Honor societies have long had the reputation of being prestigious groups that are for select elite students. While this does hold some truth, many students have the opportunity to join during their college years.
What is an honor society? An honor society is an organization that seeks to group together people with academic merit, leadership abilities or other similar interests, such as specific professions.
Many of these societies are named after the Greek alphabet, and an invitation is usually required to join. There is also always a fee that must be paid to join the society, and then there is usually a smaller membership fee to pay to renew status each semester.
At Sonoma State University, there are various academic honor societies to join that are related to different majors and areas of study. With the required GPA, students could be eligible to join the honor society that correlates with their degree. The GPA requirement varies from a 3.0 to a 3.5 minimum.
Also, Sigma Alpha Lambda is an honor society that focuses on leadership. This organization is invitation only, but if one is interested in joining, students can go to their website and request an invitation.
Being in an honor society has many pros and cons. One of the most sought after benefits of being in an honor society myself, is the ability to put it on a résumé. In college, nearly everyone is looking for ways to make their resume stand out from the rest.
According to the Labor Bureau of Statistics, 65.9 percent of American high school students attended college the fall semester following their spring graduation in 2013.
With majority of students attending college, and an increasingly more competitive job market, graduates need more than just their degree to be hired.
Other advantages of being involved in an honor society are the networking possibilities. Once membership is granted, it lasts a lifetime. Alumni come back to school for events and ceremonies, which allows the younger members to meet people who are in their specific field of interest.
With the right connections, a job application could be moved to the top of a pile, a recommendation could be made or an open position could be saved. It also provides an opportunity to network with other students on campus that have similar goals and interests.
Though honor societies appear to come with many rewards, there are also a couple of downsides. One of the biggest turn-offs from joining one can be the price. They are not cheap.
The dues range anywhere from $25 to $120. There is usually a renewal fee each semester that ranges from $5 to $50.
These fees often can seem steep, especially for the organizations that do not require any real involvement aside from the initiation ceremony. However, other organizations do host events, some social and some philanthropic, and the dues help pay for the necessary resources to put on those events.
Having an honor society on a résumé can definitely be a conversation starter in a job interview.
This can be good or bad. If there was limited involvement required to be an active member, then it may be awkward when the employer asks about it. But, it can look extremely positive if you can discuss different events you partook in throughout your time in the organization, or some of the people you were able to meet.
In general, it seems that when invited to join an honor society, the pros outweigh the cons. In this dog-eat-dog society, any opportunity to improve your résumé and provide an edge over other applicants is highly recommended.