Obscure Honors Society: Worthwhile Investment or Complete Scam?
August 20, 2011 3:53 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever heard of Sigma Alpha Pi? Not a frat or sorority, but a "society of leadership and success" is what they call themselves. I was asked to join my university's chapter. Is it worth it?

I am tempted just to ignore this, because A) they are giving the same kind of hard sell that I got with those worthless "Who's Who" listings. B) I graduate in a semester. C) I'm a studio art major.

However, the two things that are making me wonder are: I'm applying for grad school. I am a good student (Honors Program, will graduate summa cum laude), but I am coming from a small, unheard of school, so anything to give me a leg up. And also, they tout their job listings, and I would love to work as a professor. (However, an art professor, so again, is this a dead end? Also, most visual art schools admit based on portfolio, not grades or academics. I'm thinking the best that this society could get me is to be more likely to get a fellowship or grant money? Maybe?)

Anyway, it costs $85 and I'm sure a time commitment, two things very precious to me right now. I'll do it if I think it will help, but I'm just not sold that it is legit/worth it. Any thoughts?
posted by emilyclaire to Education (14 answers total)
These honor societies mean nothing.
posted by k8t at 3:58 PM on August 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

It won't be worth it. You've got a semester to go, and becoming an art professor will be a matter of your own work, your professors' connections, and your graduate school's name-recognition. That's all a few years off, and you can do plenty of your own networking – with people in the profession you're interested in, not just whoever happens to be in a particular networking group – in the meantime.
posted by Picklegnome at 4:00 PM on August 20, 2011

i was going to come in here and tell you how incredibly beneficial my time in my fraternity was (the right fraternity for me). But the skills and bonds I gained came through being with them a few years.

This isn't going to get you a leg-up and if that's all you're looking for this wouldn't be the right decision 3 years ago either.
posted by jander03 at 4:06 PM on August 20, 2011

These honor societies mean nothing.

Phi Beta Kappa still means something to some people. But generally, yes,
posted by grouse at 4:23 PM on August 20, 2011

They have a house across the lane way from me. I mostly find them v. loud and v. drunk, and not v. high on honour. But, that might be me.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:01 PM on August 20, 2011

I was invited into, and joined, Phi Kappa Phi & Phi Beta Kappa late in my college career (I think that's generally when they send the invites). My wife was also in Phi Kappa Phi. They generally invite anyone with a high enough GPA. I have never, not once, been invited to anything they're doing past the initial induction ceremony (they don't even invite alumni to the newbie inductions), and have never gotten anything from them except magazines with requests for money on just about every page, and co-branded credit card offers. No networking opportunities, no one has ever commented on it or been impressed by it (hate to admit this, but I used to wear the PKP pin sometimes). I graduated in 1997; I think if it was going to come in handy it would have done so by now.

At the time I thought they were resume-padders; now I do suspect they're really on the same intellectual level as "Who's Who."

I wouldn't waste the money.
posted by randomkeystrike at 5:09 PM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't waste your money, you'd be better off joining an art related organization or your alumni club once you graduate.
posted by emd3737 at 5:13 PM on August 20, 2011

Not worth it.

I work in higher Ed. My previous campus did this for a year, and they are trying to recruit students on my current campus. The University pays a fee to get access to teleconferences or videos of speakers like Jack Canfield. In order to be a full member, you have to go to orientation, a leadership day, attend three videos and three meetings. While there may be some chapters who have really turned themselves into a great mastermind group, I don't think the National support or structure is there. They seem very much like a for profit group. A group of success minded students could watch Ted talks and have meetings for free and get the same benefits. They don't have the recognition and prestige in the field like Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi do. Also, I believe they chose Greek letters simply to sound lofty. They have no real connection to other orgs that have meaningful Greek letter names.

I wont link to their website here, but google them and you can see what they are about.
posted by MultiFaceted at 5:25 PM on August 20, 2011

I was a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa in college, but neither of them really helped me in any way - either while I was in school or listed on my resume. Lambda Alpha (the HS for my major, Anthropology) was the only really beneficial one - they got me chances to interact with teachers and alumni both from my University and from other chapters. In the long run, though, all the membership fees I paid for these types of things would have been much better spent on books or food or something.
posted by gemmy at 5:57 PM on August 20, 2011

Have you seen their Facebook page?


ONLY 4 hours left! Have you voted yet to determine the winner of our 2011 Spring Society Virtual Talent Show. Go vote now:

The last couple of days were phenominal! Thank you for offering me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and grow! Im looking forward to our transformation!

yey! I received my certificate, shirt & pin yesterday! I am an official member now! I am sooo thankful for this wonderful opportunity! :D

Hi My name is Katelyn and I am in some desperate need of answers about this society. I was recently sent an invitation to apply for an internship regarding this society. The goal of the internship is to open up a chapter at my school, Roosevelt University in Chicago. I have heard mixed reviews about this society. I just really want to know..IS THIS A SCAM OR IS IT LEGIT!! Please help.

im lovin the plaque i recieved [...] i need another its a little chipped

@John no, it's not a scam. It's a real national organization (I'm a part of it myself). Once you are initiated, you are a lifetime member.

There are people asking if it is a scam; never a good sign for anything if the answer to that is even a little bit unclear. There are people chittering on about their "induction," but absolutely no "It's my tenth year with this group and..." And there are "Successories"-style quotations, and people asking if there is a coupon code for the plaques (or tablecloths, or &c -- tablecloths! Oh dear), and people looking for a click-my-page, and that is it.

I have always been grateful that Canada is relatively free of these sorts of clearly for-profit circle jerks. Is it a scam? No; clearly you really do get a certificate, shirt, & pin. The world is full of snobby shits like me who would mentally dock you a mark if they saw evidence of your involvement with something like this, so...for what that's worth. I do think a lot of people titter at them.
posted by kmennie at 6:15 PM on August 20, 2011 [4 favorites]

I guess they took you for a SAP.
posted by Nomyte at 6:38 PM on August 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

You might get a cool shawl/scarf/pin/hat-thinger/ribbon/stickers/whatever to wear on your graduation robes when people are taking pictures and stuff.

Think of it as buying character customization packs/skins from xbox live or whatever with real money. When you could just make your own or download someone else's free-to-use versions.

Beta Beta Beta's character pack was pretty lame and the car window sticker totally melted and slimed down my back window one summer.
posted by porpoise at 7:53 PM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think PBK is pretty much the only one of these generally considered to be worthwhile.
posted by naoko at 6:40 AM on August 21, 2011

Thanks everyone one. I didn't think of the SAP acronym. Ha! I was ready to just ignore the invitation anyway, but your hive mind confirmed that I am making the right decision. Thanks!
posted by emilyclaire at 9:24 AM on August 21, 2011

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