My Student Made Honor Roll
It’s always something of a goosebumps moment when a gold-embossed, cream-colored, linen envelope arrives in the mail. At this time of year, that envelope often contains notification from a collegiate honor society. Yowza!!…it’s a happy parent day! Take it from me, there’s nothing wrong with setting that envelope on your table next to the vase of flowers or candles and just enjoying its ornate and rewarding looks for an hour or so. What can I say? We all do eye candy differently.
Then it’s time to get real. And getting real means reading the fine print carefully. When your student gets an invitation to join one of these scholarly Honor Societies, you’ll need to educate yourself as to what they provide in exchange for the proffered membership. Start by reading their annual report to see how much of their revenue goes toward administrative fees (or a profit), just as you would with any charity you are vetting. And don’t be afraid to ask for input from those who know best. When my daughter started receiving her invitations, I was able to private message the Honors Advisors via their Facebook page to ask for advice. Their insight and experience helped us make the best choices.
UF Honor Proud
I am not trying to diminish the euphoria of this moment. You SHOULD be proud. Your pride in your student started with the hard work and achievement that made them a Gator, and continues as they put in the effort required for them to remain and graduate a Gator. But it’s important to note that the University itself provides recognition for these, their highly achieving students — before you start paying for extra honor. Every college at UF has a Dean’s List, each with unique requirements. UF has a President’s Honor Roll as well, and that achievement appears, permanently recorded, on the student’s transcript. There is no fee for these accolades, and they are the kinds of achievement that bring respect and reward on both resumes and graduate applications.
Being able to graduate from UF at one of the honor levels, including cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude, comes with all the bragging rights and no additional fees. If, when your student graduates, their overall GPA is 3.5 or higher, they will also be eligible for a color cord which you will then purchase as a part of their graduation regalia. And if your student is a member of the UF Honors program and completes the requirements, they will receive a notation on their official UF transcript and a medallion to wear at commencement.
Another uniquely Florida honor bestowed by a UF organization is Florida Blue Key. It’s the oldest leadership honorary in the state of Florida, founded in 1923, and requires application.
More Honors Awareness
Knowing all this, you can assess each invitation for how it could best benefit your student. You might start by looking up the chapters of national honor/scholar societies that UF has listed on its website as an organization. The National Society of Collegiate Scholars is one of those. They invite freshmen and sophomores with at least a 3.4 GPA into their society. With a one-time fee of $95, your student can access scholarships, career resources, networking, as well as special programs and discounts for specific services and products.
Also considered of value are Phi Kappa Phi/Phi Theta Kappa Honor Societies. These are prestigious non-liberal arts and liberal arts societies, respectively, and will appear on your transcript. Any of the laudatory organizations offered by your major or college can also be beneficial, especially if they have recognition in the field your student intends to pursue. In this same vein, there are additional organizations on campus that your student can get involved with for similar benefit.
So, go ahead, enjoy that lovely envelope and all the hard work it signifies and the pride it instills. Then do an honest assessment of its cost and real worth. If it’s important to your student (and you) to accept the membership because the benefits outweigh the costs, by all means, go ahead and join.They did their homework, you did yours, and let the laurels rest where they may!
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