NSLS Exposed? Separating Facts from Fiction

When it comes to size, no other leadership honor society is as large as the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS).

Also sometimes referred to as Sigma Alpha Pi, it has over 750 chapters and more than 1.8 million members in the US alone.

On the other hand, if you received an invite to join and searched the organization online, you might have seen some negative reviews where people discuss if the society is just a pyramid scheme.

To help you with the decision, let’s cover the following:

  • What is NSLS?
  • Legitimacy Concerns
  • Who can join?
  • Cost and benefits
  • Scholarships
  • Does it help with job opportunities?

The NSLS aims to recognize, cultivate, and establish leaders by providing members with real-world experience to unlock their leadership potential.

Besides an affiliation with a prestigious honor society, members also have access to exclusive perks, including scholarships, discounts and employer recruitment.

Even though the leadership honor society is the only one of its kind, it’s a good idea to learn some of the most essential matters you need to know about before you decide to accept or decline the invitation to join.

But before anything else, let’s take a look at some NSLS stats resulting from the annual survey of its members:

  • 78% – Percentage of college graduates who attribute their career success to the NSLS
  • 88% – Percentage of NSLS members who landed their preferred jobs upon graduating from college
  • 90% – Percentage of NSLS members who said they developed their talents and interpersonal skills
  • 93% – Percentage of students who reported that the NSLS impacted their chances of getting their dream job
  • 95% – Percentage of NSLS members who believe that joining the organization was worth their time
  • 97% – Percentage of NSLS who would recommend the leadership honor society to their peers

Skepticism and Legitimacy Concerns

Prospective members may encounter many discussions questioning the legitimacy of NSLS, labeling it a potential scam.

It’s important to critically assess any organization before joining, so let’s address some of the frequently asked questions on the internet.

Accreditation and Recognition

The NSLS is legit in that it’s accredited through Cognia, a community of education experts from all over the world.

In addition, the various leadership courses offered by the NSLS are recommended for credit reciprocity by both the American Council on Education (ACE) and the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS).

However, it’s important to note that NSLS is not accredited by the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), the primary body for certifying honor societies in the United States.

Examples of honor societies accredited by ACHS are Alpha Omega Alpha, the Order of the Coif, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi.

NSLS claims that Cognia accreditation is better for them as their standards are higher than those of ACHS.

If you think otherwise, then you may consider joining ACHS accredited honor society instead.

Transparency and Financial Aspects

To address concerns regarding financial transparency, it’s essential to understand how the NSLS allocates its membership fees.

While specific financial breakdowns are not publicly available, the fees contribute to operational costs, including speaker fees, scholarship funds, and member benefits like induction packages.

The NSLS’s status as a for-profit organization means it operates differently from traditional non-profit honor societies, focusing on reinvestment into the organization to enhance member benefits.

By the way, NSLS is a B-corporation.

A B Corp is a certification granted only to companies that receive a minimum score of 80 from an assessment of their social and environmental performance.

Critiques and Alternative Views

If you read reviews on Reddit, Quora, and other forums, you will definitely see comments claiming that NSLS is a scam.

The most common argument is that if you have to pay a fee (see the information about the membership fees below), then it must be a scam.

However, it’s not always the case.

For example, if you were invited to join one of the most prestigious honor societies, such as Phi Betta Kappa, you have to pay the registration fee as well.

Also, some commenters compare the organization to a pyramid scheme.

Unlike pyramid schemes, which rely on the recruitment of new members to generate revenue for those at the top of the structure, NSLS’s primary revenue comes from a one-time membership fee.

This fee directly supports the benefits and resources offered to all members equally, without any requirement or incentive for members to recruit others.

So, in conclusion, the organization is not a scam, but keep reading if you want to know whether joining the society will benefit you or not.

Joining the organization

The NSLS is similar to most other prestigious honor societies in terms of who can become members — students nominated by their schools and approved by their chapter advisors are eligible to receive an invitation to join.

There are minimum eligibility requirements to meet to be nominated.

Invites to join are sent to eligible students twice a year, typically during early fall and winter.

Like other honor societies whose memberships are on an invitation-only basis, students must meet the minimum GPA requirements and complete credit hours to qualify for nominations by their respective postsecondary education institutions.

Let’s take a look at the academic requirements for NSLS membership:

Undergraduate students

  • Must have completed at least 36 credit hours
  • Must have a GPA of at least 3.2.

