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Why You Should (and Should Not) Join an Honors Society

 Written by    March 1, 2014

In my previous blog post, I wrote about “Things to Look For Before Joining an Honors Society.” This is a follow-up to that post. Let’s say that you have researched a society and decided that it’s legit. Now the question is: how can it help you academically and socially? Before you jump the gun and enthusiastically mail off your dues, read on for several pros and cons related to joining honors societies.


  • A line on your resume: let’s be honest, the only benefit you know you’re getting for sure is a nice sentence proclaiming your academic achievement. You don’t even have to do anything; you basically pay to have your name be a part of an esteemed organization that you can bring up and talk about in interviews.
  • Opportunities for networking: no matter how hard you work, there will always be someone who achieves the same results using backdoor connections. As a student and rising professional, it’s impossible not to network every now and then. You might as well get in the habit early and build some useful relationships along the way.
  • Opportunities for leadership: if you are someone who likes to hold positions of power, then leading an honors society is pretty much as impressive as you can get. Not only are you an honors student, but you are the top honors student. That designation does not exist in the real world, so savor it while you can.
  • A chance to make an impact: like most things, honor societies are only as useful as you make them. Get involved, and you will find yourself giving back while looking good.


  • Fees: most honor societies only have a one-time enrollment fee, but if you don’t plan on getting involved then $100 can definitely seem to be a waste of money.
  • Limited activities: if you don’t intend on running for a leadership position, then you may find that the opportunities to get involved are pretty limited. Not all chapters are equally active, so you might find yourself frustrated with the lack of networking or personal impact.
  • Connections you will not use: even if you attend a networking session and collect business cards from people, there is a good chance that you will not even look at them. Finding just the right people to leverage back-door opportunities is usually much harder than it appears.
  • Commitment: with the line signaling your involvement on your resume, chances are you will not be able to avoid talking about it at one time or another (especially during interviews). If you haven’t been very involved and don’t have much (or nothing) to say, then the whole thing may end up reflecting poorly on you and your commitment to organizations.

Like all other organizations, make your involvement meaningful. Don’t join honors societies just because they are “honors.” Even if you join a bunch of societies, you won’t have anything to show for them in the end if you don’t make your enrollment worthwhile. Do some careful research beforehand, and make sure that a society is reputable, active, and beneficial to your specific academic and professional needs.

Academics, Author, Campus Life, Honors & Scholars, Student Life, Student orgs

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