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Phi Beta Kappa - Is it worth joining?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by jargon124, Nov 1, 2001.

  1. jargon124

    jargon124 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 2, 2001
    Ok I need some advice - I got in invitation from my school to join Phi Beta Kappa (the top 3% of each the junior and senior classes are invited to join). All I know about it is that it is somewhat prestigious and may be something nice to put on a resume. Should I join? Is there any point, is it worth anything? Thanks for any imput...
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  3. choker

    choker Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 30, 2001
    what about golden key society? anyone ever heard of that?
  4. Coalboy

    Coalboy Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2001
    East Providence, RI
    Shouldn't the real question be, "Why not?"
  5. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2001
    Chicago suburbs
    I'm in both - I'd recommend them highly. You are right in that Phi Beta Kappa is pretty prestigious - it is actually top 3% of seniors and top 1% of juniors (since it's usually only offered to outstanding seniors and super-duper outstanding juniors). Golden Key is a bit less prestigious than Phi Beta Kappa because it's newer and they have slightly lower standards. I think golden key only requires a 3.5 GPA. In addition to the GPA requirements for Phi Beta Kappa, you need to show proficiency in mathematics and a foreign language (through coursework) and some sort of unique extracurricular activity. They won't ask you about this, but they actually check up on you. I found out that my extracurricular thing was the research I had done - no idea how they found out about that.

    Most people just join and then use it to further pad their CV (it looks pretty good on a resume, CV, etc). Others are hardcore about being in PBK. One of my latin professors is very active with his chapter (I think harvard, but I could be wrong) - the guy wears a vest every day so that he has something to clip his Phi Beta Kappa key onto, which he displays every opportunity he gets.

    There's also Phi Kappa Phi, which I'd say is intermediate between PBK and GK in terms of prestige and difficulty of getting into.

    Not a whole lot of people are asked to join - only about 40 or so from my university were inducted in my graduating class, and not every school has a chapter. You earned it, so I'd say you should take advantage of it.
  6. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper 7+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2001
    I joined a couple honor societies my freshman year. When Golden Key invites came, I said to hell with it. I think they invite the top 10% of each class (which is not too impressive) and are quite expensive. If I am invited to join PBK, which I may be (I'm only 0.03 grade points shy), I will join. PBK seems a little more impressive than GK. I guess if you are into padding your resume with honor societies and have extra cash, go for both. I'd rather keep the $60.00 (whatever GK was asking for) in my wallet.
  7. Premed315U

    Premed315U Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    what's generally the required GPA?
  8. THE instiGATOR

    THE instiGATOR Cow Tipper 7+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2001
    I believe it varies from school to school. At my university, it is a 3.65 (I don't believe one's major is considered).
  9. Hoosierdaddy

    Hoosierdaddy Member 10+ Year Member

    Aug 28, 2001

    I was invited to join PBK last year as a senior at ASU, but I never got around to sending in the membership fee. I didn't feel that it would help me very much in the future. I was invited in the spring, after I had already been accepted to one of my top choices for med school. PBK is the most presigious undergrad honor society that I'm aware of, and you should be proud that you were invited to join. As someone else said, it certainly can't hurt. If I had another chance, I'd probably go ahead and join.
  10. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2001
    Chicago suburbs
    The requirements are:

    1) GPA in the top 3% of senior class (3.70 at my school)
    2) Major within a liberal arts curriculum (i.e. not engineering, arts, etc)
    3) Proficiency in math and a foreign language as demonstrated by coursework
    4) In-depth extracurricular activity (research, president of a club, etc)

    Like I said, PBK is most prestigous of the three. Of the 6,000 seniors at my school (figure 4,000 were in the college of liberal arts and sciences), about 200 were inducted into GK when I was, about 50 into Phi Kappa Phi, and about 30 into PBK.
  11. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    I didn't think the PBK requirements were so clearly defined. When I received PBK when I graduated last year, they didn't mention anything so specific; I just thought you needed proficiency across a liberal arts curriculum & demonstrated leadership potential.

