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Thread: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

  1. #1
    Oliphaunt
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    Default Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    I've just received a nice shiny brochure inviting me to become a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the "official honor society for two-year colleges [recognized] by the American Association of Community Colleges". It's $75 for a lifetime membership. Is this useful to me in any way? Will it look good on a resume? Do I get to learn the secret handshake of the Illuminati?
    Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one. A moment. In childhood. When it first occurred to you that you don't go on forever. Must have been shattering. Stamped into one's memory. And yet, I can't remember it.

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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    My guess is that it's only useful if people mistake it for Phi Beta Kappa--the nation's oldest academic honor society. Which is arguably useful and looks good on a resume.

    Certainly I've never heard of Phi Theta Kappa before.

    At some level, I suppose membership in such an organization could be a useful networking tool. But part of me says that while there's no great shame in attending a two year college and getting a degree from it, there's no reason for great pride in it either. Exceptions made for those who would never have attended college otherwise but. . .

    It must be admitted that I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to judging people by their alma maters.

    I suppose in theory a membership in Phi Theta Kappa could be useful as a way to network and meet people, but part of me thinks that the kind of people you will meet are just not worth the effort.

    On the other hand, I'm a bit of a hermit, and I loathe networking with every fiber of my being. And I fear I'm a bit snobby about the two year college thing.

    But in the long run, I'm not seeing Phi Theta Kappa opening a lot of doors the way that a degree from a more prestigious school could.

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    Elephant Wheresgeorge04's avatar
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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    Quote Originally posted by Eureka
    My guess is that it's only useful if people mistake it for Phi Beta Kappa--the nation's oldest academic honor society. Which is arguably useful and looks good on a resume.
    Exactly what I came to say. Seriously, they couldn't come up with something that DOESN'T rhyme with Phi Beta Kappa?

    Joe

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    Elephant
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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    It might be useful if you decide to apply to a four-year college, or if you're in a field that is staffed largely with people with two-year degrees. Other than that, I'd hold out until you're nominated to the professional honor society.
    There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. -- Ray Bradbury's "Coda"

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    Clueless but well-meaning Hatshepsut's avatar
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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    Without knowing more, it sounds vaguely scammish to me. The resemblance to Phi Beta Kappa smacks of an intent to deceive, or at least to piggyback on the prestige of another organization.

    But I don't really have a clue, I could be totally wrong.

    My view is also colored by the fact that although I have spent a fair bit of my life surrounded by smart people with advanced degrees from prestigious institutions, I only know one person who was Phi Beta Kappa - and she was insufferably proud of the fact, taking every possible opportunity to mention it ("oh, look at that passing car! The color reminds me of my Phi Beta Kappa key!"). So while I'm sure it is an unfair characterization, I associate membership in such organizations with insecurity.

    You are way too cool for them, WhyNot.

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    Stegodon Boozahol Squid, P.I.'s avatar
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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    Quote Originally posted by Wheresgeorge04
    Exactly what I came to say. Seriously, they couldn't come up with something that DOESN'T rhyme with Phi Beta Kappa?
    Joe
    Heck, theta even looks like a beta, if you squint a little. This thing is only useful as an attempt to try to put over that you're a ?BK

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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    To me, I don't think this is a scam in the same way that the Nigerian e-mails are a scam. But I'm really unconvinced that a lifetime membership grants the average member $75 worth of benefits. ( I see scholarships and such on their webpage. If you got a scholarship from them, that would be worth more than $75. I just suspect that a lot fewer people get scholarships than pay the membership fees).

    Incidentally, I would not be surprised if CairoCarol knows more than one Phi Beta Kappa--but the others are sensible people who don't figure there's any need to make having a really high grade point average the most important thing they've ever done. EDIT: Actually, she kinda acknowledges this potential--but qualifying for it and actually being a member aren't entirely the same thing, and it is possible that no one else among her acquantiances figured that the value of Phi Beta Kappa was greater than the cost of membership.

