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National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi

edh308edh308 Posts: 6Registered User New Member
edited May 2013 in Parents Forum
Regarding the "The National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi":

My son received an letter indicating he had been nominated for membership in "The National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi". I am a faculty member where my son attends college, and the letter and website appear suspicious to me; for example, the email address for the chapter advisor, though she is listed in the university directory as being a staff member in Student Services on campus, is not a campus (.edu) address. NSLS is listed as a student organization on campus, but a search of the university website turned up not a single response (searches for other student organizations turn up meeting and activity info, for example). The NSLS website itself seems focused primarily on promoting membership by individuals and universities.

My intuition is telling me that this is a vanity organization rather than a true honorary society; all the legitimate honorary societies I am familiar with develop their membership via true nominations by individual faculty or community leaders in the field, rather than on grades alone. I am in the process of checking further with the organization itself and the chapter advisor and student officers on campus to see exactly what this organization is, but I suspect that it is, at best, a vanity exercise of limited value r/t one's career, akin to the millions of "who's who's" out there that tell me every week that I have been nominated for membership (but never by whom).

Buyer beware; NSLS may offer some activities of value, but it may also exist primarily for reasons beyond benefiting its members (such as benefiting its employees, board members, etc). I will post further when I have received responses from NSLS and the campus chapter advisor. I can echo the postings elsewhere about similar organizations that they are of dubious value in the eyes of prospective employers (as opposed to true honorary societies that are well recognized in specific professions, such as Sigma Theta Tau for those in the nursing field).

Do any others have children who have participated in this organization, and if so, does it seem legitimate, and has it benefitted your child?
Post edited by edh308 on
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Replies to: National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi

  • edh308edh308 Posts: 6Registered User New Member
    Update on my previous posting: It is registered as a student organization at Kent State. The advisor and a student officer report that there are over a hundred members in a typical year, and that although no meetings have yet been set for this year, they do meet and there are regular activities on campus as well as video conferences. The NSLS itself also responded, and it is a FOR PROFIT entity; the representative claimed this gives them a better financial footing so they can better serve their members without the restrictions placed on non-profits.

    My conclusion (my opinion) is that this is not an honorary society in the usual sense, but exists primarily to make money while perhaps delivering limited benefits to others. It's membership is based on earning a minimum GPA (once), paying one-time dues, and completing certain requirements designed to improve leadership skills. In my opinion it conveys none of the prestige or honor associated with a true honor society, and would offer no particular benefit to members in terms of their careers since it is one of a number of similar organizations. You can start your own similar society if you wish. I would encourage anyone considering paying their fee (now up to $85) to first check with their local chapter to determine if the university or officers profit financially, and if the chapter is truly active and offering beneficial activities for its local members. Short story: an enterprise existing primarily to benefit those who have created and run it, with perhaps a few benefits to its members, but none that cannot also be obtained from other sources with that are non-profit and more clearly altruistic in their intent to help students.
  • Whatever39Whatever39 Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    Scam? You *do* get something for your money.

    Basically, it's a motivation club. Think "success" in terms of motivational speakers.

    "Gary Tuerack, Founder"
    So what did he do before starting NSLS? Motivational speaking.

    They are *not* an honor society. (Real honor societies should meet certain criteria: Association of College Honor Societies (and personally, I think that's WAY too low).) To graduate with honors (cum laude) you are looking at 3.5 GPA.

    It is a one-time fee of $85. That's all a student pays. To become a "full member" (or whatever you want to call it) you watch 3 motivational videos, have a support group...errr...a "Success Networking Team" that meets 3 times (all sarcasm aside, yes, that is actually a good idea), and sit through a "training day."

    The downside is that after that it's all fundraising for the annual chapter fee ("Cost: $2,800 per year") (Society of Leadership and Success).

    "Other honorary organizations have annual dues. The National Society of Leadership and Success has only a one-time fee"

    Some do, MOST don't. Note the term "other." Not "most" or even "many." Source: The 4 other honor societies I'm a member of that don't.

    "Other honorary organizations charge for items that show your affiliation with their group. The Society gives these items, such as a T-shirt and car decal, to you as part of your one-time dues payment."

