Honor society truths

“Hey Ashely, Have you heard anything about this Phi, Theta, Kappa, something or other?”

“O.M.G. Kristina, isn’t that some type of sorority?”

“I’m not sure. I got this invitation to become a member, but there’s a fee to join. I’m not sure this is legit. What do you think?”

Perhaps you received an invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa like Kristina but didn’t respond thinking it was a scam. It’s time to set the record straight.

Phi Theta Kappa is an Honor Society that was first established in Missouri in 1918, and will soon celebrate 100 years of recognizing academic achievement among students attending two-year colleges. Local chapters provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming.

An honor society is different from a sorority or fraternity. In order to be a member of an honor society, you must first be invited to join. Sorority’s and Fraternity’s are social organizations open to all undergraduate students who wish to apply meet criteria specific to that group.

Membership in an honor society like Phi Theta Kappa is earned by achieving a grade point average of at least 3.5, along with the completion of at least 12 credit hours. It is a life-long membership that will bring many benefits throughout your continuing education and follows you throughout your career.

New scholarships open up to Phi Theta Kappa members that, if received, more than compensate for the nominal one-time fee charged to join this honor society. Select corporate partners offer special benefits and discounts to Phi Theta Kappans to reward the hard work that goes into achieving this honor. Personalized letters of recommendation will be given to honorees for scholarship and employment opportunities.

Once a member of Phi Theta Kappa, you will receive notation of membership on your college transcript, an official seal of Phi Theta Kappa placed on your college diploma, a membership certificate and ID card, as well as commencement regalia to wear during graduation and other official ceremonies. You will have the privilege to include this membership on your resume. Nicole Banks, one of the Black Hawk College advisors for our local chapter commented, “You never know what a difference it can make when a potential employer sees “Phi Theta Kappa” on your resume – especially if you were an officer or active member with a volunteer history.”

In accordance with their mission, local chapters offer opportunities to develop leadership and serve within the community. It should be emphasized that these service and leadership opportunities are made available for personal growth and enrichment, but they are not requirements. The amount of time a member chooses to devote to Phi Theta Kappa activities is solely up to each individual. Chapters are not allowed to restrict or revoke membership due to lack of participation.

The local chapter of Phi Theta Kappa at Black Hawk College, Eta Kappa, was established in 1950. Advisors to contact for more information about our local chapter are Nicole Banks (banksn@bhc.edu) and Melissa Hebert-Johnson (hebertm@bhc.edu).

Phi Theta Kappa membership is recommend for any student who believes he or she may continue at a transfer institution. Melissa Hebert-Johnson states, “For a community college student who plans to transfer to a four-year institution, membership in Phi Theta Kappa is simply the best way to ensure access to scholarship.” (Available scholarships throughout the US can be found at scholarship.ptk.org.)

If you receive an invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa, don’t sit on it. Your option to join will only be available for a limited time. The nominal fee is worth the lifelong investment of being a Phi Theta Kappa.

Other, more career-focused honor society’s to consider joining include Alpha Beta Gamma for business majors, Psi Beta for psychology students, and Sigma Kappa Delta – the English Honor Society. Each recognizes academic achievement and comes with many benefits that include additional scholarship opportunities.

For more information about the local chapters of these honor society’s, contact the Black Hawk College advisors listed below or visit the national website.

Alpha Beta Gamma
Gary Drew

Psi Beta
Dr. Traci Davis

Sigma Kappa Delta
Dr. Diana Badur
Nicole Banks