Honor society or honor scam?

I need advice from someone already in the nursing field. I just received a letter in the mail inviting me into my school’s honor society, but I have to pay a $25 induction fee AND sit through a ceremony and business meeting on one of my days off. I’m not too thrilled about this, so I am wondering if it is actually worth my time and money to join. Will anyone really ever care that I was in an honor society? Or is it just one of those things that’s neat to tell people, but really not worth anything?
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50 Responses to Honor society or honor scam?

  1. Kevin says:

    Hey Katie,
    Been reading your blog for some time now,  it\’s very interesting.
    I am the night supervisor for a medical and diagnostic supply company.  Anyway came across this blog thought you might like it.
     

    http://spaces.msn.com/EMTStories/

  2. Tara says:

    I joined the one at my school, and while I received a very formal letter a cute pin, i never heard anything else about it, and it did absolutely none of the things it promised me. I had to pay too. I can\’t reccomend doing it, but others may say differently.

  3. Krystal says:

    My my college i was asked into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. I had to pay money and sit threw a ceremony with candles and all. after the initation, all i ever got was emails asking for donations for all kinds of things, one plus though is it looked good on a work resume and also when you graduate you get to pay more money to get a certain tassle and recognition…so….its all up to you.

    • Nichole says:

      I am in Phi Theta Kappa and because of it I have gotten a $14,000 a year scholarship to my #1 choice college for transfer. For me, it was totally worth it.

      • Rick says:

        I am an officer with one of the chapters and if you are young and have a life ahead of you and little work background or association with other ogranizations and have the money to spend on all the stuff they want to sell you then yes it is probably worth it. But if you are an older student like I am it may not be as important except that it is nice to be recognized. I was disappointed in that I never received notifications of scholarships in a timely manner so that I missed the chance to apply for one and if you are not currently a student you are ineligible for one regardless of whether you just graduated or not. So it is really a personal choice in my opinion. I would like to add that it seems in society today that too much emphasis is placed on being a part of a club or ogranization as opposed to being a notable learner. Older students like myself have to work harder to get the grades that we do and it is more important to us to be able to use our education for something meaningful after graduation. I wish everyone well in their lives and if you do not join PTK do not think you are not still a good smart human being with worth and abilities.

      • Rick, unfortunately communication seems to still be one of the biggest struggles with the organization. However, when you received your info (if it was in the last several years) you would have received a logon for the website. Regardless of if your chapter let you know what is going on at the international level, you had the tools at your fingertips. It does not matter if you are young or old, there is plenty of to receive from the organization. At the very least, there are millions in scholarships, many of them are transfer scholarships that you get simply for being a member. Four year colleges consider it important enough that I have yet to see a transfer application that didn’t ask if the applicant is a member. Beyond that, there are also countless other leadership opportunities available to enhance your skills as a leader, an orator, and an organizer.

        I am now 35 years old, I have four kids, and on my second marriage. I joined two and a half years ago, and it has since changed my life, and is also allowing me to go to the number one transfer school of my choice.

  4. Unknown says:

    Having been a nurse for a long time, and knowing several people that did pay for it,(I didn\’t) I can tell you no one has EVER thought later it was worth it, except as something to try to impress people with. And as an administrator, I\’ve never even paid attention to the fact that they were in it. It\’s only valuable if you are planning to get your masters or Ph.d and teaching or staying in the academic setting where that is somewhat impressive. I didn\’t think it was worth it,  and I\’ve never changed my mind! But congratulations on getting asked!

  5. Unknown says:

    My honor society was called Phi Theta Kappa too. It actually got me my job. As I graduated 2 1/2 years ago then stayed home to raise my newborn twins, I applied for the ER (through a friend) and was interviewing, with NO EXPERIENCE. and I overheard them talking about me, and my future boss said "so what do you think? She\’s part of that Phi whatever thing, and took advanced cardiopulmonary…?" and I landed the job on the spot! So here\’s proof that it actually does mean something. I mean, besides the few hours and the few bucks, what else do you have to lose? Plus it gives you extra opportunities to help in the community that also looks great on your resume. Good luck! I enjoy your blog, keep up the great work : )

  6. Unknown says:

    You\’re getting off easy. MY letter to join the "honor society" was for $50. Maybe I was going to get a free dessert at the meeting? I never joined.

