Quality, not quantity, key in joining honor societies

By Jarrod Thacker

UK students have countless extracurricular options, including various honor societies not run by the university.

Honor societies, or national student organizations that often go by Greek monikers, are groups that one can join after achieving certain academic accomplishments.

UK is home to 29 honor, leadership or recognition societies, according to the Office of Student Involvement’s website.

National honor societies often impose grade restrictions and association fees on joining members, but they include lifelong membership once students have joined.

Most societies require a GPA of anywhere from 3.3 to 3.9, and a fee from $20 to $50, according to the Student Involvement site.

Because of the overlapping conditions for enrollment in these groups, some students find themselves in multiple groups at a time.

“I’m a member of a few other national groups,” Clifford Freeman, president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, said. “A lot of it was from receiving invitations my freshman year, and you pay the money since you think it’s going to be interesting. You think that you’re special, but you get 10 more invitations and you realize it’s not that special anymore.”

Freeman said that the volume of groups to choose from doesn’t make it any less worthwhile to join one, but rather explains that you get what you put into it.

The main points of NSCS, Freeman said, are to encourage members to keep good grades, to stand out more on their resumes and to provide them with community service opportunities.

“We’re a national organization, but we have also have monthly meetings so you can get plugged in as well,” Freeman said. “Instead of just putting on your resume that you’re in this national group, you can put down the things that you’ve done.”

In addition to community service opportunities, such as working with Habitat for Humanity or planting trees on Arbor Day, NSCS members also can take part in social events, Freeman said.

Tara Dauer, a kinesiology junior and Phi Eta Sigma’s secretary, said her organization also encourages its members to participate in the community by requiring a set amount of mandatory service hours.

“We think it’s nice to have a well-rounded student at Phi Eta Sigma,” Dauer said.

She also said that she belongs to another honor organization, just as Freeman, but the group is not engaging in the same way.

It is possible to take advantage of joining multiple groups and gain access to resources previously unavailable. While there are general organizations that would seek all students who meet GPA requirements, others are specifically intended for certain professions or studies.

One such group, Beta Beta Beta, focuses on the biological sciences for undergraduates, Zaheen Rabbani, president of the group, said in an email to the Kernel.

Rabbani said there are other privileges specific to TriBeta, such as attending meetings with special guest speakers, or even the opportunity to publish student research articles in the journal specifically intended for TriBeta members, BIOS.

Honor societies can be a rewarding experience if you put effort into your membership, Freeman said.

“We’re not just asking for your money and not giving you anything in return,” Freeman said.