If you are an AP student or have signed up for higher level courses, chances are that you have received mail invitations about an honor society that has reached out to you because they think you’re qualified for their programs, however with a simple google search of the name and “is it a scam” it is easy to find which ones are genuine honor programs or not.
When we receive such congratulatory news, we often want to run to our parents and say “hey look I got invited to join this student honor society!”, however, it is vital to check the authenticity of these programs reaching out to you. Many people no matter how they perform in school will receive these kinds of mail because they don’t genuinely look into who they’re sending it to, just that it's to current high school students. There are many warning signs to look out for when receiving these types of invitations, both online and physical mail, however, the authentic honor society programs don’t send out invitations like the ones scams do since you have to prove you qualify and deserve to be in them by reaching out to them, not them seeking out you as a student.
What to Look Out For
The reason why these programs are scams and not just common student programs is that in these invitations, there is often a price tag that comes with membership to their program and other requirements such as sending them your transcript or student information. A membership fee or monthly charge for being a member is an automatic warning sign that the program reaching out to you is a scam. It might seem reasonable that there is a price to apply to this type of student honor program, but no redeemable or authentic student honor society is going to reach out to you, let alone put empty words of praise and a price tag on their message.
Before you take out your credit card or ask your parents to pay for this “once in a lifetime” membership offer, at least do a quick google search and look into what people have said about the program and whether or not it's a scam or even worth your money. However, make sure to check where you're getting your information from as well, since many of these scholarly honor programs have their own website that gives obviously biased opinions on the program and whether or not it's worth the price.
Like many scams, student honor programs use similar tactics and appeal to get a quick payment from you and/or a subscription to a program that doesn’t genuinely help you appeal to colleges more or get into higher-level honor society events and scholarships. In fact, most of the time, putting these programs on your college application or resume only makes you less likely to be accepted into wherever you are applying, especially if it is a well-known and respected university. The administration of ivy-league and renowned universities are aware of these phony honor programs and can learn about a student’s judgment on whether or not they fall for these scams. If you ever find yourself unsure about whether or not something is legit, give it a good google search or ask a friend/adult who knows about genuine honor programs and the scams who just want your money. Stay vigilant and trust your gut Mustangs!