Joining an Honor Society
Receiving an invitation to join an Honor Society is a great recognition. It can help you enhance your professional development and leadership skills, get access to scholarships, and meet long-term goals. However, it is important to know that the societies you choose to join will actually provide you with these opportunities, and that they don't exist just to make a profit. In the Honors College, we are the home to a number of prestigious Honor Societies, including Alpha Lambda Delta – Pi Eta Sigma (ALD-PES), Mortar Board Fayetta Paulsen Chapter, and Phi Kappa Phi. You do not need to be a member of the Honors College to join. Keep in mind there are other Honor Societies on campus, as well as a plethora of other student organizations to join. You can see a full list here.
ALD-PES is an Honors Society that recognizes those students who have achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher during their first academic year as a full time student. This organization combines both the Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma chapters at Bowling Green State University.
Mortar Board is the premier national Honor Society recognizing college seniors for superior achievement in scholarship, leadership, and service. Membership is synonymous with dedication and success. Only a select few students on each campus are invited to join this esteemed society, an honor that places them among the most amazing college scholar-leaders in the U.S.
Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective Honor Society not limited by academic discipline, was founded in 1897. The society’s mission is to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify.
How do I know if an Honor Society is Legitimate?
It can be challenging to differentiate legitimate Honor Societies from those that are scams. It's not unusual to receive a letter in the mail or to your BGSU email inviting you to join a 'prestigious' group, and it usually comes with a price tag. There are a few ways to quickly check to see if it's an organization you might be interested in joining.
- Do a quick internet search of the organization name with the word "scam" after it. See what comes up in your search, and use your critical thinking skills to look through all of the information.
- Check the BGSU list of registered Student Organizations. Is there a campus chapter of the group listed? You can also try an internet search for the organization name and "BGSU" together.
- Do a check to see if there are bylaws of the organization, a financial disclosure, and if it's a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Just because a website is .org doesn't mean the organization is a non-profit.
- Check the database on the Association of Collegiate Honor Societies. This organization 'certifies' Honor Societies. Not every legitimate society will show up on their database, but it's another place to look.
Potential Red Flags:
- The mailing address of the organization only has a P.O. Box.
- The by-laws and other important information (like staff names, criteria for membership, chapter policies and procedures) are missing from the website.
- There is no CEO listed and/or their contact information is not present.
- The eligibility for acceptance into the organization is vague or flexible.
- The application is online only - legitimate groups are by invitation only.
- There is no chapter structure at BGSU.
Some of the information above is from the Association of College Honor Societies