Phi Eta Sigma Academic Excellence in the First Undergraduate Year, since 1937

Questions and answers about Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society

Local answers may also be obtained by contacting the Associate Dean of Students and Dean of First-Years, Ronda Bryant, Elrod University Commons.

Recent inductees | National information

What is Phi Eta Sigma?

Phi Eta Sigma is a national honor society for college freshmen. Our goal is to encourage and reward academic excellence among freshmen in institutions of higher learning.

The oldest and largest freshman honor society, Phi Eta Sigma was founded at the University of Illinois on March 22, 1923. We now have more than 353 chapters throughout the United States, and more than 900,000 individuals have been inducted. Washington and Lee's chapter was chartered in 1937.

Phi Eta Sigma was voted membership into the Association of College Honor Societies in 1937. Only three societies have had longer continuous membership.

Who is eligible to join?

On campuses with a chapter of Phi Eta Sigma, all freshman men and women are eligible to join who have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale at the close of any curricular period during their first year and have a class rank in the top 20%. W&L chooses students based on their performance during the fall term of their freshman year and inducts students in February.

Must I be inducted at a particular time?

Our induction ceremony is considered a dignified event to which your parents and friends may be invited. Although you will prefer to be inducted with your classmates, you do not lose eligibility by missing the induction ceremony.

Is Phi Eta Sigma a social fraternity?

Phi Eta Sigma is a national honor society, not a social fraternity. Most chapters, including Washington and Lee's, have projects and activities promoting academic excellence and campus and community service. We also support and promote social interaction among chapter members.

Must I maintain my average?

No, life-time membership is conferred upon induction.

How much does membership cost?

The one-time membership fee is $45. Thirty-five dollars of this amount is designated for the national membership fee and ten dollars is earmarked for the local chapter fee.

What do I get for the $35 national fee?

Your national fee of $35 pays for your key, membership certificate, and copy of the national magazine, Forum of Phi Eta Sigma. The fee also pays the expenses for a chapter delegate to attend the national convention. The fee also pays a portion of the expenses for a chapter delegate and chapter adviser to attend the national convention; and a portion goes to the Founders Fund, which provides approximately seventy $1,000 awards and thirty-one $3,000 scholarships each year to members of Phi Eta Sigma for full-time undergraduate study. Five $5,000 scholarships are also available for the first year of graduate or professional study. Also available is the $10,000 Thomas Arkle Clark Scholar-Leader of the Year Scholarship.

Who is eligible for the scholarships?

Any Phi Eta Sigma member may apply for a graduate scholarship. Chapters may submit as many graduate applications as they deem appropriate. Graduate applications may also be sent directly to the secretary of the Scholarship Committee at the national office address or may be submitted to the chapter adviser so that all chapter applications may be sent to the national office in one mailing.

The $5,000 scholarship will be payable in two installments: one-half for the fall semester and one-half for the spring semester after the submission to the national office of an official college/university fall semester transcript documenting full-time study with a GPA of 3.5/4.0 or higher. Full-time study is defined as nine or more graduate hours of credit.

Why should I join Phi Eta Sigma?

Phi Eta Sigma is an outward recognition of personal accomplishment and serves as an incentive for continued high scholarship. It provides you the opportunity to meet freshmen scholars from all other academic disciplines on your campus and to join them in promoting academic excellence. Also, you may apply for scholarships provided by national and by some local chapters.

Membership in Phi Eta Sigma identifies you to employers, professional and graduate schools as a person of superior academic ability and performance.