I've been invited to join the honor society at my new college. I have heard that these required extra work and don't provide any real benefit. Are honor societies really worth it in the long run? If I do join, how can I get the most from the extra work required?
It's true that not all honors societies are worthwhile, but some of them do have the potential to benefit your future in academics or the job world. Leadership positions in reputable honors societies can be impressive credentials. If end up joining, I'd recommend aiming for a leadership role to get the most out of the experience.
If you know what to look for, you should be able to determine whether the honors society you're thinking of joining is worth your time. Qualities of a reputable honors society should include all or most of the following:
- Minimum GPA requirements (usually 3.5 or higher)
- A clearly-stated academic perspective and purpose that is reflected in the meetings and activities (not just a glorified social club)
History (if it's been around for a
long time, this usually indicates
value and reputability)
- Well-known, respected advisor(s)
- Asked you to join sophomore year or later
The last point is what would concern me about the honors society you're thinking of joining. If by "new college" you mean the college where you just started as a freshman this past year, I would hold off on joining. It's a little fishy for honors societies to ask you to join after just one semester of college, since you haven't really had a chance to show your long-term academic potential yet.