Honor Societies in Community College
You'll have an opportunity to shine not only in an honors program or courses, but also to earn membership in an honor society. Honor societies are organizations that recognize academic excellence, and it is indeed an honor to be invited to join one!
The oldest and largest honors society for community college students is Phi Theta Kappa, established in 1918. Phi Theta Kappa emphasizes not only academic achievement, but also engagement in leadership, service, and fellowship through its honors programs. It offers members many opportunities for individual growth and development through its innovative programs.
Both full-time and part-time students, and international students are eligible for membership. You must have completed a minimum of 12 hours of associate degree coursework and have earned a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. You must also maintain your academic standing, usually a 3.25 GPA, throughout your enrollment to remain a member.
As a member, you'll receive a Gold Key membership pin, and have the chance to:
- Be eligible for a substantial transfer scholarship to one of over 600 four-year institutions that offer over $36 million in scholarship funds exclusively to Phi Theta Kappa members.
- Wear the Phi Theta Kappa gold stole and tassel at graduation.
- Participate in special honors study seminars and courses developed at the national level.
- Participate in national-level service projects to help combat cancer, promote mental health, and improve literacy.
- Attend regional, national, and international leadership conferences and conventions.
- Compete for the All-USA Academic Team for community and junior colleges, sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa, USA Today, and the American Association of Community Colleges, as well as for your state's Academic Team. Each team opens many doors to additional scholarship opportunities and recognition.
Rod Risley, executive director of Phi Theta Kappa says, "Not every Phi Theta Kappa member may have time to participate in the many programs we offer. However, students who engage in our programs and services will be better equipped to compete in the job market or at a senior (four-year) institution. Corporate recruiters aren't just looking for good grades; they're looking for students who are actively engaged in activities. They want students with excellent communication and social skills, leadership abilities, and people who know how to work well together in teams. Universities also want new students who can contribute to the life of the university. Participating in Phi Theta Kappa gives students a competitive edge that they won't get by simply going to class and going home."
You'll also want to check out other honor societies that are associated with your major or career field. For example, the business national honor society is Phi Beta Lambda; it has local chapters at community colleges. All honors societies offer benefits and opportunities that will help you move forward, whether you're going directly to work or transferring to a four-year institution.
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