  7. Katie says:

    It\’s probably a scam unless it\’s affiliated with Sigma Theta Tau International. Check out their website and see if your local honor society is even recognized. Do a little research. What are the school\’s selection criteria and are they very selective???

  8. H says:

    You know since being a nurse I can say I have honestly never had anyone ask, "Are you a member of the honor society?" Most of them just ask, "Can I have something for pain?" LOL… and as for professional contacts: no they haven\’t ever asked either… all they want to know is "When can you start?"

  9. Shawn says:

    Actually Phi Theta Kappa is a very respectable honor society.  It is however what you make of it.  The Phi Theta Kappa society is usually involved in a ton of leadership and community service projects along with scholarship activities.  If you don\’t do anything while you\’re in the chapter it still looks good on a resume, but if you participate it gives you a ton of connections.

    • Angel says:

      I agree with you Shawn.
      Although I haven’t read once here yet that the only way to get in the PTK in the first place is to have held a consecutive high GPA …
      I for one am very proud of that accomplishment…

    • Rick says:

      Your words are so true shawn and a very good point. If as a student you do not have family commitments such as children or a second job that you need to do and have time between school and homework it does not hurt. But in the grand scheme of things unless the employer you are trying to work for specifically looks for it, that it really does not matter if you are a member or not. Although it offers prestige and some minor perks if you have need for them for most students trying to keep their head above water who do not come from a wealthy family or have a lot of money, the needs and demands of life will trump being a part of a honors club. Best of luck to all and a happy life.

      • That is inaccurate, Rick. There are many benefits available to members. The scholarships alone more than outweigh the costs of membership. This is coming from someone with some very big family commitments.

  10. kevin says:

    I am a member of phi theta kappa also and i can say that it is NOT a scam. I paid a one time fee of $50 and that was it. My chapter will write letters of rec. to employers if i ask them to. Ive personally had professionals tell me that when they get a resume from some one in ptk the move the resume straight to the top of the list. Thats worth the $50 alone to me.

    • Rick says:

      Also Kevin another benefit most people are not familiar with is that if you go on to achieve a bachelor’s degree and go to work for the federal government upon hire you are given a one step pay increase which is a nice benefit in recognition of former PTK status. I think this is still being done and over time is worth the initial investment of whatever your chapter charges.

  11. Jessica says:

    I got $6000 in scholarships from my phi theta kappa membership. I’d say it was worth it.

  12. Jenm9er says:

    Well I am a member of PTK and am transferring to a 4 yr. school. I had to pay $85 to become a member but it was truly worth it for me. Being a PTK member I was eligible and got a $5000 scholarship. I knew of this ahead of time and this was the reason I joined. I receive emails as well asking for donation but they are mostly for very well known causes, Relay for Life, mostly.

  13. Tasha Howell says:

    My mother is the Phi Theta Kappan President at Grossmont College. When she first arrived in office she found that it had been passed through negligent hands, however with extremely hard work and many sleepless nights she has made her schools Phi Theta Kappa what it should have been in the first place. I believe that it really depends on what school you go to, and how much effort their willing to put in. I suggest you check their activity’s out before making a decision. Yes it takes a day from you, and sure you have to pay an initiation fee- but at least in my moms case, You gain recognition all over the school, and it opens a ton of doors for scholarships, and future careers.

  14. mike says:

    I joined at Southwestern, Why, because I could! I have been in and lead many groups. One more can’t hurt. $75.00, not bad. I would pay that much to watch a monkey make love to a football.

    • Erin Coogan says:

      That is the greatest thing I have ever read on the internet…so genuine……I laughed for a while from your post! Thanks Mike!

    • Rick says:

      You made me laugh Mike. Are you studying to be a vetererian???
      Don’t forget to sign that monkey up for membership in PTK. LOL.

  15. Julia says:

    I’m a member of PTK. Yes I had to pay $50 to get in but not once did they ever make me go to any meetings. They said that they are all voluntary.

  16. joy says:

    If you get into phi theta kappa, that means that when you transfer from a two year community college you willing get scholarships. You need to check out the school. Don’t look at the fee, look at how good it will be on your transcript, resume and to a potential employer. Think long turn not the short term people.

