The Top Benefits of Joining Alpha Kappa Mu
Joining an honor society can sometimes feel like stepping into a strange museum. You're worried that you don't belong, or that you might break something priceless just by being there. You don't need to feel this way when you become a member of the Alpha Kappa Mu honor society.
When you join Alpha Kappa Mu, you'll gain access to all of the incredible benefits of honor society membership and more. This organization has had a focus on equity and inclusion since its founding in 1937. Now students in the racial global majority have found a place to make friends, take on leadership roles, and grow.
Are you a high-achieving undergraduate or graduate student? Are you looking for an honor society where you can celebrate your excellence with others who look like you? Alpha Kappa Mu will welcome you with open arms and provide you with myriad opportunities to grow.
Read on to learn about the many benefits of becoming a part of this historically significant organization!
Alpha Kappa Mu Requirements
Alpha Kappa Mu puts equity, accessibility, and access at the forefront of its mission. Their requirements and criteria for membership reflect this mission.
The organization is open to individuals of all gender identities and racial backgrounds. It places an emphasis on providing opportunities for students from underrepresented racial groups.
Membership is available to both graduate and undergraduate students. Undergraduates must be in their junior or senior year of an academic program when they apply. You must have completed 50% of your graduation requirements to be eligible.
Graduate students must be currently matriculated. They should have earned a minimum of fifteen credit hours in their program to become eligible.
Academically, students must possess a minimum GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 GPA scale.
Most academic honor societies only accept students in the top 5% of their class. In contrast, Alpha Kappa Mu is open to students in the top 10% of their class. This provides more opportunities for high-achieving students with historical academic disadvantages.
Like most honor societies, students must display good character. Many chapters require one or more character references from academic faculty. They use the letters to determine whether students meet this requirement.
These letters should expand on the student's potential for leadership and service.
Alpha Kappa Mu accepts students who meet the above requirements, regardless of major. The focus is on academic achievement and a desire to lead and serve the campus community.
Alpha Kappa Mu and Equity
On its surface, Alpha Kappa Mu seems to offer what the average academic honor society offers its members.
You'll gain all the connections afforded to member students. You will also become eligible for organization-specific scholarships. Members can expect to boost their resumes through affiliation.
What Alpha Kappa Mu has to offer its members that other organizations might not is a long and enduring history of equity.
A History of Academic Inequity
Populations of color have less access to honor societies and similar membership organizations. These organizations are often based on the campuses of private colleges and universities. Many of these campuses were once segregated by race.
Students from the racial global majority are historically less likely to gain admittance to these schools. That means they are less likely to apply. They may never gain access to the majority of honor societies at all.
Inequity in America has deep historical roots, and populations of color have been working to combat this for years. America's history of racial segregation extends to higher academia. After the Civil War and before the Civil Rights Act, institutions of higher learning practiced segregation.
As a result, the vast majority of colleges and universities were not accessible to Black students. These students could not attend regardless of academic skills or achievement.
This had a trickle-down effect. Fewer Black Americans were able to pursue career opportunities requiring a college degree. This led to fewer Black Americans in higher-paying jobs.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities accepted Black and racially diverse students. They provided one of the few opportunities to gain academic degrees during this time.
The majority of these institutions were in the American south. This is where racial segregation was most rampant. The campuses were safe places to network with other students of color.
HBCUs were always at the forefront of providing opportunities for underrepresented groups. They were the first institutions to welcome women as both students and professors. During WWII, HBCUs even offered professorships to Jewish academics fleeing the Nazi regime.
The one thing that these colleges and universities were missing were honor societies. Many campuses had small honors organizations. These groups lacked the prestige of those available at predominantly white institutions.
How Alpha Kappa Mu Responded
The Alpha Kappa Mu honor society began in order to provide opportunities to students from underrepresented racial groups. It originated on the campus of Tennessee A & I College, a Historically Black College. At the time of its founding, there were no national honor societies affiliated with the country's then 121 HBCUs.
As a result, the founders built the organization around providing equitable access for students in underrepresented groups. This becomes obvious from taking a glance at the membership requirements. Everyone is welcome in this organization, and race is no barrier whatsoever.
Today, there are 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. That means three percent of all colleges and universities hold an HBCU designation. After the establishment of Alpha Kappa Mu in 1937, high achieving students at these institutions have an honor society where they truly belong.
There is a chapter of Alpha Kappa Mu on the campus of many Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the country. One of the biggest benefits of joining this organization is becoming part of the group's legacy of equity. This may make it the best honor society for BIPOC students to join.
