High school vs. college Honor Society

The differences between the two levels of honor societies


Phi Theta Kappa meeting. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons.

McKenna Baxter, Author

Many high schools across the nation offer an academic organization called National Honor Society (NHS) or something similar to it. The most populated honor societies are often based on academics alone, though some are focused on a certain subject such as math or Spanish. However, colleges also have honor societies, and due to larger populations in college, networking and branching out can be easier among other benefits.

        The requirements for eligibility for honor societies are often similar, but there are also plenty of differences to consider. According to the NHS page on Battlefield High School’s website, “Students are inducted in the spring of their sophomore or junior year, after demonstrating that they fulfill the requirements for membership: scholarship (GPA of 3.5 or higher), leadership, character, and service.” However, the requirements for eligibility for the college Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), may be a bit more rigorous, as one must be enrolled in an institution offering an associate degree program, have completed at least 12 hours of coursework applicable to an associate degree, have a GPA of 3.5, receive an invitation of membership from the college chapter, and adhere to moral standards the society has set.

NHS is a fantastic way to meet and convene with other academically inclined students, and it also provides many opportunities to help the community by volunteering. Seniors in the NHS can also receive an NHS cord for graduation as well as having the NHS in their transcripts, which is appealing to colleges and future employers. PTK provides many similar benefits “…that will recognize your outstanding academic accomplishments and provide you with the competitive edge that helps ensure future success,” says the PTK site. Some of the benefits include a membership pin and certificate, the official PTK seal on a member’s college diploma, and official PTK commencement regalia during graduation and other ceremonies. PTK also provides members with $37 million in scholarship opportunities, exclusive access to programs that will prepare members for further studies and career success, personalized letters of recommendation for scholarships and careers, financial benefits from insurances and banks such as GEICO and Bank of America, and much more.

McKenna Morehouse, a senior and second-year member of NHS, says she would like to join a college honor society upon furthering her education. “I think academic honor societies are a great opportunity for students to make connections in their communities and further their impact. I’ve loved all the experiences I’ve had through NHS, and I plan to continue service with such organizations in college,” Morehouse says. Plenty of other students may wish to follow a path similar to that of Morehouse and keep pursuing honor societies.

If a person in the NHS wishes to continue their membership of an honor society as they further their education, joining college honor societies may prove beneficial in terms of academics, connections with others, career success, finance, and community service. They must heed the requirements for eligibility for the honor society they choose and maintain an acceptable GPA. The hard work pays off, though, for the lasting impact the honor society will have on their lives.