  17. Emily says:

    I myself am a member of Phi Theta Kappa at my school and we have meetings once a month, do community service activties, and work together quite a bit outside of school! I have loved this experience. We paid 40$ but 20 of that went to supply t shirts for everyone and the rest went towards all of the activities we do! I am also the secretary of Phi Theta Kappa at my school and I have to say there is never a dull moment :) it depends on your school what all will come of it. I would recommend talking to the director at your particular school

  18. jchavez2010 says:

    I am a member of PTK and it cost me $85. Small price to pay considering I will get a $3000 renewable scholarship to a private college. It does help to have an honor society on your transcripts, but it is up to you to use the website and be interactive in searching for your scholarship opportunities. PTK also has lots of programs that really get you involved in your community and that is worth putting your time into. It looks good on your resumes and your transcripts. I would definitely recommend it.

  19. Marla says:

    I, too, was invited to join. I decided to weigh out the possibilities and talk to the advisor before I made my decision. After visiting with her, I have decided to pay the fee and take the plunge. This will look good on my resume and let me graduate with honors in May. Otherwise, the GPA won’t be high enough to graduate with honors. I think it will be worth it to me.

  20. sj filiszar says:

    I got an offer for my school’s ptk just today; and upon doing research for just a few minutes, I find that the 4-year school I plan to transfer to offers five incoming ptk transfer students a full (tuition) scholarship. That’s more than worth the $75 induction fee. I’m sure there are even more general, non-school-specific ptk scholarships I’ll be eligible for once I join.

  21. Kyle says:

    You can’t just join and expect it to help you at all. You need to use the resources that joining provides you (check their website). Being a member gets you recognition in many private schools where they will at least offer to waive application fee if you mention membership. I got a $20,000 scholarship to Bryant, although I don’t know how much of that can be credited to membership. Join if you plan to transfer and use it, otherwise it is a waste of $25-75, whatever you pay for it.

  22. Gary Shepard says:

    Frankly, as President of a Chapter, I have learned that like most opportunities. It’s what you do with it and how you use the experience. For some folks it’s a resume line item. But on the other hand, those who take the opportunity to a whole new level, they gain much!

    This is what I see with Phi Theta Kappa. If a person has an entitlement attitude; then membership in the organization will yield very little. Because, it’s really about actively engaging the society.

    And I think those who are disappointed, are those who did or do nothing with the opportunity.

  23. Jim Walczak says:

    I must admit that I too am rather skeptical about all of this. I too received “my letter” and in my case it’s $110 to join (plus an extra $20 a person for anyone else such as my wife who wishes to attend the reception/induction dinner with me)…funny how the price seems to keep going up as you read thru this blog. At the school I attend, Lorain County Community College, I have to say that the introduction meeting tonight was…less than impressive. Yes, there was some talk of some “guaranteed” scholarship money, somewhere in the neighborhood of $1000 -if- you’re going to be attending a 4 year college (I’m 46 years old so it seems rather unlikely and even with the Pell Grant, that extra thousand still doesn’t come close to covering most tuitions) but most of the emphasis seemed to be on the “fellowship” aspect of the organization. It struck me mostly as an “elitist’s social club” more than anything else…get good grades and pay your fee so you can hang out with others who get good grades and payed their fees. Other than the fee, the only difference that I could see between Phi and the other social clubs at my institution such as the “Photography Club” (where a bunch of moronic students who know -NOTHING- about photography sit around and talk about how they know NOTHING about photography) is that this Phi Theta Kappa seems to have some national organization or affiliation as well…I guess so that people from all over the country can brag to each other about their grades…

    I’m not a “social person”…I have nothing against community service (I’ve done 4 1/2 years as an animal care volunteer at a nature center and a year at the Cleveland Clinic with my oldest dog in their K9 Greeters) but very honestly I do not need others to validate my academic standing. My 3.5 GPA speaks for itself and as an artist, my portfolio speaks even louder. If social clubs are your thing and you don’t mind paying a fee to be in one, I suspect that some folks would probably get something out of it but otherwise, from what I saw at my institution this evening, it really just doesn’t seem worth the effort, let alone the money.

    • Gary Shepard says:

      I can see where you would be skeptical; in that, your chapter seems a bit disconnected. No doubt 1000 bucks is not very impressive.

      Bottom line, the general speak on scholarships has a element of hype, but that’s just one aspect.

      There is 37 million out there! but to get it, is not always as simple as saying Hi, my name is (what-ever) and I have a 3.5 or higher GPA.

      Lets get honest! Get in line! Because you literally one in of thousands! We had over 1200 in this last semester alone, on our small campus. There were about 5,000 at the national conference, and that was by enlarge chapter officers!

