Thursday, January 31, 2008

Is this honor society legitimate?

Several people who have found my posts about the National Dean's List have e-mailed me wondering about the legitimacy of other collegiate honor societies. The Association of College Honor Societies offers guidelines for thinking about organizational credibility. The ACHS also has a list of its member organizations. Absence from that list doesn't mean that an organization lacks legitimacy — Phi Beta Kappa, for one, is missing — but the list, along with the guidelines, some online investigation, and the advice of a trusted professor or two or three, can help a student come to a sound decision about whether to pay up. The National Society of Collegiate Scholars? Legit. The National Scholars Honor Society? You might choose to walk on by.

Speaking as a prof, I'd say that a college- or department-level award, a few semesters on your neighborhood Dean's List, and some strong letters of recommendation will mean much more to someone looking at your academic record than generic honors will. You can use the money you're saving on membership to buy clothes for your interviews or, if you're a dachshund, to buy chew toys!

Related posts
The National Dean's List
The National Dean's List again
The National Dean's List is dead

comments: 2

lesle said...

Michael, anent Dean's Lists, a true story.

Some years ago, mid-70s actually, I worked for our local Community College and for a research project went through all the records of past and present students of our then 10-year old College.

I ran across one student who had first attended another Community College a few counties away, done very badly, dropped out, then after a year had enrolled in our Community College.

The year off obviously did him good: he did very well. So well, in fact, that he made the Dean's List.

HOWEVER, his cumulative GPA was so bad that he was simultaneously put on Academic Probation!

True story.

Michael Leddy said...

Sigh. I've known students in similar situations, coming back from being way down in the hole. It saddens me when administrative people can't bend a little when considering such a clear turnaround.