Sam Houston State University faculty are warning students to avoid HonorSociety.org, an invitation-only group which the university claims is deceptive and misleading.
Gene Young, Ph.D., Dean of SHSU’s Honors College, warned students to keep cautious of HonorSociety.org, which has recently been emailing students at their SHSU email address. He said it is a deceptive website that is not a member of the Association of College Honor Societies or other recognized college honor organizations.
“I don’t know if you’d call it a scam,” Young said. “It’s not an outright scam. There are some benefits to membership, but it’s really misrepresenting itself as an honor society.”
Various privileges and resources listed within HonorSociety.org acceptance emails include: exclusive scholarship listings, access to honor cords and tassels, free access to premier job postings, and various job and standardized test preparation classes.
HonorSociety.org charges $50 to activate its membership.
Young sent out an email to SHSU honor students stating “their recruitment is at best, deceiving … I would not advise you to join.” Young’s statement is consistent with warnings from other universities and colleges including the University of Texas at San Antonio, North Carolina Central University and Rutgers University Newark.
Christian Roberts, associate research professor at University of California at Los Angeles and faculty adviser for HonorSociety.org disagrees. He said the organization may not be accredited yet because it’s a new society, but it’s “not a scam.”
“Whoever said that doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” Roberts said.
Roberts said HonorSociety.org has chapters outside of UCLA, although its website does not list local chapters. Roberts has served as an adviser for HonorSociety.org since February and said he isn’t aware of any push for HonorSociety.org to become accredited.
According to the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), the minimum scholastic requirement for students to join an ACHS affiliate is a 3.2 or 3.3 grade point average (GPA), depending on the chapter. Young said although the academic requirements for HonorSociety.org are not explicitly outlined, some students who are receiving invitations fall below the ACHS requirements.
SHSU graduate student Ryan Meyer received HonorSociety.org emails for the past three semesters and said the nature of the emails were suspicious. Meyer is a member of Alpha Chi at SHSU and was a pledge to Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity chapter at Lone Star College in Cypress.
“I’ve never even bothered to look at [HonorSociety.org],” Meyer said. “I’ve gotten other invitations from honor societies or honor fraternities, but they have a teacher’s sponsorship contact information and [HonorSociety.org] didn’t … to me it seems a little off.”
SHSU’s Alpha Chi chapter is an affiliate of ACHS which enforces the minimum scholastic criteria. Young said he isn’t aware of HonorSociety.org chapters at SHSU, which posed a red flag to him.
“I just can’t see that there’s any credibility to [HonorSociety.org] or any benefit to it,” Young said. “There’s no evidence of a national board of academics of national chapters. There’s just no evidence of the kind of things you look for.”