Are honor societies worth the cost?

Some Robinson students feel that the cost of honor societies is too expensive


Photo M. Aros

National Honor Society members attend a meeting in the cafeteria.

Morgan Brazier, Managing Editor

The fee for an honor society at Robinson tends to be about $20, a cost that isn’t a problem for most high school students. It is common for students to join honor societies and other clubs to improve their college resume and counselors and college admissions offices stress the importance of being involved with extra curricular activities such as clubs. But what happens when cost does become an issue?

Even though $20 isn’t a hefty cost for one honor society, what happens when the student is in three or four? And what about the additional fees that students are expected to come up as members of an honor society? At what point do students have to say, “Yes this would be good for college, but I just can’t afford it”?

Robinson has six honor societies that are nationally recognized: National Honor Society, Tri-M, Mu Alpha Theta, Rho Kappa, Quill and Scroll and Spanish Honor society. National Honor Society has an induction fee of $45 in addition to a $20 membership fee every year. Most students who are members of NHS are also a part of other honor societies and are therefore subject to multiple membership fees.

But National Honor Society provides many costs on its own. At Robinson, NHS members are required to have a total of 17 “points” per semester. Points are earned mostly by participating in fundraisers that the club hosts, such as canned food and toy drives.

However, students still have to pay to participate in these fundraisers, leading many students to basically pay for their points, rather than being able to participate in something like a volunteer event which would cost them nothing but time.

“With clubs like National Honor Society, it’s pretty service based so you pay for service opportunities throughout the club,” Avery Davis (’20), a NHS member, said.

So why is the cost so high? Each school chapter of an honor society has to pay a certain amount to the national organization to keep the club open at their school. This fee is paid for by charging members dues when they enter a club. The more a national organization charges its high school chapters, the more students pay.

According to Robinson’s College and Career counselor, Meredith Wright, if students are going to pay to be a member of honor societies, they also need to make an effort to be involved in the club, not just be a member in name only.

“Its really not beneficial to them if they’re not really invested in it and showing commitment to the honor society or the club- it’s not gonna pay off in the end,” Wright said.

While many students are eligible for multiple honor societies, they sometimes can’t be in all of them because entry fees and other costs add up and become too expensive.

Carly Long (’19) is a member of four honor societies and agrees that dues can be problematic. She has noticed that there are many students who opt to join science honor societies rather than math because the cost for math honor societies is so high.

“I’ve had my parents get upset at me for how much stuff I had to pay for [to be in honor societies],” Long said.

When it comes down to it, students have to make a decision about how involved they want to be in honor societies and how much money they are willing to spend.

“I think if honor societies exist to celebrate the people who really like that subject or do well in it then you shouldn’t have to pay money to be a member of it,” Long said. “If I’m really good at math and I want to be in the math honor society, I feel like my cord should be something that should just be given to me because I’ve worked for it, I deserve it so why is it just something that I pay money for and anyone can get?”