New Member Selection Process

How new members are selected

Each semester, the Alpha of Virginia chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at the
College of William and Mary selects a group of seniors for induction
into its membership.  The main selection criteria are outstanding
academic achievement in the liberal arts at the College and strong
support from faculty members.  More specifically, ideal qualifications
include intellectual honesty and curiosity, careful scholarship,
creativity, good character, and a commitment to the life of the mind.
The selected students comprise no more than seven percent of the
graduating class, about half in the fall and half in the spring.  A
committee of several William and Mary faculty and staff, all members of
Phi Beta Kappa, take charge of the initial stage of the selection
process.  They review a list of students with high grade point averages
who are on track to earn a bachelor’s degree with a liberal arts
curriculum.  The committee sends requests to all College faculty for
recommendation letters on behalf of eligible students.  The response is
typically large (more than 150 letters).  For each student, the
committee considers the quantity and quality of recommendation letters
from faculty, grades achieved, curricular breadth, and scholarly
initiative.  To be selected, students must have at least one letter of
support from a faculty member.  Each semester, the selections committee
recommends to the chapter a list of students to be selected for
induction.  After discussion and possible amendments, the chapter
approves the list and invites those students for induction.