It’s a sad truth; the world is filled with scams and scam artists. We’re bombarded with emails and phone calls that begin, “Congratulations! You’ve been selected for [fill in the blank].” Hopefully, you’ve been schooled from an early age to be skeptical of unsolicited offers, or ones that seem too good to be true. You’re savvy enough to know that a Nigerian lawyer hasn’t really discovered an unclaimed inheritance in your name and Microsoft isn’t really calling you to provide unrequested tech support.
Sorting truth from fiction, and legitimate opportunities from scams, is an important life skill. But there’s a downside to this learned cynicism. Sometimes, it causes us to ignore or dismiss offers that are truly valuable. For too many high-achieving college students, joining a reputable National Honor Society is one of those opportunities. Yes, there are some “fake” honor societies that want nothing more than for you to write a check and have you stick their name on your resume. But there are fraudulent businesses of every type. Hopefully, you haven’t stopped giving to all charities just because you heard about a few that are scams. The truth is that there are many very “real” collegiate honor societies that offer serious value to their members. If you’re fortunate enough to have received an invitation to join one, by all means, give it the careful consideration it deserves.
Just ask Alex Rye, from Michigan State University, who is a member of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). He says, “NSCS paid off tremendously, and it’s developed me as a person, not just as a student. It’s brought me out of my shell as a president and an officer.”
As Alex knows, deciding to join NSCS was a smart choice. The same may be true for you. Being a member of an honor society can pay off in a surprising number of ways. Here’s how:
Is the Honor Society Legit?
Before you submit that payment, do your homework. Just like you can investigate whether your doctor is board certified, or if the college you’re attending is accredited, you can also check to see if the honor society you’ve been invited to join is “for real.”
NSCS, the honor society Alex chose to join, is a 501c3 registered nonprofit with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. It’s also a certified member of the Association of College Honor Societies, a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Association of American Colleges and Universities, American Association of Community Colleges and certified FERPA compliant by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. There’s nothing “fake” about those credentials!
NSCS’s founder, Steve Loflin, holds a Masters in Higher Education and has spent more than 25 years working on campuses in student affairs. While pursuing his graduate degree, his focus on the first-year student experience brought to his attention the need to better recognize those students who most successfully make the academic transition from high school to college. Built upon the pillars of scholarship, leadership and community service, he founded NSCS to honor and those students and offer them a means to further enrich their college experience through membership in an elite organization.
Okay, It’s Legit. Why Join?
Clubs, parties, athletics, Greek life…they all beckon. As a top student, it seems like you’ve nailed the right balance. So why consider adding membership in an honor society, like NCSC, into an already full schedule?
Here are five reasons:
1) Scholarships! Get exclusive access to money available only to members.
Here’s a no-brainer and the number one reason why students join National Honor Societies. Scholarships! NSCS grants about $1 million in undergraduate awards each year. Other college honor societies also offer scholarships, but you’ll find that NSCS’s program is one of the most generous. The online application process is relatively easy and straight forward; search for scholarships that match your situation and need.
2) Tap into networking resources, career advice and more.
Whether you plan to immediately join the work force upon graduation or continue your education, the long-term goal of these four years is the same – to prepare and help launch you into the career of your dreams.
Your campus’ career counseling services are there to help; so is NSCS! It offers a slew of online educational and counseling resource exclusively to members, and they’re available on-demand, for access anytime that’s convenient for you – not just during the hours your counseling center is open. Get expert advice on how to create a resume or improve your LinkedIn profile. What should a cover letter say? What is proper thank-you note etiquette? How about some tips and tricks for reducing student debt? Or a webinar with a veteran career counselor? Plus, NSCS’s biweekly student newsletter provides valuable articles and insights.
We also have a LinkedIn group that brings together NSCS students and alumni for networking opportunities.
3) Distinguish yourself from other students when applying for jobs
Let’s face it. Even with the best career services and networking resources available, the job market is still cutthroat. Unemployment rates may be low, but the “underemployment” rate is not. And that number is even higher for recent college grads. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that over 40% of Americans ages 22 to 27 with at least a bachelor’s degree are working in jobs that don’t require any degree at all. After four hard years of academic achievement, you don’t want to be working retail or serving lattes.
Career coaches and recruiters agree that early on, a GPA above 3.5 is an important differentiator that can give you a competitive edge and help land you an interview. Without a lengthy employment history, your GPA is one of the best indicators to employers that you’re a high achiever and, when included on a resume, can help move it to the top of the stack. But after several in the workforce, including a GPA on a resume becomes less relevant, and can even seem odd. Membership in an honor society is way to continue to highlight your “smarts” to potential employers. Executive resume writer, Laura Smith-Proulx says, “If a candidate has consistently earned honors, such as Dean’s List or membership to an honor society, this can be mentioned on the resume years after the GPA would be relevant.” In addition, she says, “Honor societies are sometimes seen as great networking resources or an indicator of leadership.”
There’s good reason for those perceptions. Organizations like NSCS provide plenty of opportunities to develop leadership and other skills that may be directly related to your career. Depending on how you chose to become involved, you can hone your skills in social media, event planning, public speaking, community service and outreach, as an elected officer, and so much more. These can give you a leg up over other job applicants.
4) Gain a sense of community with like-minded students
Exposure to diversity is an important part of the college experience, learning and living with classmates from very different backgrounds than your own. It can also make a campus feel overwhelming. Joining clubs and organizations for students who share your interests or values is a natural opportunity to develop friendships, a sense of belonging and be part of a smaller, like-minded community.
NSCS brings together students who share your love of learning and a desire “to make a difference,” while giving you an opportunity to connect with students from every major and every class level. Sophomores through seniors in engineering, b-school, pre-med, English lit – they’re all a part of NSCS. These are top students – like yourself – with whom you might not ever otherwise cross paths. So, while joining this honor society can offer the benefits of being part of a smaller community, its ability to introduce you to classmates with such a broad range of academic interests can simultaneously broaden your horizons. It’s the best of what college has to offer.
5) Go beyond the ordinary college experience
What happens when you bring together your campus’ best and brightest? The sky’s the limit! What’s unique about NSCS is that each chapter has the freedom to forge its own path, but with the shared resources and support of the national organization. Some chapters are actively involved in local community service, from beach clean-ups to food drives. Others organize fundraising events in support of national causes. Some partner with nearby sister chapters for social events and mini conferences. Others host academic speakers, or coordinate exclusive events like “dinner with the University President.” The beauty of NSCS is that you have the power to make of it what you want. And, if your campus’ chapter hasn’t been particularly active in recent years, here’s your chance to leverage the potential of a bunch of high achievers to change that! The national organization and your campus’ faculty adviser are there to help.
National Collegiate Honor Societies are No Scam
Let’s recap. You should think twice before throwing out that invitation to join a National Honor Society. In truth, many are the real-deal and can play a meaningful role in enhancing your college experience. Joining NSCS is worth it. The real scam would be missing out on this exclusive opportunity due to misguided skepticism and lack of information. Joining a “good one” is a great decision. Don’t take our word for it – check out Verified.org and their article on how to avoid honor society scams.
The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is an honors organization, boasting 320 plus chapter nationwide, that recognizes high-achieving first-and second-year students. With its three pillars of scholarship, leadership, and service, NSCS is proud to provide career and graduate school connections, leadership and service experiences, practical and skills-based content, access to discounts and savings, and over a million dollars in scholarships, chapter funds and awards annually. To learn more about joining the NSCS honors society, visit us at http://www.nscs.org/join.
The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is an ACHS accredited, legitimate, 501c3 registered non-profit organization with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.