Frequently Asked Questions about Phi Theta Kappa

Before we start, a few basic things about this organization:

Phi Theta Kappa (φθK) is an international academic honor society for community and two-year college students. It is not a club; nor is it a fraternity nor sorority. It has academic requirements for membership (similar to being named to the Dean's List or the President's List, or Phi Beta Kappa -the senior university academic honor society).
The Greek letters φ θ K are pronounced " Phi Theta Kappa ", but it is incorrect and inappropriate to call this organization PTK -because you do not use letters of one alphabet to stand for letters of another alphabet.
Here are 13 basic questions:
1) What about my GPA?
You enter the organization with a 3.5 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) based on the most recently completed quarter at De Anza (DAC); under the assumption you become active (which might cause your gpa to drop), you are allowed some leeway: once a member, you must maintain a minimum 3.25 CGPA.
What happens if at the end of this (or any) term my CGPA falls below 3.25?
You would be considered on probation, and you would have the next grading period to bring your CGPA back up to at least 3.25. HOWEVER:
If at the end of that next term you successfully raise your CGPA to 3.25 or more, you are back to being a member ‘in good standing’, and all is well.
If at the end of that next term your CGPA is still below 3.25, then your membership is revoked.
If at the end of the current term your CGPA is below 3.25, but next term you leave De Anza (transfer to another school, work full time, essentially stop attending DAC), then you are considered still a member of Phi Theta Kappa, but ‘not in good standing’. Should you return to DAC at some time in the future, you are still under the requirement to bring your CGPA back up to 3.25 (as described above).
2) What are my obligations as a member?
Primarily to keep your CGPA at 3.25 or above. There are no other obligations. Everything else you do in the organization is voluntary and at your own discretion.
3) Do I have to attend chapter meetings?
No. Participation in any and all chapter-related events is voluntary.
4) How am I informed about what the chapter is doing?
There is both a chapter email listserv and a chapter website

When you become a member you are placed on the listserv by your advisor. Instructions about the listserv are sent to you by the advisor.

5) What types of scholarships are available through Phi Theta Kappa?
There are basically two types: those offered by Phi Theta Kappa (“in-house” scholarships) and those offered by 4-year colleges & universities (“transfer” scholarships). Among the in-house scholarships are the All-USA Community College Academic Team, CocaCola, Hites .
University Transfer Scholarships (of which there are over $35 million available exclusively for Phi Theta Kappa members) are actually provided by the university to which you apply, but essentially you have to contact the university directly. You can check the list of schools that provide such scholarships on the Headquarters (HQ) website

Once you become a member, you will have access to more details of the scholarship application process.

6) Do I get priority registration at DAC?
Regrettably this is not (yet) offered by the college to our members.
7) If I am taking classes at Foothill College, can I apply for membership?
Each college has its own chapter; your membership here at DAC is based only on your classes, grades, and units taken at DAC. In short, Foothill (or any other college’s) grades/units etc. do not count towards membership criteria here at DAC.
8) How long does my membership last/Do I have to pay any other dues/What happens to my membership should I transfer to another (community) college?
Your membership is lifetime, and you pay dues only when you first join. The dues consist of three parts: International, Regional, and Chapter. Once you leave De Anza, you are considered an alumni of Phi Theta Kappa (just as you would be an alumni of De Anza). If you go to another community college, your membership can transfer with you –which means you would not have to pay Int’l or Regional (if you're still in NV/CA Region) dues. You may be asked by that chapter to pay their local dues –which might be charged once a year, once a term, or just once-whatever their local dues structure happens to be.
9) What are some of the activities of the chapter/region/organization?
There are three conventions during the year which members can attend: the Fall (October) NV/CA Regional Leadership-Through-Honors-in-Action, the Spring (March) NV/CA Regional Convention, and the Spring (April) International Convention. The chapter reimburses you for your registration cost, but other costs (primarily hotel and transportation) may have to be paid by each attendee. (There is also a fourth conference: a week-long International Honors Institute offered by Headquarters, but it is always in June, sometimes just before our finals. You may certainly attend if you so desire. You register directly with Headquarters.)
There is an Honors-in-Action project which is created by the officers of the chapter and is related to the academic honors topic. This is a year-long project, which begins in January and ends in December (the timeframe coincides with the Phi Theta Kappa calendar year).
There is a College Project that the chapter organizes and executes in conjunction with the College Administration. Chapter officers discuss and establish with the Administration an annual college project, and then the chapter ‘makes it happen’. Usually this is either a college-wide or community-wide service project.
There are other service projects that we typically do, some in conjunction with other chapters. These vary depending on the desires and interests of the officers and members. It is at chapter meetings that these kinds of issues are discussed and decided.
10) What formal college recognition do I get for being a member of Phi Theta Kappa?
Towards the end of the quarter in which you become a member, there is an induction ceremony held in your honor. Information about the ceremony is sent to you by the advisor.
A notation is made on your transcript that you are a member of Phi Theta Kappa; one is also made on the June graduation program –assuming you file for and participate in graduation. (Don’t forget that you also get a membership card and certificate sent directly to you from HQ)
11) What other benefit do I derive from membership?
Because of the long history of Phi Theta Kappa (over 90 years) and the leadership and service that chapter members have given to their respective colleges and communities, many universities and businesses anticipate enrolling or hiring an individual who not only has achieved a high level of academic success, but who is also highly motivated, willing to take on responsibilities, and is successful in leadership and service. To some extent you benefit from the work and reputation that others before you have accomplished; once you become a member you should assume a sense of responsibility to continue that trend so that those who follow you will be able to enjoy the benefits of your efforts. And so this can continue in time….
12) What happens if I don't become a member this quarter? Can I become a member next quarter or next year?
Yes, but! If you wait, you will not receive an email invitation later on, as the Registrar's Office generates a list of only those who are "first-time" eligible. Therefore, in some future quarter, you would have to be enrolled at De Anza, meet the membership criteria that would be in effect at that time (gpa may change, units may change ---although there are no current plans to make any changes), and most importantly, YOU would have to take the initiative to contact Advisor Klein.
Finances are certainly one thing that may delay your decision. However, consider that if your cumulative gpa is say 3.51 now, and you decide not to join, and then at the end of this term your cum. gpa drops to 3.49 , you would NOT be eligible to join (until you bring your cum. gpa back up to 3.5)
13) What are the dues payment options?
When you accept membership on-line, you will need to pay your dues by credit card. If you do not have or want to use a credit card, then you'll have to submit paper application and pay either by cash or bank check (a personal check will not be acceptable as people have bounced checks-yes, this has been a problem).
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