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What Are The Best Honor Societies in the U.S.?


Upon starting your college journey, you surely will hear all about honor societies. While all the names may sound seriously unfamiliar and foreign, these Greek names such as Sigma Xi and Tau Beta Pi are actually some of history’s oldest college honor societies. So what are the best honor societies, and what are they exactly?

An honor society is a rank organization in the United States that aims to recognize students who have excelled in a variety of circumstances and fields. Generally, honor societies invite students to join based on academic excellence, or to those who have shown impressive leadership, service, and overall character. These honor societies tend to be highly prestigious, and it can be beneficial for one’s future to take part.

College graduates who took part in prestigious honor societies

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What Are The Best Honor Societies That You Should Join?

1. Phi Beta Kappa

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is America’s oldest academic honor society, as well as one of the most prestigious honor societies. An impressive 17 U.S. presidents, 38 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and more than 130 Nobel Laureates were part of this society. Joining Phi Beta Kappa is a great way to meet other members and engage with top scholars at a variety of lectures and exhibits. Between 30 to 70 distinguished members are chosen annually.

2., one of the top honor societies, is all about the internet and the future. Upon logging into their portal, members are given useful resources, including test preparation tools, scholarship opportunities and career guides. Members can get their name out there by making blog posts on the site, and are given the chance to constantly be connected through the social media pages. For those that don’t already have such a large web presence, they can help you build your own profile to help prepare you for the work-force after college.

3. Golden Key

Founded in 1977 at Georgia State University, The Golden Key International Honor Society is the largest honor society in the world, with an impressive two million members. It is also the only one to be based on a foundation of Academics, Leadership, and Service. Many scholars, leaders, and world travellers are part of this honor society, which helps members achieve their ambitious goals through a variety of awards and scholarships. Honorary members include Bill Clinton, Ellie Wiesel, and Desmond Tutu, making it one of the most prestigious honor societies.

4. Phi Kappa Phi

Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is one of the best honor societies, and is also the most selective honor society for all academic disciplines, accepting only members in the top 7.5% of their second semester. For graduate students, they accept only the top 10 percent of students. Membership in Phi Kappa Phi not only offers priceless skills and opportunities, but money too, with a variety of grants and awards in honor of the love of learning, artistry, and literacy.

5. Gamma Beta Phi Society

Gamma Beta Phi is a non-profit and non-secret organization that is centered around education, friendship, and life. The honor society has 40,000 active members who were accepted not only based on their brainpower, but also on their motivation, good intentions, and knowledge of the Christain faith. Members are encouraged to take part in service projects and take on leadership roles, making it one of the top honor societies.

6. Alpha Lambda Delta

Founded in 1924 at the University of Illinois, Alpha Lambda Delta is a national honor society that recognizes academic excellence in the first year of college. They have more than 270 chapters across the United States, and have more than 900,000 student members.

7. Omicron Delta Kappa

Omicron Delta Kappa is the first college honor society to give recognition for leadership on a national level. More than 300,000 students from over 300 different universities and colleges across the United States have been recognized through Omicron Delta Kappa for their incredible service and leadership.

8. National Society of Collegiate Scholars

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars is an honors society for first- and second-year students that have proven themselves to be high-achieving. They provide their student members with unique opportunities for scholarships, careers, services, and leadership opportunities as well as connections for grad school, making it one of the best honor societies to join.

A proud college graduate who was a part of an honor society

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How To Tell If An Honor Society Is Legitimate?

Unfortunately, some honor societies are scams, even if it appears to be the best honor society. It’s important to check the website of the ACHS to see if they are legitimate. Ensure that they have a presence on your college campus. Try visiting their office or phoning up the head office to make sure they are legitimate.

Are Honor Societies Really Worth It?

Honor societies were founded by small groups of students and faculty to recognize academic achievement. Despite the Greek letters, honor societies are different from sororities and fraternities. Many presidents have been members, and an honor society is a celebration of academic achievement. Not only does it look great on a resume for future employers, but many also offer a variety of grants and fellowships to their deserving members.

While it can take a lot of hard work to be invited, other students are faced with the decision of whether or not to join, especially since many people are unaware of what these societies really do. Honor societies aim to bring together like-minded students who have impressive skills, and being a part is often associated with prestige. Honor societies often include many social events for networking, which can be beneficial for the future.

Honor societies of course come with no guarantees, and unfortunately are sometimes a scam. Those that join these societies can get as much as they put into it. It’s also important to note that traditional campus life also offers a wide variety of social events open to all students.

How To Choose Which Honor Society

Some students are fortunate enough to be invited to more than one honor society, and in fact, they are not limited to joining just one. Costs, however, can add up, and many of them have obligations that are quite time consuming. Make sure to do your research about an honor society prior to joining, and make sure that it matches up with your specific goals.

What Are The Costs Of Joining?

Every honor society comes with a specific fee, with the most prestigious honor societies often costing slightly more.

These fees tend to vary, but they generally range anywhere between $20-125. At, for example, the cost of joining is $60 per six months. It’s crucial that you do your homework before joining so that you are aware of all of the costs that may come about, including the fact that many of these fees are not a one-time shot.

While the sum may not seem like too much, being part of two or three surely adds up, especially when on a student budget. Some honor societies also charge chapter or national fees which could add up, which is also important to be checked prior to joining.

Weigh out the benefits and decide for yourself if joining an honor society is a worthwhile investment for you.

Academic Honor Society’s Top Chapters

University can be a life-changing experience. If you truly want to have the most enriching university experience and open as many doors as possible for yourself, then joining an honor society has your name written all over it.

Some of the top performing honor society chapters include University of Houston, Pennsylvania State University, University of Texas at San Antonio, University of Texas at El Paso, Fort Valley State University, DeVry University at North Brunswick, and Capital University.

Don’t be shy to reach out to a chapter on your campus if you are interested in joining one of the best honor societies. Good luck!