Do honors societies matter to grownups?
September 28, 2010 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Are honors societies helpful for adult students who already have years of job experience?

I'm in my thirties, and I went back to school to complete my undergrad. I'm now a junior in a computing major with a high gpa. I have also been working for the same company for 11 years, in a field that is related to my major. My school is for non-traditional students, and has a lot of distance learners.

In the past week, I've received 3 invitations to honors societies -- one for computing majors (Upsilon Pi Epsilon), one for adult learners (Alpha Sigma Lambda), and one that's more general. All of them have an application fee, and one has yearly dues.

How can I tell which ones are legit, and which are more like the "Who's Who of College Students"? Even if they are legit, would any of them be helpful, resume-wise? I take most of my classes online or at a satellite campus, even if there were any on-campus events for the society, I most likely would not attend. I get tuition reimbursement from my employer, so right now I don't need a scholarship, but I suppose that might change in the future.
posted by anonymous to Education (5 answers total)
ASL is very legit.
posted by jgirl at 10:12 AM on September 28, 2010

I say it's all crap, save your money. An internship at a good company will get you some dap. Greek-letter organizations will get your prospective employers to scratch their heads a bit, if that. Hell, I've even met managers who are biased *against* such organizations. But, that's not typical.
posted by Citrus at 11:50 AM on September 28, 2010

Legit is not the same as useful. I've never been influenced by this sort of thing when perusing resumes. I mean, you pay to join. Why would that impress me any more than subscribing to Reader's Digest?
posted by chairface at 11:52 AM on September 28, 2010

I'm in a similar situation to you, and I just joined a pre-health honor society. I don't think it's going to help much with getting a job, but I value it for a few other things:
-networking opportunities
-inside info on charting a course to grad school
-service opportunities
-encouragement from a lot of people interested in academic success
posted by TungstenChef at 12:15 PM on September 28, 2010

Check out some meetings to see if the social and informational aspects are useful; that's going to be very school-by-school, and year-by-year.

If UPE has a high GPA threshhold, it could be useful as an indicator of that, for the moment, and after graduation as well especially if your school lacks latin honors or if awards cum laude too generously but you doubt you'll make magna. You'll still have to parenthetical the nature of the society and its membership criteria on your resume, since few people will likely know.
posted by MattD at 6:07 PM on September 28, 2010

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