Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and one of the most prestigious academic honor societies in the United States. Founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary
, Phi Beta Kappa now has chapters at 280 colleges and universities (see the list of Phi Beta Kappa chapters
). A college is awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa only after rigorous evaluation of the school’s strengths in the liberal arts and sciences. The advantages of attending a college with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and eventually earning membership are many:
1. Phi Beta Kappa Colleges are Well RespectedOnly 10 percent of colleges nationwide have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and the existence of a chapter is a clear sign that the school has high quality and rigorous programs in the liberal arts and sciences.
2. Membership is Highly SelectiveAt colleges with a chapter, roughly 10% of students join Phi Beta Kappa. An invitation is extended only if a student has a high GPA and proven depth and breadth of study in the humanities, social sciences and sciences. Thus, being able to list Phi Beta Kappa on a resume reflects a high level of achievement.
3. The Star FactorMembership in Phi Beta Kappa means you’re part of the same organization as famous high-achievers like Condoleezza Rice, Tom Brokaw, Jeff Bezos, Susan Sontag, Glenn Close, George Stephanopoulos and Bill Clinton.
4. NetworkingFor college students and recent graduates, the networking potential of Phi Beta Kappa shouldn’t be underestimated. With over 500,000 members nationwide, Phi Beta Kappa membership connects you to successful and intelligent people throughout the country. Also, many communities have Phi Beta Kappa associations that will bring you into contact with people of varying ages and backgrounds.
5. PBK Supports the Liberal Arts and SciencesPhi Beta Kappa sponsors numerous activities and awards to support the liberal arts and sciences. Membership dues and gifts to Phi Beta Kappa are used to host lectureships, scholarships and service awards that champion excellence in the humanities, social sciences and sciences.