Did you get an envelope?
It is that time of year when students receive notifications that they have made a collegiate scholar society. The cream-colored linen envelope arrives with its gold embossed logo of said scholar society organization makes me smile just thinking about it. As a parent, you do a mental cartwheel as you see the invitation; as you should. Then take a breath and read the fine print carefully. There are many Honor Societies and it is important to be aware of what stands behind each of the various invitations to join. Educate yourself as to what they provide in exchange for this membership. Honestly, there are many organizations on campus that your student can get involved with that will be far more beneficial to their resume and postgraduate application than membership in a society that profit from the fees they collect. Read their annual report to see how much of their revenue goes toward administrative fees, just as you would with a charity you are vetting.
I am not trying to diminish the euphoric moment you are feeling. The question is at what cost should you be pleased and will it make a difference when they graduate? Every college at FSU has a dean’s list with differing requirements. You do not pay money to be on this Dean’s List. When your student graduates, if their overall GPA is 3.5 or higher, they will be eligible for a color chord (which you will then pay money for them to wear and ultimately keep).
Rolling in Honor
It is wonderful as a parent to be able to brag about our kid’s achievements. How many times, when your child was in elementary school, did you see a car adorned with the My Kid Made the Honor Roll at (fill in the blank) Elementary School? And your child was proud and perhaps you made it a big deal. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with rewarding a student for a strong performance. But, aside from having to pay for the bumper sticker/pennant/keychain or whatever specialty items you bought so that everyone would know your student’s achievement, it did not cost you any additional monies.
If it is important to your student (and you) to accept membership because the benefits outweigh the costs, by all means, go ahead and join. FSU also has several chapters of national honor/scholar societies (most of which do not cost or have a small fee upon induction), a list of which you can find here and here. There is also the Garnet & Gold Key Leadership Honor Society that students need to apply for. The requirements for this are 3.0 GPA, 45 completed academic hours and proof of leadership in two areas. The National Society of Collegiate Scholars is one of those which invite freshman and sophomores with at least a 3.4 GPA and be in the top 20% of their class, into their society. The lifetime membership fee is $95 paid only once and allows access to career resources, networking, special programs and discounts for specific services and products as well as scholarships; according to their website.
FSU also offers the Garnet & Gold Scholar Society which isn’t actually an honor society but does provide some of the same types of recognition upon graduation. Students must provide an Intent to Participate, selecting three areas in which they will engage and have the remainder of their time at FSU to complete them. The Intent to Participate does not guarantee admittance into the society.
Have we gotten to the place where we are willing to pay money to legitimize our students’ scholastic efforts? I would like to believe not, but then again they are of the generation where everyone receives a trophy just for participating. FSU offers plenty of opportunities to qualify for one of the many honor societies, but we also cannot discount being able to graduate from FSU as one of the honor levels including cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude will not cost you any money and will give your student and you bragging rights.
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