Since the establishment of Phi Beta Kappa at the College of William and Mary in 1776, the Greek letter honor societies have played an important role in American education and training. Today, to recognize their best students, many private postsecondary schools, institutes, colleges and universities join Alpha Beta Kappa.
Application Process - Institutions should submit a Charter Application and one-time Charter fee to join. Once approved, each institution receives its own Charter and Greek Chapter name. This Charter should be placed on display for all visitors and current students. The Charter - which is issued to the administration, faculty, staff, and students - includes the name of the institution, Charter date, and the official Greek name of the Chapter.
Selection Committee - to select candidates, each Chapter may choose to form a selection committee. This committee could include the President, Director, Director of Education or Student Services, Academic Dean, Faculty representatives, and one or two alumni members. Although institutional grading systems vary, society candidates should generally have marks of "A" or rank at the top of their class. As most institutions and programs are dramatically unique, each Chapter's selection committee determines its own basic selection criteria. The original group honored or "Charter Members" shall include the president or director, an academic officer or senior faculty member, and those students and others who may qualify. At the first official ceremony, it is recommended that alumni and a community leader or elected official be present. These individuals should be made "Honorary Members" of Alpha Beta Kappa.
Submitting Candidates - all recognition materials are prepared by Alpha Beta Kappa. Therefore, Chapters should submit a list of names exactly as they are to appear on the official certificates of membership at least eight business days prior to the ceremony. Please allow additional time if more than 25 individuals are to be recognized. Chapters can email, fax, or mail these names.
Sponsoring Candidates - the fee for each individual membership is $50 (fees may vary for honor cords and shipping). There are no annual dues for institutions or members. Candidates may be institutionally sponsored or student sponsored.
• Institutionally Sponsored - Most Chapters sponsor their students. These Chapters simply send their list of candidates to Alpha Beta Kappa via email. Within a few days, all recognition honors and materials are delivered to the institution.
• Student Sponsored - when students sponsor their own memberships, each Chapter simply gives each candidate a membership application (provided electronically by ABK). Applications can also be mailed or emailed with an invitational cover letter to potential candidates. Applications and fees are returned to the institution or sent directly to Alpha Beta Kappa. Recognition honors for these honor students are returned to the institution or mailed directly to students.
Certificates & Honors - each student elected to membership receives a personalized membership certificate which includes the name of the institution, Chapter name, and our Alpha Beta Kappa Gold Seal of Distinction. Certificates for honorary, alumni, faculty and staff members are indicated accordingly.
ABK Gold Key
To accompany these certificates, each outstanding student also receives our Honorary Alpha Beta Kappa Gold Key. Professionally die-struck, sandblasted and polished, each Gold Key profiles the Greek letters A.B.K., a five-pointed star, laurel branches, and two of the finest words in any language - Integrity and Excellence.
For the purposes of presentation during ceremonies, each Gold Key is handsomely profiled in its own case. As an added service, each honor student also receives a special congratulatory letter from Alpha Beta Kappa and a narrative about the society. Upon request, a letter of reference can also be acquired when seeking employment or further education.