In 1929, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) was recognized as the official and legitimate honor society for 2-year colleges by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
You just received an invitation to join the organization, which has approximately 250,000 active members in community colleges in the US. Should you grab the opportunity?
Phi Theta Kappa is not as selective as some other honor societies. Still, members can enjoy a number of benefits such as scholarships, discounts and offers, transfer success, career training and leadership development programs. Membership is on an invitation-only basis and involves a one-time fee.
There’s a PTK chapter at almost 1,300 community colleges in 11 countries. So, in other words, it’s an international honor society. Over 3.8 million students have been inducted into it since its founding in 1918.
If you are torn between joining it and another honor society, keep reading.
Below, I will talk about some of the most important things you need to know about Phi Theta Kappa, including especially the many different perks available exclusively to members of the organization.
By the time you are through checking out this post, you will have a much better idea if becoming a PTK member is worth it.
Who Gets Invited to Join Phi Theta Kappa
Phi Theta Kappa membership is per invitation only. Students who get invited to join are those who are attending institutions with a PTK chapter and have completed a minimum of 12 hours of coursework toward an associate or a bachelor’s degree. Having a GPA of 3.5 is a requirement, too, although chapters may choose to raise it.
Since it’s considered the official honor society for community colleges, you should be enrolled in one to be eligible for membership. Those who are working on 2-year and 4-year programs may get invited to join.
Fret not if you are enrolled in a certificate program — you may qualify to get an invite, too!
As a matter of fact, many other types of students are also eligible. Some of them are part-time students, international students and dual-enrolled and transfer-only students, too.
Generally speaking, those who receive an invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa have GPAs of not less than 3.5. Each chapter may set its own GPA requirement for a member to stay on the roster.
Because each chapter may have different eligibility requirements, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your college’s PTK advisor in order to determine whether or not you are eligible to join.
Here are the requirements based on the program a student is enrolled in:
Associate or bachelor’s degree
Of course, it’s important that the community college you are attending has a Phi Theta Kappa chapter. You must also have completed not less than 12 hours of coursework. Again, generally, you should have a GPA of not less than 3.5.
Enrolled in a 1-year certificate program?
To be eligible to join Phi Theta Kappa, you must have completed a minimum of 6 hours of coursework. Needless to say, having a GPA of at least 3.5 and a PTK chapter at your institution is a must.
Phi Theta Kappa Membership Costs
What’s really nice about Phi Theta Kappa is that it asks members to pay a membership fee only once. After you pay $60 using a credit card or a debit card or at the local chapter’s headquarters, you become a member of the organization.
But it’s important to keep in mind that you will also have to pay a regional fee.
Simply put, the said fee takes care of the costs of events and programs of PTK in your immediate region.
But the good news is that, just like the membership fee, the regional fee is a one-time fee only, whose amount can vary from area to area. Also, some chapters may charge members a local fee, which will help with local operation expenditures.
Once you have paid the membership fee and any other fees that the Phi Theta Kappa chapter may require, you will receive a passcode to join. But read the fine print as the passcode comes with an expiration date.
After successfully logging on using the provided passcode, you can start getting involved locally.
For instance, you may attend your induction ceremony, which allows you to meet other members, including newly inducted ones just like you.
You may also start checking out PTK’s blog, which is The Reach, as well as follow the honor society on its various social media platforms.
What are the Benefits Phi Theta Kappa Members Can Enjoy?
Similar to other honor societies, Phi Theta Kappa offers its members exclusive access to an assortment of benefits. Naturally, some of them include scholarships to help them fund their undergraduate degrees and, at times, even master’s degrees. Transfer students may enjoy scholarships amounting to $246 million in total.
One of the perks of being a member of an honor society, especially something prestigious and on an invitation-only basis, is that it serves as a badge of distinction that can help you stand out during your college and professional careers.
As a member of Phi Theta Kappa, you can take advantage of benefits available to members such as:
According to Phi Theta Kappa itself, scholarships are the primary reason why many college students join the organization.
There are various scholarships available to help students earn their associate degree so that they can transfer to 4-year institutions. Some scholarship categories PTK offers include:
- Associate degree scholarships
- Bachelor’s degree scholarships
- Transfer student scholarships
- Dual enrollment student scholarships
- Career tech student scholarships
- Nursing student scholarships
- Veteran scholarships
Every year, nearly $1 million in competitive scholarships are offered to members, sometimes up to $55,000 each.
Discounts and offers
College students have a lot of things to spend on.
Phi Theta Kappa knows this, which is why it gives its members access to various discounts and offers for products and services provided by a number of companies such as:
- Enterprise and National
- Hurst Review Services
It’s not uncommon for many degree-seeking students to first attend a 2-year college and then transfer to a 4-year institution after earning an associate degree to start working on a bachelor’s degree.
Fortunately for Phi Theta Kappa members, they can take advantage of PTK Connect, which helps them look for transfer-friendly colleges and universities as well as check out the scholarships they offer to students from community colleges.
Also offered by the organization to members is Transfer Edge, which allows them to obtain advice from admissions experts.
There are a handful of programs designed to help PTK members prepare for the career path of their liking by developing skills employers are looking for in candidates.
The organization’s Employment Edge program, for instance, allows members to navigate the job market by completing training courses.
Conclusion: Is Join Phi Theta Kappa Worth It
Not everyone gets an invite to become a member of Phi Theta Kappa. It’s exclusive to students who are attending 2-year institutions and meet certain requirements, such as completing a certain number of hours of coursework and having a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5, depending on the eligibility requirements of the PTK chapter.
As expected, there’s a membership fee to take care of as well as a regional fee and, in some instances, a local fee. However, all of them are one-time fees, which means there are no recurring fees such as in some honor societies.
Many benefits are available to PTK members, including those that make transitioning from a 2-year school to a 4-year college or university an easier process and affordable, too, through scholarship programs, make it worth the investment.
Are Phi Theta Kappa members required to participate in activities to maintain membership?
Phi Theta Kappa does not require its members to partake in various events and programs in order to keep their memberships. However, the organization recommends that everyone engage in the many perks that PTK offers so that they can get the most out of being members.
When was Phi Theta Kappa founded?
Phi Theta Kappa was founded in 1918. However, its beginnings can be traced to an honor society called Kappa Phi Omicron, which came into being in 1910 at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. For the first 6 years of its existence, PTK’s activities were exclusive to women’s junior colleges in the US.
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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.