FAQs

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What is Phi Eta Sigma (PES)?


Phi Eta Sigma is a national honor society for first-year college students. Our goal is to encourage and reward academic excellence among first-year students in institutions of higher learning. The oldest and largest first-year honor society, Phi Eta Sigma was founded at the University of Illinois on March 22, 1923. PES now has more than 375 chapters throughout the United States and more than 1,000,000 inducted members.​ At the University of Illinois, the alpha chapter has over 1,000 members.




How do I join PES?


We send an invitation out to all University of Illinois freshmen who have a 3.5 or higher GPA after their first semester of freshman year, and to sophmores during the fall semester. Those who accept the invitation and pay the one- time membership dues are inducted into Phi Eta Sigma. Once members are inducted into Phi Eta Sigma, they have the membership for life, regardless of their GPA afterwards.




When am I officially a member and what does membership include?


Once you accept the invitation to join and pay the one time dues, you will be added to the chapter mailing list. Once the deadline to pay dues passes, new members will begin to receive the weekly newsletter through which they can sign up for events and stay updated on chapter events. Around this time they will also be invited to the spring induction ceremony where new inductees will receive their certificate, pin, and shirt. Membership also includes the opportunity to apply to PES scholarships, access to PES resources, and much more.




Can I join PES if I am in a sorority, fraternity, etc?


Phi Eta Sigma is an honor society, therefore members are able to be a member of PES and other organizations such as sororities, fraternities, business fraternities, service fraternities, etc.




How do I get involved and what is the time commitment for being a member?


Phi Eta Sigma is whatever you make of it. In other words you can get as involved as you want. Once you pay your dues and attend induction, you will start receiving the newsletter that includes upcoming events, all of which you can attend. You can also find the events on the calendar located on the website. Want to go a step further? Apply for a leadership position, whether it is on a committee or on the executive board. Committee applications go live at the beginning of the semester, and executive board applications go out at the end of the school year. Members must earn 50 points in order to recieve PES graduation chords.




What kind of events does PES offer?


Phi Eta Sigma offers events in areas such as; philanthropy, professional development, service, and social. Past events have included an annual 5k to raise money for a charity of choice, appetizers at Legends, Red Bison restoration, tutoring at the local schools, resume workshops, and volunteering at the football games. Have an idea for an event? Reach out to the coordinator and make it a reality.




What is the difference between active and inactive points? How do I earn points?


Points are earned by participating in PES events or holding a leadership position (serving on a committee or the executive board). There are two different kinds of points, active and inactive. Active points are the points that are earned through active service in PES, such as volunteering, serving on a committee/executive board, or tutoring. Inactive points are the points that are earned during social events or general meetings, where you do not participate in active service.




Do I have to earn points every semester?


Not at all! We understand that college is a stressful time. If you have a busy semester and can’t earn any points, that's okay. If you want to earn all of your points in one semester that is also possible. The only point requirement PES has is that members who want to graduate with an honors cord need at least 50 points total, with 20 of those points being active points. ​




Who do I ask if I have questions about my points?


Email our DIA (Director of Internal Affairs) about any questions regarding points at dia.pes.illinois@gmail.com. Our point policy is that we will accept point changes up to a year after the event in question, so please keep track of your points. ​




How do I earn an honor cord for graduation?


In order to earn an honor cord for graduation, members must have a total of at 50 points, at least 20 of which must be active points. Active points are points that are earned through active service in PES, such as serving on a committee, volunteering, or tutoring. A newsletter will be sent out around the graduation season including an announcement about getting an honor cord, so stay tuned!




Do I qualify for a scholarship and how do I apply?


Any active member of Phi Eta Sigma may apply for a scholarship. Scholarship information will be sent through our weekly newsletter. Members applying for the undergraduate scholarships and awards, as well as the Scholar-Leader of the Year Award, must apply through the Alpha Chapter application that can be found on the Scholarship page of this website. Applications will be evaluated for completion and involvement in the UIUC PES Alpha Chapter. Members interested in graduate scholarships may submit applications directly to nationals; chapter nomination is not required for graduate applications, but endorsement by the chapter adviser is recommended.




How do I become a committee member or an executive board member?


Committee applications come out at the beginning of each semester. Depending on what kind of structure the coordinator prefers, committees could be either a semester-long position or a year-long position. Each committee will have its own sets of requirements that will be outlined in the application. Coordinators will then interview candidates and select their committee members. All committee members can earn a maximum of 16 active points, based on the quality of their work and their level of commitment to the position.

​Executive board applications come out towards the end of the spring semester. All positions are a year-long commitment and worth 25 active points. Candidates who are selected for an interview will be emailed in advance. Previous experience and involvement is preferred but not required. Even newly inducted members can apply! Selected candidates who accept the position will be required to go to a transition meeting in order to be trained by the board members who held the position.





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Champaign, IL, USA

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