    Again with the "other."

    Well, considering that MOST other organizations don't charge $85 to get in...I would hope that they would give you a T-shirt and sticker.

    It's not a non-profit organization, as you point out. They never really say exactly what restrictions they are avoiding, nor do they explain why "other" honor societies have no problem with these restrictions. Heck...SOCIAL Greek letter societies (fraternities/sororities) are non-profit.

    The colleges and universities are not making money off of this. Again, they are non-profit.

    Bottom line: Ask yourself how many motivational books you can buy for $85.
  • jym626jym626 Posts: 36,756Registered User Senior Member
    My s got this inviation/nomination as well. He told me to throw it away. Don't really see much use in it. If you want to wear the honor cords at graduation you have to pay for them. If you want to join you have to pay $85. And you get a free t shirt and car decal. Really? C'mon on. I wouldn't call it a scam per se, but I don't see any value in this. There are other ways to get discounts on purchases (this is one "benefit") and who knows if their "exclusive job bank" is really all that exclusive. I know my s does not want weekly motivational emails. No way.

    I haven't tossed the materials yet. They have been sitting on my desk. But it seems to be a vanity society. Await other comments and opinions.
  • VitracVitrac Posts: 1,501Registered User Senior Member
    My D got one too. I emailed the signatory on the letter to inquire how many students at D's school got a similar letter. No response yet. It reminded me of Who's Who. Basically, pay them and you can say you are one of them. My D also said to throw it away. I believe her exact words were, "Lame. Toss it." Like Jym, I haven't tossed it yet.
  • ElizabethNalleyElizabethNalley Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    I am working on getting this society set up at my university. It isn't as bad as you all make it sound. It is a great leadership resource for those in leadership positions or wanting to be. It is no different than a joining a fraternity, which you will pay much more for. It depends on what your campus does with it, how passionate the students are and of course how long it has been established at e university. Yes the first year or two a majority of people will be invited, but when numbers reach 500 it will become selective, which is the goal.
    This is a society not based on gpa but rather on evolvement and leadership on campus.
  • NCStWolfpackerNCStWolfpacker Posts: 2Registered User New Member
    I don't normally post to this kind of thing but I wanted to put in my two cents for what it's worth. Not sure if anyone will actually read this but it's worth a try.

    I belong to this society at my college. This is the best society I have been a part of. The society is a national society with chapters in most major universities and every chapter is slightly different. Each chapter is run by the President and organizing members of that chapter and they are the ones that decide what the chapter at their school will consist of. At my university, it is an honor society. The president decided he wanted GPA to be an important factor of the chapter.

    I'm currently a Junior with a 4.2 GPA so I was approached by just about every honor society and organization and this is the organization I went with. This was the only organization that was not also a social society. As you can imagine, with a 4.2 I don't have time to belong to a social group and that is not why I'm in school. The individuals that I have met in this organization are driven, successful, and compassionate. If you are looking for a society that has social gatherings and "mixers" this is not it. This organization is run by the students and only has one faculty member involved to make sure that everything runs smoothly. This society has taught me so much about how to be successful and how to achieve the goals that I set out for myself. The skills that you learn at these meetings are skills that will last forever.

    So, your basic question was: is this society worth the $85? Most definitely! It's not a whole bunch of "motivational books" either.

    Here is my opinion, as someone who is an actual member of this society: It is well worth the time and effort you put into it. You get the privilege of meeting like-minded individuals. OH, and those SNT (Success Networking Teams) meetings you were talking about—any of the members of my SNT group would tell you that those meetings helped get us through this semester. That have been truly wonderful and I just cannot say enough about the incredible chapter I have at my university. I would HIGHLY recommend to anyone who received the invite to at least attend Training Day.
  • FausterFauster Posts: 226Registered User Junior Member
    I don't normally post to this kind of thing...

