What’s the Real Value of Membership?

High costs of clubs and honor societies seem to devalue their worth

“Join the Interact Club, apply to the National Honor Society, oh, and don’t forget about signing up for the Amnesty International Club!”

Today, there are countless clubs and honor societies available to help students gain experience and leadership skills.

However, the high cost of membership dues and fees have left many students questioning the worth of being in honor societies and clubs.

Between one after-school activity and another, dues and fees can rack up a high bill for students and their parents. According to the 2016 Backpack Index, the average cost to participate in public high school extracurriculars is a little over $1,000 each school year. This is a 7 percent rise from the previous year, a significant increase for students and parents, especially for those of lower-incomes.

The dues members have to pay for honor societies can range anywhere from $10 to $35. Some students have to pay higher amounts of money because certain honor societies do not fund graduation cords, which symbolize any given student’s greatest high school achievements.

Shouldn’t the large organizations that take all of their members’ money at least direct some funding to a piece of fabric for students?

This brings up the question: Are we simply paying to be members of seemingly prestigious organizations and clubs?

A member of the Kettle Run chapter of the Interact Club, senior Eliana Castro, agrees clubs and societies are too costly.

“You’re basically buying your way into clubs instead of actually being recognized for your achievements,” Castro said.

This is the feeling many students are having about their supposed success in gaining entrance to honor societies.

Additionally, a large number of the fees and dues go directly to T-shirts for the group. This means that the extra cash is directed elsewhere. A lot of members are left in the dark in terms of knowing where this money goes. Still, most members know that their money is going toward buying T-shirts for the group.

“No one should have to spend more than $20 if they are only going to be receiving a shirt,” Castro said. “That’s what most club members get with their dues.”

After being a member of a myriad of clubs and honor societies all of high school, senior Miranda Shorts feels that membership is expensive but does see the purpose of the fees.

“For National English Honor Societies we have $20 for dues,” Shorts said. “But we are using that money to buy T-shirts for the entire club so at least it’s not just going to waste.”

The dues for the journalism honor society are $25 and those are paid directly to the national organization. Post-secondary institutions across the country like to see that students are involved in a multitude of activities. Many of these extracurriculars focus on certain aspects of learning, such as building on teamwork skills, learning how to network, and finding peers with similar interests to start friendships.

For some students, participation may be slightly limited to do a personal lack of funding. At the end of the day, there is no denying the true value of participating in these activities. Students can gain useful life skills while getting more involved in school-related projects.

You should definitely get involved with school-related extracurriculars, but make sure you’re getting the bang for your buck.