FAQs

Here are some of the questions that we have gotten from some of our chapters -- sharing with you as an FYI.

Q: What is included in the membership/initiation fee? A: Inductees receive a certificate of membership and a pin.

Q: What do the honor cords look like? A: We offer two kinds of honor cords, one for associate's degree students and one for bachelor's degree students. Both are navy blue intertwined with grey (or silver). Associate's cords are a single braided strand, while bachelor's cords are a double braided strand. HONOR CORDS MUST BE ORDERED THROUGH THE CHAPTER ADVISOR; the national office has no way (at this time) to take orders from individual students, and we do not ship to personal addresses.

Q: Are honor cords included in the national membership fee? A: No; honor cords can be purchased at a cost of $15 per cord (plus shipping) for students earning a bachelor's degree (or higher), as well as for faculty/staff/alumni/honorary members. Honor cords for students earning an associate's degree are similar to the baccalaureate cords, but they are awarded a single cords, rather than a double cord. Honor cords must be ordered through your chapter advisor; cords will be sent to your institution for distribution.

Q: My mother just got her bachelor's degree. I'm in a bachelor's program now, and when I entered college, I was a first-generation student. Does this mean I'm no longer eligible for initiation? A: No, it does not! First of all, kudos to your mom for continuing the journey and getting that degree! But since you started your college journey as a first-gen student, your experience has been that of a first-gen student. As long as you meet the other criteria for initiation, you are eligible to be inducted into Alpha Alpha Alpha.

Q: My parent earned a bachelor's degree in another country. But I'm first generation in America. Can I be inducted? A: This is a really good question without a clear answer. If your institution defines first-generation (as some do) as meaning that your parents did not receive a bachelor's degree in the United States, then you can be inducted. However, if your institution does not have such a definition, the national officers do allow for some flexibility here. Not all foreign degrees are "equal" in this way. A degree from Canada is very similar, for example, to that in the US, in terms of the college experience, and so that might mean that you, the student, don't really have a typical first-gen college experience. But for parents who earned their bachelor's in other countries less like the American system, their experience might have been so different that your journey really is that of a first-generation student. Rather than trying to parse out which countries belong on which list, the national office allows the individual chapters to make this determination, as long as they do so with consistency.

Q: Is there a minimum GPA I have to maintain to keep my membership? A: No; once inducted, always a member, even if your GPA slips.

Q: I graduated before my school had a chapter (or my institution doesn't have a chapter yet). Can I be inducted as an alumnus/a? A: Yes, but the national office does not do inductions. All inductions must be linked with a specific campus. So if you were first-gen when you graduated, please contact the chapter advisor at your alma mater about being inducted as an alum.

Q: I'm a first-generation student at my school. How can I join Tri-Alpha? A: You will need to contact your school's chapter. If you school doesn't have a chapter, talk to a faculty or staff member about starting one!

Q: We see that we can buy a tablecloth to use as induction ceremonies and other chapter events. Can we change the tablecloth? A: You must keep the logo intact, as the logo is trademarked. However, we can produce the logo tablecloth on material that matches institutional colors (single color). If you wish to do this, please let the national office know (click here to view the color pallete).

Q: Are any other things available for purchase for use at events, such as flags, banners, etc.? A: Yes, we do have a small, but growing, number of such items available for purchase. For now, if you are interested, contact the national office and we will provide further information.

Q: What about Tri-Alpha swag for the students? A: We are working on this! The Alpha chapter is selecting and designing some t-shirts that will be available for purchase by members shortly. Stay tuned! NOTE: Some local chapters are designing their own t-shirts, and that is completely permissible, as long as the logo (which is trademarked) isn't altered; note that the COLOR may be changed to match your institutional colors, but the elements of the logo, its shape and contents, may not be altered.

Q: My institution doesn't have a chapter. Can I be inducted somewhere else? A: No, you can only be inducted in a chapter at the school where you are enrolled or from which you graduated. Please do contact your institution about adding a chapter. New memberships are accepted throughout the year.

Q: Can we pay our fees with a credit card? A: Unfortunately, at this time, we cannot take credit card payments. We can, however, take checks, money orders, or direct deposit (ACH).

Q: Can a school or college within a university get a chapter? A: If that school is accredited under the institution's normal national accreditation (for example, Middle States or Higher Learning Commission), then, no, you must join as an institution. If the school or college is accredited separately (not by a professional accreditation organization like CAPTE or ACBSP) by a national accreditor such as Middle States, then, yes, that portion of the institution can apply for a chapter on its own.

Q: Do you have any virtual backgrounds we can use for our online ceremonies? A: Yes! Three are available. Click here to access them.

Q: We would like a high-resolution copy of the logo to use for our campus' marketing materials. Is that available to us? A: YES! Just click here.

Q: Is there a LinkedIn page where first-generation students can connect with other Tri-Alpha members? A: YES! That group was just created in March 2021, and we look forward to you joining us!

Q: Why is the GPA requirement higher for graduate students to be admitted than for undergraduate students? A: First, remember that Alpha Alpha Alpha is an honor society, and not a club. Many honor societies ignore graduate students completely! The minimum GPA for "good standing" in most graduate programs is a 3.00. If we set a 3.00 for graduate students as the minimum GPA for admission, then every student who is in good standing would potentially be eligible for induction -- and then, it is no longer an honor. Therefore, we selected 3.5, which is higher than the 3.2 required for undergraduates, but we wanted something that would be well above "good standing," just as a 3.2 is well above "good standing" for undergraduates.