First-Year Experience: Phi Eta Sigma

Phi Eta Sigma Induction

Phi Eta Sigma, a national honor society for college freshmen, was founded by three distinguished Phi Beta Kappa members, professors, and administrators at the University of Illinois on March 22, 1923.

Phi Eta Sigma is the oldest and largest freshman honor society, with membership now at more than 756,000. To be eligible for Phi Eta Sigma, a student must achieve a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 and be in the top 20% of their class by the end of the first year of college.

The goal of the Society is to encourage and reward academic excellence among first year students in institutions of higher learning. On the crest, there is a scroll with the motto of the organization, "Knowledge is power" written in Greek. Also on the crest are the Greek letters which form the name of the society: Phi, Eta, and Sigma. These letters represent the basis of the selection of members because they mean "Lovers of Wisdom."

By joining Phi Eta Sigma, a member may be nominated by the local chapter for a scholarship and if he or she is selected by the national scholarship committee, an award of up to $2000 is given to the member. Along with the chance of obtaining scholarships, there is also a National Convention that a delegate from each chapter has the opportunity to attend. This year's convention was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.