    And given that this society is aimed at people from two year colleges . . . well it just strikes me as being very much a big fish in a small pond type of bragging right. Most people who would be impressed by Phi Theta Kappa will be equally impressed when you casually drop your grade point average into conversation.

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    Clueless but well-meaning Hatshepsut's avatar
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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    Quote Originally posted by Eureka
    Incidentally, I would not be surprised if CairoCarol knows more than one Phi Beta Kappa--but the others are sensible people who don't figure there's any need to make having a really high grade point average the most important thing they've ever done.
    That's probably correct. I should have said "I only know one person who ever identified themselves as PBT."

  9. #9
    Oliphaunt
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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    Heh. Thanks guys, that's pretty much what I thought. I'm going for my RN license, which in my state is still attainable with a two year degree (an Associate in Applied Science). TPTB have been screaming for years that it's going to be made Bachelor's mandatory, and there is a bit of a glaring feud, as I understand it, between "certificate" nurses and "degreed" nurses (although I don't approve of the distinction; and AAS is a degree, just not the important one.) But the AAS is what I can afford, in time and money, at this point in my life.

    Anyhow, I'm pretty sure my PELL grants will pay for my AAS, and then I can get to work and my employer can pay for my Bachelor's, so honestly the scholarships, unless they were really good and really generously given out, aren't enough of an inducement. Not when I weigh that against someone looking at my resume and thinking less of me for "trying to pull one over" by having an honor that's close to, but not really, Phi Beta Kappa.

    ETA: How 'bout some domebo props for my 3.9? That'd make me feel just as good for free! 8-)
    Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one. A moment. In childhood. When it first occurred to you that you don't go on forever. Must have been shattering. Stamped into one's memory. And yet, I can't remember it.

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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    You absolutely deserve props for your 3.9--that requires both smarts and dedication to accomplish. And props for knowing where you want to be in life and striving to get there.

  11. #11
    Elephant
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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    AIUI, some states are trying to phase out certificate nurses and require bachelor's degrees. A lot of it comes down to scope of practice; a BSN supposedly allows you to do more than an AAS would. It also allows career progression into advanced practice/nurse practitioner or anesthesia. In terms of funding, the state may also have additional money available for further training; I know Pennsylvania does.

    I joined my university's honor society when I was invited to do so. It looks good on my resume and I get to wear a shiny medallion as part of my academic regalia. But that's at the four-year level, and the most it'll do for me now is make my application for PhD that much stronger. As I said upthread, though, PTK may not help you unless you go on to a four-year college. If there is a similar honor society for nursing, I'd join that.

    And congrats on the 3.9! I know how hard it is to carry a full load and have a young child to care for.
    There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. -- Ray Bradbury's "Coda"

  12. #12
    Clueless but well-meaning Hatshepsut's avatar
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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    Yeah, way to go .... 3.9 is something to be proud of under ANY circumstances.

  13. #13
    Oliphaunt
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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    Quote Originally posted by WhyNot
    ETA: How 'bout some domebo props for my 3.9? That'd make me feel just as good for free! 8-)
    Dude, that is very impressive. Much more so than a vaguely deceitful 'honor society'.

  14. #14
    Stegodon Jaglavak's avatar
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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    Quote Originally posted by WhyNot
    How 'bout some domebo props for my 3.9?
    Damned average raiser!

  15. #15
    XJETGIRLX
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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    I was in Phi Theta Kappa and because of that, received a $1k annual scholarship to the community college I started with. So, I think it was worth the cost of joining.

    Aside from that, being in Phi Theta Kappa has also granted me a lifetime of pre-approved PTK credit card offers.

    YMMV.

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    Default Re: Phi Theta Kappa: Legit? Useful?

    PTK has been around for at least twenty-some years, so it's not a passing fad.

    When I got my Associate's degree, I don't recall that it cost anything to join PTK, and I don't recall getting anything other than a certificate. Certainly no lasting benefits have come from it.

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