application. However, you must meet certain criteria for the honor societies to invite you or consider your application.
Honor societies engender a conducive space to share common interests, advance careers, and hone leadership skills. As mentioned earlier, honor societies are a lifelong commitment, with alumni playing an active role in these societies. It allows you to meet people who’ll help you grow as a student and will also help bolster your career in the future.
If you meet certain requirements, it’s likely that an honor society will send you an invitation. If they don’t, you can always apply for membership, but there’s no guarantee of acceptance. It’s also worth noting that these organizations take their memberships quite seriously, and membership will likely extend well past your college years.
What to Consider Before Joining an Honor Society?
There are tons of honor societies to choose from, and some even fit the bill of a glorified fraternity. Before joining an honor society, it’s worth noting that there’s no guarantee of being accepted into one. In fact, some people join professional fraternities for prestige.
Of course, there’s always the chance that joining an honor society could boost your CV. This makes perfect sense, but not all employers acknowledge honor societies’ memberships. Some employers just don’t care.
Of course, being a member of a prestigious fraternity will give you a clear advantage over others with some employers. Consult with your professors on whether joining an honors program might benefit your career options. They can also use their vast network to help you secure a high-paying job.
For some individuals, joining a specific honor society is part of their family tradition. In such cases, joining an honors program will have a much deeper meaning. However, honor societies are a means to an end, and not the actual end.
How to Join an Honor Society?
If you don’t get an invitation to join an honor society, you’ll have to apply to join one. To apply for honor society membership, you’ll have to pay an application fee of about $100. Avoid honor societies that don’t charge application fees.
Any honors program that is completely free to apply to may not be legitimate. Such honor societies may not have anything useful to offer, or they might be trying to rope you into a bigger scam.
That said, follow these few steps if you want to join an honor society:
Do Your Research on the Honor Society?
The first thing to do before joining an honor society is to do your homework on the honor society in question. You can start by checking out the society’s website. Keep in mind that any honors program without a working website is a huge red flag.
From the website, you’ll find tons of information about the honor society in question. You can learn about their backstory, history, and culture. You can also learn about their chapter policies and their entire list of officers.
A few things to look at are whether the professional fraternity has any actionable programs. See whether the fraternity aligns with your vision of your future and career options. This research will help you make a more informed decision when choosing an honor society.
The Application and Membership Details:
Once you find an honor society that fits your fancy, it’s time to start your application. Before you begin the application process, ensure you meet all the requirements set out by the honor society. Follow all the steps and submit your application.
Some people may be suspicious of honor societies with online applications. An online application process for something as prestigious as an honor society is the last thing you’d expect. However, don’t be too quick to dismiss honor societies with online application processes.
In the digital age, online application forms are becoming the norm, even with honor societies. Regardless of the mode of application, submit your application and wait for a response. If you get accepted, you can now think of the membership fee.
Most honors programs charge an annual or monthly fee to finance activities and society operations. However, some might charge a one-time membership fee. Once you pay the membership fee, the honor society will enroll you as a member.
In some instances, membership terms may not be too clear. If that’s the case, ask for further clarification from the honor society. Also, be sure to ask how members climb the ranks and whether there’s a democratic process for doing the same.
Arrange an In-Person Meeting:
It’s a good idea to arrange an in-person meeting with a chapter of the honor society. Some honor societies don’t have offices on campus, making it difficult to keep up with them. However, you can find any local chapter near you for a face-to-face meeting.
A face-to-face meeting will give you a firm idea of the people you’re dealing with. You’ll get first-hand experience of the honor society’s culture and its ideologies. From there, you can decide whether they align with your line of thought and whether they’re a good fit for you.
You could have subsequent meetings if you feel the first one didn’t quite hit the right notes. Remember, it’s okay to not be an inactive member of an honor society. Honor societies won’t fine you for skipping their meetings or not being super active in their activities.
Also, make sure you have easy access to a chapter in your region. This is especially true if you plan to be an active member of the honor society you’re joining.
