At McDaniel there are a bunch of different ways to show off your academic skills. There are a variety of forms of “honors” and over the years I have accomplished a few.
1) Phi Beta Kappa – This is the most well known honors society. It is a national society that has existed for hundreds of years, and McDaniel has its own chapter. It is probably the most prestigious, only accepting the top 7% of the senior class and the top 1% of the junior class. I was admitted this (senior) year.
2) Honors in the major. This signifies that you have achieved a good GPA in your major, but also requires completing a project on top of what a normal major does. For Sociology, I completed a research paper (guided by a professor) on top of the general course requirements to graduate. This was fun, but definitely takes up a lot of time considering all that happens is a note on your diploma that you graduated with honors.
3) Honors program! This is a four year commitment to taking honors classes (only for those in the program) and keeping a certain GPA. It comes with housing benefits, class registration benefits, library benefits, and the joys of interacting with the top students in the school. We just had a senior banquet to honor those who made it through the four years, and it was survivor themed. During the banquet we bonded, shared in our accomplishments, and generally rejoiced that we had, in fact, survived the extra coursework and GPA requirements.
4) Honors societies (other). There are loads of other honors societies on top of the ones I mentioned previously. For instance I am also in one for Sociology majors, and was invited to be in one for people studying social science. There are plenty of ways to demonstrate academic excellence.