Where Alpha Kappa Mu Began
Dr. George W. Gore, Jr was the dean of Tennessee A & I State college in 1937 when Alpha Kappa Mu was founded. He invited representatives from five colleges to form an organization to discuss the lack of a national honor society. He called it The Federation of Honor Societies.
He changed the name to Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society at a landmark meeting of this federation in 1939.
At this meeting, representatives from many new organizations were in attendance. Most of these representatives hailed from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
It became clear that there was a need and desire for a fully-inclusive national honor society. They hoped a national organization would hold more prestige through widespread affiliation.
From that moment on, the organization's purpose became evident. They hoped to become a national organization. It would welcome students from all racial backgrounds, religious backgrounds, and national identities.
This goal quickly became a reality as the word spread. Chapters began to form across the country.
In 1952, Alpha Kappa Mu became part of the Association of College Honor Societies. It officially became incorporated in September of 1977.
Today, the organization has its base in Albany, Georgia. There are over eighty chapters on campuses across the country. The majority are in the southern United States, due to the high volume of HBCUs in the region.
Other Benefits of Alpha Kappa Mu
Most Alpha Kappa Mu reviews reference the many ways in which students feel accepted and welcome. As a member, you will gain unique opportunities for service and leadership These opportunities are often unavailable to students from underrepresented groups.
You will also be able to network and connect with leaders of color from across a multitude of fields and disciplines.
Organization Specific Scholarships
Most honor societies offer organization-specific scholarships to member students. Alpha Kappa Mu is no exception!
Each year, Alpha Kappa Mu offers the George W. Gore/Thomas J. Crawford Scholarship. Only active, member students can earn this organization-specific award.
Alpha Kappa Mu awards two of these scholarships annually. They offer $2000 to current, active members who will be graduating that academic year.
A student must gain a nomination from his or her chapter. Each chapter has the opportunity to nominate one exceptional graduating member per year. Leadership chooses the winners at the national level based on these chapter nominations.
In addition to the cash award, winning students receive a commemorative plaque.
Access to the National Convention
Each year, Alpha Kappa Mu puts on a large national convention for all member chapters. Each convention has a theme.
The organization invites a variety of professionals of color in a wide range of fields. These guests present keynote speeches and offer workshops for those in attendance.
This annual convention is a wonderful opportunity to meet members and alumni from across the country. Attendees include the highest achieving, most diverse collection of student leaders in one place!
A different college or university hosts the event each academic year. It can provide members with an opportunity to travel to many landmark HBCU campuses.
Service and Leadership
As a member, you will participate in regular meetings. Most chapters use this time to plan service initiatives and events. This will provide you with opportunities to select and curate service initiatives that reach the causes that you believe in.
Many chapters focus their initiatives on supporting and uplifting communities of color. They often provide opportunities for the next generation of Alpha Kappa Muans!
Member students can gain hands-on leadership experience through planning, organizing, and executing chapter meetings. You can help plan and facilitate service projects, and campus events.
All of this experience is valuable on resumes and CVs. You will find yourself talking about your leadership experience during job interviews in the future! Your service may even connect you with potential future employers!
Once you become a member, you will have opportunities to run for chapter-specific leadership roles. Some students run for roles at the national level, too. These titles are impressive to future employers when included on resumes, too.
Furthermore, your alumni status will connect you with the wide network of other AKM alumni during your job search.
Friendship and Fellowship
For many students of color, it's rare to find an organization where the members all look like you. With Alpha Kappa Mu, you will feel like you are part of something immediately.
You find yourself surrounded by high-achieving students across a variety of academic disciplines. Every member has an investment in their studies and is looking to go above and beyond.
Membership in Alpha Kappa Mu is an opportunity to make friends with other top students. This can include students who you might not otherwise meet. As a general academic honor society, you can find member students from every department on campus.
Students in the sciences can find friends and collaborators in the arts department. Students in the English department can get to know mathematicians and engineers. It's a wonderful way to make friends and expand your network.
Everyone Is Welcome in Alpha Kappa Mu
Are you seeking an organization where you will truly belong? You can't go wrong with membership in Alpha Kappa Mu. This organization has been a welcoming community of diverse scholars for eighty-five years!
High achieving students of color enjoy a life-long connection to history. Members embrace the chance to lead, serve, and grow with students who look like they do.
You can read about Alpha Kappa Mu and many other honor societies at honorsociety.org. As a member, you'll gain access to a directory of scholarships intended for students like you. Sign up today to connect with other exceptional students across the country!