Is Omicron Delta Epsilon the Right Choice for Economics Majors?

Not all campus organizations named after Greek letters are the same.

There are fraternities and sororities that celebrate their unique values and personalities, many of which also engage in community service, volunteer work, and philanthropic activities.

Of course, in many instances, they are associated with parties and alcohol.

And then, there are honor societies that recognize academic and extracurricular achievements.

People may also refer to them as professional or academic fraternities and sororities.

Although it’s true that honor societies also have a social element, members usually spend most of their time preparing for their future careers and the impact they can make on the community in general.

Omicron Delta Epsilon (ODE) is an example of an honor society.

It’s an international honor society in economics that started when Omicron Chi Epsilon and Omicron Delta Gamma (the first economics honor society) merged in 1963.

Joining it costs $40, and students must meet specific academic requirements.

However, it’s advantageous for economics students who wish to maximize the college experience and prepare for a promising career through activities such as networking and publication opportunities.

ODE, sadly, may not be as prestigious as other honor societies.

It has no scholarship programs for high-achieving members, and everyone who believes they meet the basic requirements may apply for membership, unlike other organizations that are on an invitation-only basis.

Are You an Economics Major? Then You Can Apply!

Honors societies exude a distinguished and selective image.

One of the reasons for that is that not everyone who likes to belong to a group may join — often, you must demonstrate academic superiority in order to be eligible for membership.

Many academic Greek-letter organizations also scout prospective members instead of handing out application forms.

You must be exceptional if invited to join a prestigious honor society.

Well, it’s different for ODE: all you have to do is grab an application form and fill it out.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

You may apply to Omicron Delta Epsilon if there’s a chapter in your college.

But it doesn’t mean that just about anyone can apply.

There are minimum eligibility requirements to meet, although there may be slight variations in prerequisites from one ODE chapter to the next.

Here are the basic qualifications to join:

  • Majoring in economics
  • Completion of 12 credit hours of economic courses
  • Having an average GPA of at least 3.0 in all economics courses
  • Having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Being in the top one-third of all economics students

As you can see, ODE is still selective despite not having an invitation-only membership.

Being an econ major is not enough — you have to be one of the best undergraduate students in your college who are majoring in economics to be able to get in.

Where to Apply

ODE is an international honors society.

It has 717 chapters in the US, UK, UAE, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, France, and others.

While its headquarters is in Fairhope, Alabama, there’s no need to send an application to it to become one of the approximately 4,000 collegiate members and 100,000 members for life.

It’s in the ODE chapter in your school where you should apply.

While the application form may vary from chapter to chapter (that’s from college to college), the fact remains that you won’t have to spend a lot of time providing a lot of information.

In most instances, you just have to list your economics courses and the grades for each.

You need to include the usual, too, such as your name, student ID, signature, and date — there’s no need to enumerate extracurriculars or impress with an essay.

Here’s an example of the ODE Application Form at the University of Connecticut.

Membership Fee and Inclusions

While you don’t need to receive an exclusive membership invitation in the mail to join Omicron Delta Epsilon, you have to shell out money to become a member of the honor society.

The cost of the membership fee?


But fret not: it’s a one-time fee, which means it’s good for the rest of your life as a member.

That’s fantastic news since some honor societies, including less prestigious ones than ODE, require active members to pay annual dues to keep their membership intact.

Not only is ODE’s $40 membership fee lifetime, but it also comes with perks.

Besides the membership card, paying the membership fee also allows you unlimited online access to The American Economist (AEX), a peer-reviewed academic journal serving as the official publication of ODE.

It does not include the official key or pin, but procuring it is optional (though highly recommended).

ODE: Should It Be a Go or a No-No?

Being an honor society member sure sounds fantastic.

Easily, it can make your job application a standout.

Should you decide to work on a postgraduate degree after completing your bachelor’s degree program, membership in an honor society can boost your admissions chances.

Although there are advantages to being an ODE member, there are also some disadvantages.

Weighing the good and bad sides is a must before you fill out that application form to determine whether or not joining it will be good for your college and professional career.

Membership Advantages

Joining ODE may be wonderful if you are an economics major who intends on having a related career someday.

Since the honor society is exclusive for economics students, membership comes with opportunities to enrich your academic experience and open doors to better career prospects, and that alone may make it worth it for you.

Let’s talk about the perks of being a member of ODE:

  • Recognition. Whether you intend to join the workforce immediately after graduating as an economics major or going to graduate school to obtain an advanced degree, being an ODE member can add value to your resume.
  • Publication opportunities. The American Economist access is not the only perk of an ODE membership but also the chance for your undergraduate research work to appear in it, which prestigious graduate schools love.
  • Scholarly activities. ODE members are busy with activities that enrich them socially and academically, including group discussions, conventions, competitions, and special projects.
  • Networking. ODE is a platform where you can connect with economics students and experts alike, thus allowing you to gear up for a bright future even while still busy with your college career.

Disadvantages to Consider

There is no perfect honor society since each college student is different.

However, some organizations may be better for you than others, and figuring out which can positively impact your studies and career goals and which can only distract you is important.

Below are some of the downsides of an ODE membership to consider:

  • Membership fee. College isn’t cheap, and many things along the way can cause the already steep cost to balloon even more, including membership fees to honor societies.
  • No scholarship programs. ODE does not offer scholarship opportunities to its members — many honor societies, on the other hand, take pride in their generous scholarship programs.
  • Time consuming. Participating in various ODE activities and events requires time, and having poor time management skills may keep you from balancing your commitments in and out of the honor society well.
  • Limited scope. Because ODE is all about economics, you may feel the need to join a different organization if you have another interest you wish to explore or pursue.

Read Next: Is Psi Chi Worth It?

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.

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