    I went to a small school, and so that may be the answer to my question, but I never heard of Phi Kappa Phi or the golden key society...
  12. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2001
    Chicago suburbs
    I didn't hear about the requirements either. One of my friends was in the audience when I was inducted and they heard a different speech than we did that included the information above.
  13. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jun 4, 2001
    Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and generally considered the most prestigious honor society. Golden Key is newer, but rising in prestige (and has recently become international). Both are probably worth joining, as you have lifetime membership. If you get more involved (like I did), the connections you make can be invaluable. Never know when I'll need a good lawyer friend. :D
  14. Street Philosopher

    Street Philosopher freebird 10+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2000
    ann arbor
    there's gotta be way more people with a 3.7 than that... i mean assumming that only a third of them have any EC's... that's still only like 100 with a 3.7+. That sounds way off...

    at my school, you need a 3.84 just to get summa cum laude, and 3.73 for magna. i figured a lot more people get that...
  15. rxfudd

    rxfudd 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2001
    Chicago suburbs
    I'm sure that there's more with a 3.7, but probably not many have satisfied the other requirements. It's not just GPA that gets you in and it's not just a matter of doing any old extracurricular activity. There are also probably some who choose not to join.

    They're pretty choosy about who they let in - I remember that there was one girl in my graduating class whom they learned had been arrested and they revoked their offer. When they found out that she had been arrested for protesting animal abuse, they gave it back.
  16. edmadison

    edmadison 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2001
    Lactate > 15
    As one of the previous writers noted, the requirements for PBK vary from school to school. Some just invite the top whatever percent to join. Others have different criteria. The only absolute criteria that I know of is that you must be in a liberal arts program: NOT business, NOT engineering... The national PBK website mentions foreign language a math and foreign language, but I had no college language. It also talks about being well rounded. They have guidelines, but its up to the school.

    At my school, the individual departments selected who was in PBK. This balanced out difficulty differences among majors. For example, you could have a pretty "low" GPA (3.5) if you were a math major and still get in, but if you were a Psych major you needed to be smoking good!!!

    As for whether you join. I will say unquestionably yes. I was inducted about 10 years ago and it has consistanty been noticed by people looking at my resume. No one seems to care about dean's list (not even on the resume any more), freshman honor societies, honors thesis or even class rank. I think people use it as a surrogate for class rank. They know that only a small percentage make it each year. Its kind of like AOA in that regard. In the real world very few people include their GPA or Class rank on their resume that looks pretentious, for some reason listing PBK is not seen that way.

    A word about the resume too. I don't know much about the "medical CV" as a form of resume, but I can tell you about a regular resume. As you move on in life, you have less and less room on your resume, education becomes secondary to experience and you must decide what to keep and what not. On my resume, the only thing I have is my college, majors, title of my honors thesis and the level of honors I revieved (i.e., with honors, high honors, highest honors) and PBK. I only included the thesis because it was relevant to my profession! Unfortunately, I cannot list the rest of my stuff, there just isn't room and no one cares that I was in the orchestra or a freshman honor society.

  17. luckyduck

    luckyduck Member 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2001
    Columbus, Ohio
    We do not have Phi Beta Kappa at my college, but my grandmother (who is 92, by the way) was a Phi Beta Kappa member at the University of Cincinnati. She remembers it as one of her greatest honors and as honors go, it is probably one of the most prestigious! I would say go for it- it looks good, it's a great honor, and you have earned it. Congratulations!!! :D
  18. styphon

    styphon Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jun 25, 2001
    New york
    Thats odd about the "liberal arts major" requirement for PBK..
    Its odd in the fact that i am in PBK,yet I was a computer science major when i joined. :)
  19. Hopkins2010

    Hopkins2010 Banned Banned

    Nov 5, 1999
    Baltimore, Maryland

    Sounds like your college made a mistake, unless your degree in comp sci was offered by the college of arts and sciences at your school.

    I'm ineligible (engineering major), even though I think I'm pretty competitive with many other people I know at my school who were nominated.

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