Louisiana State University sponsors honorary societies to recognize, through membership, those students who have established outstanding scholastic records. Criteria for membership varies e.g., scholastic achievement, grades, community service, or leadership. Some honorary societies select members by invitation only; for others, students must submit applications. In addition to the campus-wide honorary societies mentioned here, many colleges and departments sponsor campus chapters in their individual disciplines.
Information regarding specific college or departmental honorary societies can be obtained from the respective college or department.
Alpha Lambda Delta is a national society that recognizes academic excellence during a student’s first year at college. Founded in 1924 at the University of Illinois, Alpha Lambda Delta has over 270 chapters across the United States and has initiated over 900,000 students. Membership is open to all freshman and transfer students who meet the following academic qualifications: 1) must be registered for a full course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree; 2) rank in the top 20 percent of their freshman class; and 3) obtain a 3.5 GPA, the minimum scholastic average required for membership. Eligibility for freshman and transfer students is based grades from the first semester, or on the cumulative average of the first year in college; students must have completed 12 credits with no “D” or “F” in any subject.
Gamma Beta Phi is an honorary and service organization for students in colleges and universities in the United States. The three major objectives of Gamma Beta Phi is to recognize and encourage individual excellence in education, promote the development of leadership and character in its members, and to foster, disseminate and improve education through appropriate service projects. All students in the top 15 percent of their graduating class are invited to join. Students must earn a total of 7 points per semester to retain active member status.
Golden Key is an international honor society and service club that aims to help students serve the community and gain valuable experience. Golden Key was originally founded in 1977 by undergraduates at Georgia State University. It is currently the world’s largest collegiate honor society, with over 365 chapters at universities in 7 countries: United States, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. Membership is invitation only, and only the top 15 percent will receive an invitation by the end of their freshman year.
Mortar Board is the premier national honor society recognizing college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership, and service. Since its founding in 1918, the organization has grown to 228 chartered collegiate chapters with nearly a quarter of a million initiated members across the nation. The Blazer chapter at LSU was chartered in 1934. Mortar Board provides opportunities for continued leadership development, promotes service to colleges and universities, and encourages lifelong contributions to the global community.
The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is an honor society for high-achieving first and second year students. NSCS has over 270 chapters across the United States and over 750,000 members. NSCS provides career and graduate school connections, leadership and service experiences, access to discounts and savings as well as $250,000 in scholarships annually. Members must have a GPA of 3.4 or above and rank in the top 20 percent of their class.
Omicron Delta Kappa is the first college honor society of a national scope to give recognition for leadership. Since its founding, over 300,000 individuals from over 300 college and university campuses across the United States have been recognized for meritorious leadership and service in extracurricular activities based on the candidate’s scholastic record and aptitude for a career in the information professions. Membership is awarded to undergraduate junior and senior students; to graduate students; to faculty, staff, administration, and alumni; and to persons qualifying for membership “honoris causa.” Student membership candidates must rank in the upper 35 percent of their school or college and must show leadership in at least one of the five phases of campus life: 1) Scholarship; 2) Athletics; 3) Campus or Community Service, Social and Religious Activities, and Campus Government; 4) Journalism, Speech, and the Mass Media; and 5) Creative and Performing Arts.
The oldest academic society in the U.S., Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. The LSU chapter was installed in 1977 as Beta of Louisiana. For more than two centuries, Phi Beta Kappa has advocated the ideal of a liberal education as a basis for a life-long love of learning and as a way to broaden the perspectives of students, whatever their chosen field of endeavor. At LSU, juniors and seniors with an excellent academic record and an adequate breadth of study are considered for membership.
Phi Eta Sigma was founded at the University of Illinois in 1923 to encourage and recognize scholastic achievement among members of the freshman classes. Phi Eta Sigma is the third most senior member of the Association of College Honor Societies. Since its founding, more than 975,000 scholars have been inducted, and chapters are chartered on 365 campuses across the United States. Those elected to membership include those who have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale at the end of any first year, full-time curricular period, provided they have carried a normal academic load acceptable toward a bachelor’s degree and rank in the upper 20 percent of their class.
Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines. Its chapters are on nearly 300 campuses in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Each year, approximately 30,000 members are initiated. The LSU chapter was founded in 1930 as the 43rd chapter in the nation. The mission of Phi Kappa Phi is to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others. Phi Kappa Phi is unique because it recognizes superior scholarship in all academic fields, rather than restricting membership to a limited field. Juniors in the top 7.5 percent and seniors and graduate students in the top 10 percent of their classes may be initiated and honored in the spring semester each year and wear identifying ribbons on their academic gowns at commencement exercises.