Check Whether They’re Non-Profit:
All legitimate honor societies don’t intend to profit off of their members. As such, make sure you check that the honor society you join is a strictly non-profit organization. Ensure they keep a non-profit status; the only sure way to guarantee this is by looking at their tax returns.
What Are the Benefits of Joining an Honor Society?
If you’re still on the fence about joining an honor society, a good way to make a sound decision is to weigh the pros and cons of doing so. That said, here are a couple of benefits of joining an honor society.
Plenty of Scholarships and Grants:
Most honor societies offer scholarships and grants to their student members. These scholarships can be a huge boost to your academics and lead you down your career path. Apart from scholarships, you can also get grants to fund your academic research.
Remember, honor societies only accept exemplary students, so it’s no surprise that they give scholarships to high-achieving students. Well-known honor societies like Alpha Phi Sigma are popular for awarding large scholarships to well-deserving students. These scholarships and grants are invaluable in helping you achieve your academic goals.
Lots of Job and Internship Opportunities:
Honor societies boast robust networks of academics and professionals. These vast networks can offer both job and internship opportunities for their members. It’s obvious that members of their respective honor societies will have a clear advantage over other applicants.
Even brief internship opportunities can lay the groundwork for a bustling career in your particular niche. Landing a good job could set you up for the rest of your life.
Boosts Your Academics:
There’s no doubt that joining an honor society will help enhance your academic experience. Remember, honor societies expose you to like-minded individuals that share the same aspirations as you. Since you’re a student, this will likely be to achieve academic excellence.
Of course, this is partly because of the scholarships and grants you’ll get from these professional fraternities. It’s also because of the push and moral support you’ll get from your peers in the honor societies.
Enhances leadership Skills:
Honor societies provide the perfect platform for students and professionals to sharpen their leadership skills. You’ll get different perspectives from valuable members of society. You’ll also learn proper social skills, influence, and other leadership attributes that are imperative to molding you into a good leader.
Through events like webinars, summit events, and talks, you can talk to and learn from some notable world leaders. This will help you become the leader you’ve always wanted to be.
Honor societies are vast networks of professionals, leaders, and academics from across the country. You’ll be able to meet with many professionals and industry authorities that will help you pursue your dreams. There’s also a chance that you might land a good career or business partner if you talk to the right people.
What’s more, you can get useful tips and advice on how to propel your career or academics to the next level. There’s always something the alumni in honor societies have to offer.
Excellent Community Service:
Community service is an integral part of honor societies because these societies look to give back to the community in any way they can. By participating in things like clean-up programs, volunteer activities, and charities, you’ll be taking an active role in giving back to the community.
Helps You Build a Solid Resume:
We already mentioned that some employers prioritize giving honor society members top priority during recruitment. Being part of an honor society will give you an edge when applying for a new job. This is especially true if you’re a member of a widely recognized honor society.
Remember, most honor societies only accept exemplary students. Plus, most of these professional societies are keen on imparting proper leadership skills to their members. This will certainly give your resume a much-needed boost.
Tons of Travelling Opportunities:
Joining a good honor society can offer you the opportunity to travel across the world. This could be because of studying, attending seminars, conventions, or retreats. Regardless of the reason, professional fraternities will allow you to see the world in all its glory.
Helps Create Solid Friendships:
Some of the people you meet in honor societies might end up being lifelong friends and even partners. If you’re looking to give your social life a little more oomph, you should consider joining a reputable honor society. Plus, you’ll probably have a lot in common with other members, which increases the likelihood of a solid friendship.
Are There Any Downsides to Honor Societies?
Well, the only downside to honor societies is that there are plenty of scams out there. Unscrupulous individuals may trick you into paying for an honor society membership. You’ll end up paying a bundle for essentially nothing.
Remember, honor society membership is earned on a merit basis. You don’t have to pay your way into an honor society.
Join and Honor Society Today:
We’ve completely answered the question, what is an honor society? It’s now on you to join an honor society to experience all the range of benefits these honor societies have to offer. As long as you meet the requirements, joining a professional fraternity will be a cakewalk.
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