Honor society: the game of the name

A Richland honors student recently alerted the Richland Honors Academy faculty about an email membership invitation from the organization Honor Society.org, which is not related to the college in any way. The email mentions DCCCD Honor Society.org Network and the Dallas County Community College District in its invitation.

Alessandra Rodrigues is editor-in-chief of the Richland Chronicle and one of the Richland students who received the email invitation. She was cautious about the email. 

“I was checking my spam box and I found those emails marked as DCCCD network,” Rodriques said. “Even though all my DCCCD emails go straight to my inbox, I thought they were reliable. I decided to go to the Honors Academy office to ask about it just to make sure. I went there and talked to Stephen Salle and he said it’s not related to the Honors Academy and I should be careful with those websites.”

According to their website, the organization promises to “facilitate members to realize their highest potential through the advancement of academics, leadership and networking.” The organization charges a $50 membership fee twice each year.    

The website lists “great privileges” for its members, including access to exclusive scholarship listings, career insider guide books and tools, health discount plans, priority admission opportunities and waived application fees to global internship programs, Honors Society regalia, and dining discounts at 18,000 restaurants nationwide. 

The website features photos of member trips and other programs.  It also has social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.  

“The site is unsolicited, which means you have to be very careful,” said Stephen Salle, Richland Honors adviser. “But we are unsure whether we could call it bogus at this point. We must be careful on what we know about the company and their intentions.”

“I would ask students to check with the Richland website before spending any money on an honor society,” said Honors Academy Coordinator, Kathleen Sullivan Stephens, Ph.D. “Students can search on the Richland website to find that Phi Theta Kappa, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Honors Academy are all legitimate. Students can also ask their instructors or advisers if an honor
society is legitimate.” 

To be a part of Richland Honors Academy, current students must have completed nine college-level credit hours with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 or better. Transfer students must have the same GPA with at least 12 credit hours from a U.S. institution in college-level courses; and submission of official college transcripts. There is no charge for participation. 

Honors Academy students who have a GPA of 3.5 or greater and are taking at least one honors course as part of a full-time (12 hours) class load at Richland are eligible to compete for a $500 scholarship offered each semester. 

Students interested in honors organizations are urged to do background research and check reviews on all organizations before applying. The Association of College Honor Societies website is a credible resource to check honor organizations. It outlines the criteria for students interested in joining these groups so they can judge the credibility of the organizations. 

 “The Richland honor societies Phi Theta Kappa and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars have scholarship opportunities for their members as does the Honors Academy on campus,” Stephens said.

For information on legitimate Richland honors organizations, see: 

https://richlandcollege.edu/honors-academy/