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Joining Honor Societies

High School Honor Societies Help With College Admissions - by Kathe Lee

It is time to think about your HS Resume and how it will look to college admission officers.  

Honor Societies look great on a resume or college application. This year, you will get emails and letters from companies inviting you to join their clubs & societies. Some are good, some are not, and some are a matter neither. 

GOOD -  Programs like Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS),  Eta Sigma Alpha (ETA). and National Society High School Scholars (NSHSS) are excellent societies to join. These honor societies are well known and respected. They require you to do more than just pay a fee to join so plan to spend some time getting in.  Once you do get in, they provide summer programs and volunteer opportunities. These should be your target.

BAD - I won't name names but if you get an invitation from an Honor Society and they are charging you more than $100 or if they want you to pay annually, then I would be suspicious.  Feel free to forward any emailed invitations to us and we will give you feedback.

NEITHER - Programs like Society of Collegiate Leadership & Achievement (SCLA) and Nat'l Society of Leadership make their money from signing kids up. But they are legit and the cost is only $95 one time so these orgs may be a reasonable expense just to be able to put them on your resume.  Plus they do have some associated volunteer opportunities.

INDIVIDUAL - There is another group of HSs that are associated with specific skills like Spanish, Latin, Theater, Speech & Debate, Math, Science, History, etc.  I would say that groups likes this are a good options in general but I put them here since they are truly optional.

Beyond PTK, NSCS, ETA and NSHSS, I personally never recommend against or for an honor society. But there are some obvious red flags. If an Honor Society has a low cost, and if that cost is a one time fee, then I'd probably go for it, especially if they offer summer camps, volunteer ops, or scholarships. No harm and possible upside, especially if you run for an office or attend meetings or volunteer with them!

Warning! What to Watch For


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