Phi Kappa Phi vs. Other Honor Societies: What Makes It Stand Out?

Congrats on getting invited to join Phi Kappa Phi, which is considered not only the oldest but also the largest and most selective honor society in the land.

Every year, it initiates around 25,000 students, faculty, professional staff, and alumni.

So, should you accept the invitation to be one of the prestigious honor society’s approximately 100,000 active members?

Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is advantageous for high-performing students approved for nomination by a chapter. There are many benefits and resources available for active members, such as cash awards worth $1.3 million yearly.

However, membership involves paying national, chapter and annual fees.

Not everyone gets invited to join honor societies. Similarly, not everyone who gets an invite grabs the opportunity.

Wondering whether or not it’s worth it to become a member of Phi Kappa Phi not only while you are working on an undergraduate degree but also as a professional? Below, you will find the answer!

Who Gets an Invitation to Join Phi Kappa Phi?

Unlike most other honor societies, Phi Kappa Phi only invites juniors, seniors and graduate students.

Other than the receipt of an invitation, membership also requires nomination approval by a chapter. In order to be invited to join, one must complete a certain number of credits and semester hours as well as have a high class ranking.

Phi Kappa Phi is a legitimate honor society and just as selective as some of the most competitive colleges and universities in the land — one must have a superior academic profile in order to get in.

Admission to the prestigious organization is on an invitation- and nomination-only basis.

And to get invited and nominated to join, you must be in your junior or senior year. Needless to say, you will have to wait for a while if you are only in your freshman or sophomore year to be invited to become a Phi Kappa Phi member.

But to get that elusive invitation, you will have to meet the following eligibility requirements:

Junior student

You must have completed not less than 72 credit hours with at least 24 semester hours at your current institution where there’s a Phi Kappa Phi chapter. Also, you should rank in the top 7.5% of your class.

Senior student

You must have completed at least 90 credit hours with not less than 24 semester hours at your current institution where a Phi Kappa Phi chapter exists. In addition, you should rank in the top 10% of your class.

As mentioned earlier, graduate students can get invited to join the honor society, too.

But for them to receive an invitation and be eligible for nomination by a chapter, they must have completed at least 18 graduate hours or the equivalent at their institution where a Phi Kappa Phi chapter is available.

And just like senior students, they should be in the top 10% of their class, too.

Phi Kappa Phi Membership Costs

Just like other honor societies in college, joining Phi Kappa Phi doesn’t come free of charge. So, in other words, receiving an invitation to join doesn’t automatically make you a member.

As a new member, you will be required to pay a couple of fees.

One is the national fee, which starts at $72.

This fee covers the certificate, pin, and a year of dues. The other is the chapter fee, which can vary from chapter to chapter. Needless to say, it will depend on which college you are going to. This fee takes care of the cost of the reception or banquet and local dues, too.

Every year, you will have to pay the annual membership fee, which costs $42. This fee is a requirement for you to stay an active member as well as continue to enjoy the perks of being a Phi Kappa Phi member for another year.

But you can also choose to renew your membership for multiple years and take advantage of discounted rates.

In 2018, the lifetime membership fee to Phi Kappa Phi increased from $300 to $400. The senior lifetime membership fee, on the other hand, increased from $225 to $300.

To maintain its commitment to keeping membership costs affordable, the honor society itself said that the increase in lifetime membership fees was the first in more than 15 years.

Benefits Available to Phi Kappa Phi Members

There are many different perks and resources available that make it worth being a member of Phi Kappa Phi. They can take advantage of them not only throughout their college careers but also during their professional lives. Student members, for instance, can enjoy scholarships, study abroad grants, membership discounts and career resources.

Students invited to join honor societies can have the opportunity to belong to organizations consisting of like-minded individuals. It goes without saying that it can enrich their college experience and even prepare them for their careers.

As a member, you are granted access to a host of members-only benefits.

Accepting the invitation to become a member of Phi Kappa Phi allows you to take advantage of an assortment of things that can prove to be valuable not only academically but also financially. Some examples include:

Discounts and promotions

Active members of Phi Kappa Phi have access to discounts and special offers on commodities offered by more than 30 partner companies. Shopping at Office Depot or Brooks Brothers, for instance, allows you to save up to 80%.

On the other hand, taking courses from The Princeton Review and Becker Professional Education lets you save up to $300.


According to Phi Kappa Phi, it has supported the educational pursuits of its members through competitive scholarships and grants since 1932. Every year, it awards up to $1.3 million to outstanding students, members and chapters.

Undergraduate student members can receive study abroad grants worth $1,000 each — the honor society gives away 125 of those every year.

Meanwhile, members who are entering the first year of graduate or professional studies may take advantage of fellowships, whose amounts range from as low as $8,500 to as high as $35,000.

Internship opportunities

Phi Kappa Phi makes the Internship Board available to members, where they can post their resumes, search for available internships all over the planet and apply to the ones they like.

In addition, they can have their resumes reviewed by expert writers to make theirs more attractive and increase their chances of getting accepted.

Academic recognition

Because Phi Kappa Phi is a prestigious honor society, membership to it serves as a stamp of excellence.

As a member, you will receive not only a certification of initiation but also a pin and a personalized membership card.

There are also many items that are going to be exclusively available to you for your graduation day, although they come with price tags. The medallion, for instance, costs $16. Meanwhile, the recognition bundle costs $51.50.

Conclusion: Is Joining Phi Kappa Phi Worth It

It’s a wonderful opportunity to get invited to join Phi Kappa Phi, which is the oldest, biggest and most selective honor society in all the land.

Not only does it mean that you have an impressive academic profile but also provides you with access to benefits and resources, ranging from grants to internships, exclusive to members.

However, in exchange for the prestige and many perks are fees that you will have to take care of. So, before you agree to join, take your time and carefully determine whether the associated costs are worth it.

Related Questions

Who are some notable alumni members of Phi Kappa Phi?

Some of the most well-known alumni of Phi Kappa Phi are Jimmy Carter, the 39th US president, and Al Gore, the 45th US vice president. Other notable alumni of the popular honor society include Hillary Clinton, the 67th US secretary of state and Michael Dukakis, the 65th and 67th Massachusetts governor.

When was Phi Kappa Phi founded?

The honor society Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 as Lambda Sigma Eta Society by Marcus L. Urann, who, back then, was a student at Maine State College (now the University of Maine). When Urann graduated, the institution’s president, Abram Harris, continued promoting the honor society. It was renamed Phi Kappa Phi in 1900.

Read Next: Tau Sigma Membership: To Join or Not to Join?

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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