      Hers, the deal! I just a applied for the USA Coca-Cola Scholarship Full Ride to the University! That’s worth around 15,000. So your talking real dollars! However, the key is what makes you different that the other 100’s of 3.5+ GPA students, some even 4.0+

      Well, it will boils down to how you give back to your campus, and to your community. Your service and engagements are something bigger than yourself, and your degree. And that is the case with most scholarships. Committees are looking for well rounded individuals, that have a vision of a world beyond there educational endeavors! If that’s not you! Then so be it! And I would say that Phi Theta Kappa will do very little for you beyond a nice line item on your resume!

      Given the current economic climate! I would say a “me to” resume is not what I would want going into this competitive market!

      • Julie O'Brien says:

        Jim,

        I am a member of Phi Pi, and honestly I cannot say if I was at that meeting you attended or not. I’m sorry you walked away with such a bad impression of what Phi Theta Kappa can do and does do for its members as well as for our group.

        We are not just a social club. We do a lot of community service and plan to do even more. The purpose of Phi Theta Kappa as stated on the International PTK site is: The purpose of Phi Theta Kappa shall be to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. To achieve this purpose, Phi Theta Kappa shall provide opportunity for the development of leadership and service, for an intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals, for lively fellowship for scholars, and for stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence.

        One of our members won the Coca Cola Scholarship at graduation in 2011 for over $10,000.00. So yes, PTK is beneficial. We do socialize, that I won’t disagree with – why shouldn’t we have a good time while we’re doing something that’s good for others? I don’t consider myself “elite” as you might say. I study extremely hard to get my grades and I didn’t join PTK just to socialize with other “elite”. I consider myself someone who takes responsibility for myself and my community as many of our members do.

        As a previous poster stated, you only get out of PTK what you put into it. I know personally I never do anything half way. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some great people such as Coaches Herman Boone and Bill Yoast among others thanks to Phi Theta Kappa. I’ve had some great universities actively begging “ME” to go to their schools! I’ve helped make blankets for children at Rainbow’s and visited nursing homes to give flowers to women who’s faces lit up to know someone remembered them on Mother’s day when otherwise they were forgotten. These are just a few of the things we’ve done through Phi Pi, and I for one am proud to be a member!

      • Charles says:

        You are so, so right! You can be the smartest person in the world, but if you have nothing to show that you participated in anything, you are smart but dull and uncaring of your world around you.

  24. Marla says:

    I have been inducted into PTK and I paid the $80.00 fee! Not only is it recognition, I’ve now been inundated with universities inviting me to apply and I’ve also been updated by the organisation about the numerous scholarships that I qualify for. I am also a mentor at my college and will be graduating soon with a 4.0! Being a member is a bit of everything that I read in these posts, but its also a personal thing. With my background and at my age, yeah its bragging rights and I am damn proud. I would’ve never volunteered or even considered community service as something necessary yet, as one person said, it is an element that indicates a rounded person. Think beyond the now…. the 80.00 that I paid has worked for me and I now have over 5,000 dollars in scholarships that would’ve not been open to me were I not a member of PTK and on a side note, there are different discounts available as well in the retail world like car insurance etc. I would highly recommend you research the chapter in your college and join!!

  25. Richard says:

    Hey girl good luck,I am working on my associate degree and will be going right into my field.Paid 70 bucks.Money for further education for me is no benefit and the field I am going into is mostly men and honestly don’t think they could careless.For me its just to keep me accountable for my goal of making good grades.My Daughter was in it also,she graduated suma and that really didn’t matter some of the other girls in her class that the daughter even tutored to even pass the class got better jobs then her.Its not so much what you know but who you know.

  26. Guest Reader says:

    I’m sorry, but I think it really depends on what chapter it is and who is in it. I joined a couple of honor societies looking to do some community service and get connections with like-minded people. Truly, in regards to the ones I joined with my college, it is all hype. They put on a glamorous image, wearing suits, saying they are 4.0 GPA students, but it is all entirely incorrect and merely an image. When I joined this group and got to know these people beyond their image, I learned it was merely that – an image. I no longer want to associate with these people. Like you, I want to go into a good field. It turns out, their conversations when not around people they’re trying to impress range to the very odd. This specific chapter talks about drugs, drinking, being in jail (one in it more than once), ect. I looked into their records and it ranges from domestic violence surrounding them, numerous car tickets… Also, they are not all 4.0 GPA students. I was lied to. Being a law-abiding person and wanting to get into a good field, I cannot associate because who knows about their dirt. I know some of it is slipping out and it is startling for people around to hear in public and their heads turn sharply… It’s going down hill.

