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The Benefits of Joining a National Honor Society in College

Aug 29, 2013 • Loretta Kay • College Tips
Networking is a perk of joining a national honor society.

Networking is a perk of joining a national honor society.

Thought you left academic honors societies behind with high school? Think again! There are many college honor societies that recognize excellence in academics, character, and service.

In high school, I loved being a part of the National Honor Society because it made me feel like I was a member of a supportive community. Now that I’m a college student, I would love to join a higher-ed honor society because they offer the same sense of belonging along with many scholarship and leadership opportunities.

Many college honor societies are open only to upperclassmen, but there are a few big ones that I’m considering once I’ve completed enough coursework. They each offer their own unique benefits. Depending on what you’re looking for in a national honor society, one of these might be a good fit for you!

For a global alumni network: The Golden Key International Honour Society

Some of my friends have joined The Golden Key, which is the world’s largest honor society. It’s very prestigious and offers a wide variety of scholarships, opportunities, and events and connects you to a global network of alumni. If your campus has a chapter, you will be invited if you are a sophomore, junior, or senior in the top 15 percent of your class. Membership fees vary depending on your chapter.

For leadership experience: Alpha Chi

Alpha Chi is a national honor society for general academic excellence. Its members are very involved in the society, and I would love the chance to submit to its publications. If you’re interested in assuming a leadership position or gaining work experience, you’ll have ample opportunity to lead local chapters, present at events, and submit to Alpha Chi publications. Chapters invite the top 10 percent of a college’s upperclassmen and graduate students. Lifetime membership costs $40.

For academic prestige: PBK (Phi Beta Kappa)

Phi Beta Kappa is one of the oldest and best-known college honor societies, honoring exceptional academic achievement. Its large community provides a lot of networking opportunities, a variety of discounts, and the chance to meet many interesting people (the alumni network includes Bill Clinton and Condoleezza Rice!). Phi Beta Kappa has very high standards for qualification, including “good moral character” and a certain amount of foreign language study, and therefore is quite difficult to get into. If you’re asked to join, lifetime membership requires a one-time $100 fee.

For a commitment to community service: NSCS (The National Society of Collegiate Scholars)

This is an organization meant to recognize leadership and community service in addition to academics. Its focus is more on overall integrity and achievement than on just academics, which is why I want to join it. I think being well-rounded is important, and I’d like to meet other students who are interested in community service as much as academic achievement. In addition to offering a large amount of scholarship money for its members, NSCS provides community service and leadership opportunities, such as a mentoring program and seminars on leadership skills. Schools with NSCS chapters invite students with a 3.4 GPA or higher. There is an initiation fee of $95.

These are just a few of the many college national honor societies out there. There are many more, including those honoring more specific levels of achievement, such as in math or in international study, which can be found at The Association of College Honor Societies. I hope to join a journalism society at my school, and I would be honored to be invited to any one of these prestigious organizations.

Image source: Flickr

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Loretta Kay

Loretta Kay

Loretta is a student at Emerson College majoring in writing, literature, and publishing. Her favorite books are "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" by Bill Bryson, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" by Michael Chabon, and Norton Juster's "The Phantom Tollbooth".

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