by Dr. Donna Singleton
Early in every semester, email and “snail mail” invitations to join Phi Theta Kappa go out to more than two hundred RACC students. All students with a GPA of 3.6 or higher with 12 credits of associate degree coursework are invited to join. After receiving the invitations, many students ask two questions: “What is Phi Theta Kappa?” and “Why should I join?”
What is Phi Theta Kappa?
Phi Theta Kappa is a prestigious honors organization for outstanding students at two-year colleges. The primary purpose of Phi Theta Kappa is to recognize academic excellence; the secondary purpose is to encourage four-year colleges to give members scholarships; and the third purpose is to give leadership, fellowship, and service opportunities to those who choose to be active in the local chapter which operates as a club on campus. Opportunities are also available on the regional and international level.
“Why should I join?”
Among those many opportunities are numerous scholarships to further members’ education. In the past, we have had several students benefit from scholarships both here at RACC and when they transferred to other schools. Albright and Alvernia are local colleges that give scholarships to Phi Theta Kappa members.
We encourage active membership, but busy, dedicated students might question the value of putting time and effort into the chapter events. Here are some persuasive reasons: Four of our active members have won $1,000 Leaders of Promise Awards—awarded while they were here at RACC. Each year, RACC nominates two students for the ALL-USA ALL-PA Academic Team, entitling them to two years’ tuition to one of the fourteen Pennsylvania state universities. We have had students use these scholarships at Kutztown, Millersville, and West Chester. Two ALL-PA scholars will be selected in November. Among those selected in the past, two have been chosen as the top scoring students in the state and named New Century Scholars. One of our members was named one of only 20 in the country and received a $5,000 scholarship.
One of our members served as the state Phi Theta Kappa president. Active members have attended national Phi Theta Kappa events in Philadelphia, Seattle, Nashville, Las Vegas, and Washington DC, as well as regional events at Rowan University in New Jersey, at several New Jersey shore towns, Wilmington, Delaware and Baltimore, Maryland. Our chapter entered a Case Study Challenge a few years ago, winning $500; we were one of only 17 chapters across the country to earn this award.
All of these recognitions can be included on resumes, scholarship applications, and job applications.
In addition, membership provides a way to make beneficial connections with others on a social and academic level. Some members make life-long friendships through membership. Research shows that involvement in the college community beyond the classroom provides a more satisfying experience.
For more information, email Danelle Bower, advisor of our Alpha Sigma Rho Chapter at firstname.lastname@example.org