Graduate students

  • Must have completed at least 18 credit hours
  • Must have a GPA of at least 3.5.

The National Society of Leadership and Success — the name of the NSLS makes it clear that it’s leadership-based.

That is why students must actively participate in various on-campus society events to be noticed by the organization.

So, can you apply to the NSLS if you feel you deserve to join the honor society?

Perhaps the institution of higher education missed your credentials by accident, which is why you may fill out the online application form.

The said form includes a space where you must demonstrate your leadership potential using a personal statement of 200 words or less.

However, you must still receive a nomination from at least one of the faculty members.

Cost of the membership

New NSLS members pay a one-time fee of $95.

This means that once students are inducted into the organization after paying the membership fee, they are a part of the roster for life.

The membership fee covers many things, from the membership kit handed during the induction ceremony to discounts from partner companies.

And although it’s on the steep side of things, the membership fee is good for life.

Needless to say, there are no annual fees to take for the renewal of one’s membership to the leadership honor society.

As just mentioned, one of the things that the one-time fee covers is the membership kit, which is sent to local chapter leaders to be presented to new members during their induction.

The said kit contains the following: shirt, certificate, pin and car decal. If bought during registration, the membership kit also includes a plaque.

So, how do you become a fully inducted member?

After paying the one-time membership fee, you must complete specific steps to turn from a pre-inducted member, who is eligible to take advantage of the various NSLS membership perks, to a fully inducted member:

  • Orientation. Attending the first meeting of new NSLS members allows pre-inductees to obtain all the information they need to complete the induction process successfully.
  • Leadership training. A seminar that involves a 3-hour interactive video training session, it’s designed to help new NSLS members identify as well as overcome obstacles that are keeping goal attainment at bay.
  • Broadcast event. Because the NSLS is a leadership-based honor society, it isn’t surprising that pre-inducted members watch some of the most successful motivational speakers discussing various leadership-related topics.
  • Team meetings. Groups of new NSLS members are brought in one place to work together and offer one another peer coaching on achieving their respective goals.

If you are thinking if it is worth spending $95 on a membership, here’s the list of alternative things you can purchase for the same amount:

  • Scientific calculator for math or science courses
  • Textbooks
  • A basic smartphone or a budget-friendly tablet
  • Groceries for a week
  • Movie or concert tickets
  • Gym membership for a month
  • Start a small emergency fund

Membership benefits

The benefits NSLS members can enjoy can be categorized into intangibles and tangibles. Some intangible perks include increased self-esteem and leadership skills.

On the other hand, some tangible advantages of being an NSLS member include scholarships, discounts, networking opportunities, and personal success coaching.

Let’s take a look at some of the things to enjoy for being a member of the NSLS:

  • Scholarships and awards ranging from $500 to $7,500 each
  • Discounts at over 1,000 companies
  • Working with professional success coaches
  • Leadership certification to help boost one’s resume
  • Invitation to various NSLS-exclusive events like fundraisings, social gatherings, service projects, etc.
  • Letter of recommendation that can be sent to admissions offices and employers

Does it look good on your resume?

Because it’s a leadership-based honor society, needless to say, the development of one’s leadership skills using real-world experiences and other similar opportunities is one of the most notable benefits of an NSLS membership.

Strong leadership skills are valuable not only for job applicants but also for employees.

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 80.1% of employers actively seek candidates with a knack for leadership.

And just for reference, other traits sought include teamwork (78.9%), communication skills (70.2%), problem-solving skills (70.2%) and communication (68.9%).

While all this information is good to know, the real question is whether joining any society boosts your job prospects.

Well, in my opinion, the most important thing on your resume is previous internships and job experience.

Employers are less likely to be impressed by a stamp of approval from some organization.

They are more interested in knowing what you can bring to their organization is terms of skills and attitude.

If you really don’t have anything to add to your resume, then mentioning the membership in an honor society will add to the length of your skinny CV.

The question is it worth paying $95 for one line and a badge?

So, should you join or not?

On the one hand, it would be a great honor for any undergraduate and graduate student to be invited to join an organization with, as of the time of this writing, 1.8 million members in the US alone.

On the other hand, the membership doesn’t come free of charge, plus you will have to devote some time to become a full-fledged member.

Before responding to the invite, weigh the pros and cons of an NSLS membership.

Read Next: Is Omicron Delta Epsilon Worth Joining?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

Similar Posts