Alpha Alpha Alpha

A National Honor Society for First-Generation College Students

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are suspending temporarily the requirement that chapters must have at least one induction a year with at least 10 inductees in order to remain in good standing. Virtual induction ceremonies are permitted! We will mail all initiation materials to our chapters as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience. Click here to access our suggested script for online ceremonies.

Annual chapter fees are not charged until the academic year after an institution holds its first induction ceremony.

Effective February 18, 2021, we have a change in the qualifications for student membership: "Typically, a student is eligible if neither parent nor guardian earned a bachelor's degree prior to the student. However, we recognize that due to the students they serve, individual institutions may have a definition which varies from this. Institutions are permitted to use their existing institutional definition of first-generation student, so long as they inform the national board as to the definition being used; this requirement (notifying the national board) also applies should the institution change its definition after a chapter has been granted.” This new definition will be added to the bylaws and chapter advisor handbook.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning in the Spring and summer 2020 terms, many institutions moved from a letter grade system to a pass/fail or pass/no credit grading system (or allowed their students the choice). Accordingly, temporarily, we are allowing institutions to adjust the requirements for student induction as follows:

Members of the Class of 2020 whose overall GPA stood at 3.20 or higher prior to Spring 2020 may be inducted into their local chapter of Alpha Alpha Alpha.

For students expecting to graduate in summer or December 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will allow students with a GPA of 3.1 to be inducted into Alpha Alpha Alpha.

For students graduating in May 2021 or beyond, the 3.20 GPA stands.

Alpha Alpha Alpha, Established 2018

Alpha Alpha Alpha, or Tri-Alpha, was founded March 24, 2018 at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Over 100 members of the Alpha Chapter were initiated that day, including undergraduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, and honorary members. Following the successful induction, the College took steps to incorporate Alpha Alpha Alpha so that chapters could be started on other campuses across the country. Tri-Alpha exists as a not-for-profit (501(c)3) organization, for the purposes of supporting the activities of the honors society.

Students qualify for induction into Tri-Alpha if they meet the following criteria:

  • The student has earned at least 30 credit/semester hours (or 45 quarter hours) towards a baccalaureate degree

  • Beginning July 1, 2020, students enrolled in an associate's degree program who have at least a 3.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale and who have earned at least 30 credit hours towards that associates degree may be admitted into Alpha Alpha Alpha.

  • The undergraduate student has achieved an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. (For schools using a pass, high pass, etc. system, a "high pass" average is required.)

  • Neither of the student's parents, nor step-parents, nor legal guardians, completed a bachelor's degree

  • Graduate students who are first-generation students can be admitted if they have completed the equivalent of at least one term of study (9 or more graduate credits) and have a GPA in their graduate program of at least 3.5. (NOTE: The executive board voted to change the GPA requirement to 3.5, but now allows for part-time students in graduate programs to be admitted.). (For schools using a pass, high pass, etc. system, a "high pass" average is required.)

Faculty and staff may be inducted as well. To qualify, they must have met the definition of a first-generation student listed above at the time they completed their bachelor's degree. Faculty and staff must be willing to serve as mentors for first-generation students.

A small number of alumni and honorary inductees may be initiated each year. To qualify, these inductees must have been first-generation students (using the definition above) when they completed their bachelor's degree. They must remain connected in some way to the institution which is inducting them— a member of the board or alumni association; the sibling of a current student; a volunteer; a donor; etc.. They must have established themselves in their post-college lives in a manner that can be held up to first-generation students as something to aspire to, and must be willing to mentor first-generation students, if asked. NEW UPDATE: Honorary members need not have been first-generation college students; rather honorary inductees may be first-gen students with some kind of connection to the institution (as indicated above) OR clearly be a first-gen student advocate, mentor, or supporter while maintaining a connection to the institution which is inducting them.

In any case, the emphasis at any induction ceremony should always be on the student initiates.

When inducted, initiates receive a certificate of initiation and a pin. Honor cords for graduating seniors and members of the faculty/staff/alumni are available for purchase at an additional charge.