Q: I am looking for information about an honor society that is not listed. What does that mean?

A: ACHS is a membership organization, and as such we only list our member societies. Not all societies have applied for or qualify for ACHS membership. Some non-members are reputable organizations worthy of the name “honor society” who have not yet applied for ACHS certification. Others will not apply because they do not meet our scholarship, governance, and/or ethical standards for legitimacy. Still others have applications pending.

Criteria for determining legitimacy can be found on our Standards page. ACHS recommends that students, parents, and institutions avoid affiliating with any honor society that does not stand up to an evaluation based on these criteria, paying particular attention to an organization’s transparency. Any society that claims affiliation with ACHS but is not listed here is misrepresenting itself. A web search can also be useful to determine if a non-member society has any history of ethical problems.

Q: I am a student who would like to become a member of ACHS. What do I do?

A: Individuals cannot become members of ACHS. ACHS membership is comprised of member societies.

Q: I am a member of ____ society and would like information about my membership, or I would like to verify that a job applicant is a member of the group listed on his or her resume. Can you help me?

A: No, we do not maintain any individual membership records for our member societies. Contact information for each society’s national office can be found by accessing our member list.

Q: I would like to start an honor society on my campus. Can you help?

A: Note that the development of new honor societies is NOT part of the ACHS mission. We are, however, happy to provide the following guidance.

Before proceeding, please also see our list of member societies in our Member Directory to see if there is an existing organization that will serve your needs. If there is not, note that forming a respectable national honor society is a lengthy process that requires a long term commitment and significant resources. Organizations cannot be considered for membership in or certification by the Association of College Honor Societies until they have been in existence for a minimum of five years and are represented in at least two regions of the country.

For new groups that hope to be national (or international) in scope, we recommend that any inquiry into forming a new honor society begin with contacting national professional organization(s) that represent the field(s) you would like to recognize. An existing national group may have resources, recommendations, or insight into prior efforts to launch an honor society. If there is no national professional group you can work with, you will first need to form an exploratory committee and consult with legal and tax professionals to help guide you through the basic process of setting up a non-profit organization. Groups that only intend to operate on a single campus should consult with the college’s student affairs department.

To ensure that your organization meets the rigorous standards needed to qualify as a legitimate honor society, governance and operations should be structured to meet the criteria set forth in our Membership page. Close examination of the application and evaluation forms located on our Eligibility & New Petitions page will help to guide the decision making process during formation.

Our ability to consult with prospective organizations is very limited. Please only contact our office after following the above steps, and only with specific questions. We will provide further guidance where we can.