    Seeing that this was your first post, I believe you.
  • ladybirdmdladybirdmd Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    I also am an inducted member and received my National Exemplary Leadership Award (NELA). I am graduating at the end of this semester with my second bachelor's degree and a 4.0. Our university invites only students with a of 3.5 GPA and above -- and the GPA MUST be maintained. Like "Wolf", I received several membership offers and this is one I benefitted from the most. The SNTs and the speaker events and videos are of great benefit to someone wanting to get into upper management. In fact, the work I put into getting my NELA made the difference when I was recently interviewing. I was able to speak intelligently about leadership - not the stuff in textbooks - but real qualities and personal strategies and beliefs that I developed through the training. The result was that not only did I get an offer from the company of my choice, I also received a better offer than I thought because I am not being brought in at entry level; I am being groomed for management. So, I'd say it was well worth the $85. Beyond the personal benefits, our chapter at Kent does a lot of good community service! This is no Who's Who or National Dean's List worthless payout.
  • jym626jym626 Posts: 36,756Registered User Senior Member
    Two "new" members touting the organization, bumping an old dead thread. Just like that HS honor society thread!!
  • NCStWolfpackerNCStWolfpacker Posts: 2Registered User New Member
    I'm not sure what you mean by your comment Jym. I posted to this site originally because I ran across it. Even though it was an old post, I really felt compelled to respond because of how I feel about the society. So, it's now been a little while since I first posted and I am now also a member of two additional honor societies. Those other ones, I just paid my money and became a member just to say I was a member of the society. They were window dressing and nothing more. However, I did just want to add that even though the other two were just window dressing, they were still worth the price of admission, so to speak, because I have access to more scholarships. I am goinig to grad school in January and these scholarships will pay for the remaining portion of my schooling that my assistanship won't cover. So, even in that way it was worth the money.

    Now, in regard to NSLS, I still maintain that this was the best part of going to school. I learned so much that will stay with me forever. if I had to tell you just one thing that this society helped to teach me, it would be this: Self worth. Not in the "oh, let's make sure we all have good self-esteem" way, but in the sense of your worth as a person and as a brand. That was really life changing for me. The difference is that now I know what I'm worth and I know what I can bring to the table. Before, I didn't have that conviction. The Society helped me figure that out. Through the meetings and the group discussions and the speaker broadcasts.

    Having said that, the truth is that anyone who is in the Society or thinking of joining the Society will get out of it what they put into it. And like ladybirdmd I was awarded the National Exemplary Leadership Award. So, I put into it a great deal.
  • jym626jym626 Posts: 36,756Registered User Senior Member
    Why bring this up after 2 months with such an emphatic, comprehensive post? Glad you find benefit in it. This thread is a magnet for new posters touting its benefits. Just saying.
  • ttparentttparent Posts: 1,913Registered User Senior Member
    Look at their website and the yearly financial report. Long story short, IMO, this is a money making vehicle for the founders and a small group of individuals. Again look at their financial statement and decide for yourself. Scholarships given out is about 5% of total income, and that is their major benefits. If the chapter at your school is idle, it is basically a very low payback lottery.

    There are a bunch of these new posters every year coming during membership drive and disappear until next year.
  • MommaJMommaJ Posts: 4,667Registered User Senior Member
    I'm currently a Junior with a 4.2 GPA so I was approached by just about every honor society and organization and this is the organization I went with.
    So, that must mean you turned down junior induction into Phi Beta Kappa? Not a good decision, dear.

    NCStWolfpacker and ladybirdmd: The posters on CC are an extraordinarily intelligent and sophisticated bunch. They aren't buying what you're selling. They know that brand new posters who pop up just to defend sketchy "honor" societies are shills for the organizations. So, please do us all a favor and move on to greener pastures. And while you're at it, spend less time in learning "leadership" skills and being and more at practicing effective persuasive writing, because your posts are way overcooked.
  • SomeOldGuySomeOldGuy Posts: 1,504Registered User Senior Member
    In short, you could join, but that would make you an S-A-P.
  • cap10americacap10america Posts: 11Registered User New Member
    NCStWolfpacker and ladybirdmd, I have joined this “not so special” organization and I find the fee a “rip-off” of joining let alone what a perspective employer may view this organization. Bottom line, this organization invites everyone in college and promotes the same propaganda “you get what you put into this”. Besides, the past and present speakers (taped) are not enticing to me (Goldie Hawn, Rudy Giuliani).
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