One of students recently emailed me about an offer he received to join an honor society. The invitation required a $75 to access all of the wonderful networking opportunities the offer touted. The student emailed me to find out whether or not the offer was legitimate, and I’m glad he did.
If you have to pay for the privilege of being honored then it’s not an honor. You are paying for access to an organization. In some cases it’s worth it to join something that has a cost. Many people are members of sororities and fraternities, or join other social clubs that have dues. However, these aforementioned organizations are groups where you are joining a community. They aren’t purporting to give you something if only you’ll fund them.
The pay for membership tactic is similar to the “we’ll honor you, and because of it you should buy our book to see your name in print” tactic. A particular group has been getting people to buy books no one cares about at least since I was a high school student.
Just ask yourself. How prestigious can it be if in order to accept I have to pay?