Tips For Filling Out Your Awards Application

The application deadline for chapter awards is May 15 at 11:45 p.m. EST and winners will be announced and recognized at the 67th General Convention. Chapter Presidents and Secretaries can apply HERE. For questions related to the chapter awards application and review process, please contact International Headquarters at 317-573-5420.

The Grand Chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa is looking to recognize outstanding accomplishments of undergraduate chapters at the 67th General Convention through the annual awards application. Applying for chapter awards can feel overwhelming and can sometimes even seem impossible to complete in addition to finishing up the semester strong. Below are five tips to help make the application process feel less daunting, as the potential reward is definitely worth it. Take it from Derek DeCasare, past president of Eta Septaton (Cal Poly) who’s chapter was recognized as Outstanding Chapter at the 2018 Shonk Undergraduate Leadership School, “The effect was instant on chapter morale. We felt like we were being recognized for all the hard work that we put into this chapter. Sometimes this work feels like it goes unnoticed but when we got the award it was a turning point and has pushed us even harder to maintain and improve as a chapter.”

Delegate responsibilities

Since only the President or Secretary can fill out the awards application, it is a good idea to delegate sections of the application to brothers in the chapter.

There are certain parts of the awards application that can be delegated to specific chairmen: philanthropy, community service, scholarship, recruitment, risk management. These specific chairmen should more easily be able to obtain the information that is being requested. Those chairmen should compile the information and send it to the officer who will complete the application.

Allocate enough time

The awards application can take up to 30 minutes to complete if your chapter plans to apply for every award (which each chapter is encouraged to do).). It is important that enough time is set aside to gather the materials to answer each question thoroughly. Some questions ask for supplementary items, such as recommendation letters from your campus’ fraternity and sorority life staff, which may take some time to acquire.

You can look through the application HERE to give yourself a sense of how long the application will take to complete.

Type it out ahead of time

Typing out your answers to the questions in the awards application before attempting to submit your version is always a smart idea. There are plenty of unexpected issues that can go wrong with an online application: the internet could go out, the website could time-out or there could be an accidental submission. Once the answers are typed out, they can easily be copy-and-pasted into the online application. To make it easier on you, the application can be saved and continued to be edited until May 15, 11:45 pm ET, which is the final submission deadline.

Plus, typing it out in a word document allows you to utilize spell check. While the reviewers will not judge specifically on spelling or grammar, a sloppy application is likely to leave a bad impression on the reviewer.

Answer all of the questions

By answering every question, the chapter has the best chance of winning an award. The award reviewers will rely heavily on the detail you provide. When describing events the chapter hosted, be sure to include items such as number of attendees, monies raised, and any other pertinent details. Stay away from using acronyms or campus-specific terminology regarding events or processes without explaining it. Remember—the reviewers may not be familiar with your chapter or campus, so the more details provided, the better.

Your awards application should tell a story, and all of this will give the reviewers a better picture of the chapter’s activities and whether or not they are award-worthy..

Tell the truth

The questions on the application are easily verifiable and will be done so by the reviewers. The chapter will suffer damage to its character and individuals might be asked to explain their actions if there is untrue information provided on the application.

Chapters can apply for any combination of the following available awards: Recruitment, Philanthropy, Community Service, Risk Management, New Member Education, Communications, Membership Experience, Scholarship, and Campus Involvement. Additionally, chapters can nominate their chapter advisors to receive the Outstanding Chapter Advisor award, by completing (separate from the chapter award application). Chapters who apply for all of the awards are also eligible to apply for the Herbert L. Brown Outstanding Chapter Award, the greatest honor an undergraduate chapter can receive.  

DeCasare says about receiving this prestigious award “When the Eta Septaton chapter heard about the award for Most Outstanding Chapter we were honored. This is an outstanding award that our chapter worked hard to achieve. We have consistently year by year been making an effort to make sure that our chapter and its members remain safe and active. We have come up with a solid risk management plan that has worked incredibly well in conjunction with Cal Polys own regulations. All of the members of this chapter were ecstatic about the news and thank Phi Sigma Kappa for this recognition.”

The application deadline for chapter awards is May 15 at 11:45 p.m. EST and winners will be announced and recognized at the 67th General Convention. For questions related to the chapter awards application and review process, please contact International Headquarters at 317-573-5420.