    What I’m saying is, there are absolutely great chapters out there, but I think it depends on the chapter and who is in it. When they go to events, are they actually doing anything or is it just for a presence, to SAY they did something? I know there are other great groups out there, in fact I am in some who are community-service minded and share these interests every meeting. They are constantly spreading news of who they have helped in the meetings. Groups can make a profound impact on helping the needy.

    Perhaps I have high standards, but like whenever looking for a “group” don’t be satisfied with the mediocre. If a person needs to leave groups to join other groups which they feel live up to their images, do so. Is the image REAL? Just some thoughts to ponder as you look for the best honor society/community service group for you.

  27. guest says:

    “I no longer want to associate with these people. Like you, I want to go into a good field. It turns out, their conversations when not around people they’re trying to impress range to the very odd. This specific chapter talks about drugs, drinking, being in jail (one in it more than once), ect. I looked into their records and it ranges from domestic violence surrounding them, numerous car tickets… ”

    +1 Nobody ever gets into a good field who’s talked about car tickets. Employers are however looking for experience with irrelevant snooping.

  28. Mr. President says:

    As former president of a chapter, I can say that the question of whether or not membership in PTK is worth it depends on YOU. I benefited greatly in several ways. I had the opportunity to travel to Missouri, Wyoming and Minnesota for regional and national conferences. I was able to lead the finest bunch of people I’ll ever know. Social activities we engaged in consisted of parties, bowling, and playing other school clubs in basketball. We raised money for a community center through raffles and bake sales. We offered tutoring services for students who needed help academically. I was fortunate enough to be awarded two scholarships to a four year university.

    It may not be for you. But it was for me. Talk to the chapter president and the sponsor if you’re not sure. Ask questions. Express your concerns. Then decide.

  29. Kenneth Cooper says:

    How about Bakersfield College’s PTK program, anyone Familiar with it, I just got the letter and pamphlet explaining everything they offer, It looks legit and even has local phone numbers along with a unique web address for me to join online, Just wondering a lot of you are saying it depends on the school so I am wondering about mine, I do know we are one of three JC’s in California that are accredited which they announced Wednesday, I know it helps to come from an accredited school so I am wondering If the 75 dollars they are asking for will be worth it for me, anyone of you Have any advice, Money is pretty tight right now but If it’s worth it I would drop the 75 on it.

    • lilk8tob says:

      Thanks for the comment- sorry I don’t have any advice though- I never did sign up for the honor society.

    • I cannot speak of the individual chapter, but the international program itself makes it worthwhile regardless.of the chapter. If the chapter is a good one, then all the better. The best advice I can give you on it is look into any of the schools you might want to transfer to and see if the transfer applications ask if you are a member, and see if they offer transfer scholarships. There is so much more to the organization if you truly get involved, but at the very least the scholarships make it more than a good idea.

  30. KT says:

    It is what you make of it. I’m an alum of many years and I can tell you it opened many doors for me. I still get together with my old board on a regular basis and we make a habit of serving at the Induction Ceremony. If you just sit back and expect things to happen you will be sorely disappointed. If you get in there and lend a hand (a little bit on a regular basis); you will get a huge return on your investment.

  31. Robert says:

    Yeah, what does Phi Theta Kappa do? I usually don’t get suckered but staff, and professors told me how good it was. Ok I paid the $85 dollars at Junior College level. Six months later at University Level at University of Houston another $80. Now twelve months past and for my $165 I receive only emails asking me to buy some stupid over price shirt or shorts with a logo. Oh I forgot I did get a certificate saying I’m a Phi Theta Member , and this occurred 8 months after graduating with high honors. When I ask about the initially advertised benefits and scholarship opportunities I get no answers. Hey why should they answer? I was a fool and they already have my $165.00 so they need not reply. DONT JOIN!!!!

  32. Billy says:

    You have to do a little work, Like log in to the website. http://www.ptk.org there you can apply for scholarships and get the benefits of membership. The rewards are tremendous. You have to maintain your grades. The headquarters phone numbers and the regional coordinators numbers are listed as well on the website. I suggest that you start there, they will be glad to help you. I am going to school on a full scholarship thanks to Phi Theta Kappa. I paid 100$ for my membership and would have paid more.

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