It can be difficult to reach every student on your campus with information about Phi Theta Kappa. An easy fix is to educate those at your college who see the most students and likely get the most questions — faculty and staff — and turn them into evangelists for your chapter.
This was one step the Alpha Lambda Zeta Chapter from Asnuntuck Community College in Connecticut took to increase the visibility of their chapter, and they’ve seen a steadily increasing member acceptance rate as a result.
The chapter boasted a 41 percent acceptance rate in 2015, ranking them 21st on the 2015 President’s List. The President’s List was released in April and lists the chapters with the Top 25 acceptance rates last year.
“Last I looked, I believe we were over the 50 percent mark for the spring,” Advisor Michelle Coach said. “This is probably close to a 10 percent increase from the prior year.”
The chapter developed a sheet answering common questions about Phi Theta Kappa and distributed it to every professor, both full time and adjunct, at the college. All professors also receive copies of the list of those students who have been invited to join Phi Theta Kappa.
Armed with the FAQ’s, instructors can now answer any question their student may have and encourage them to join. Some professors are also selected to give out Phi Theta Kappa invitations in class.
“The students get personal recognition in class, and the professors explain the honor bestowed on the students,” Coach said. “The professors have become aware, so now the students are aware.
“The more times the student hears about Phi Theta Kappa, the better chance they will join and have life-changing experiences.”
The idea for an FAQ sheet for professors stemmed from a review of the chapter’s marketing materials by one of the college’s marketing classes. The marketing class had recently adopted Alpha Lambda Zeta as a course project.
In a presentation, the class recommended that the chapter redesign its informational brochures to be less wordy, more eye-catching and more straightforward with the benefits of membership. The class also offered ideas on how the chapter could promote itself in an awareness video for the college.
Like many other chapters, Alpha Lambda Zeta has also found that a personal approach to member recruitment has helped increase acceptance rates. About two years ago, chapter officers began contacting eligible students personally to talk with them about Phi Theta Kappa.
“Several of our members know Phi Theta Kappa has made an incredible impact on their lives, and they want to share that experience with others,” Coach said. “A personal touch lets another person know that they have a support system that wants them to succeed.”
This personal approach extends all the way to the college president and his fellow administrators, who attend and participate in the chapter’s induction ceremonies. The administrators support the chapter’s projects, and they make sure the chapter is funded to attend regional and international events.
This acknowledgement of success has a great impact on chapter members and prospective students, Coach said, resulting in more students joining Phi Theta Kappa and more members taking on an active role in the chapter.
“Engaged and involved students are students that will complete college and have a strong goal in life,” she said. “I have watched many students step out of their comfort zone because someone has reached out to them.”