Did you get a letter?
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 either 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 UCF has a dean’s list with differing requirements. You do not pay money to be on this Dean’s List. Students will have had to earn a minimum 3.4 GPA, complete a minimum of 12 credit hours, earn no grade less than “C” (2.0) and no “I,” “U,” “N,” “NC,” or “WF” grades during a term. Upon graduation, they will be eligible for a color chord (which you will then pay money for them to wear and ultimately keep). The UCF President’s Honor Roll Certificate is for students who maintain a 4.0 GPA.
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. UCF also has several chapters of national honor/scholar societies; some based on their major or the college within which they are studying. Most are by invitation only and are at no cost to members. The Golden Key Honour Society also requires an invitation and there is no cost for membership. There is also the Phi Kappa Phi Society. The National Society of Collegiate Scholars is one of those which invite students with at least a 3.4 GPA 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.
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. UCF offers plenty of opportunities to qualify for one of the many honor societies, but we also cannot discount being able to graduate from UCF 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.