The All-USA Academic Team seeks to honor outstanding students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to hold up as representatives of all outstanding students enrolled in associate degree/certificate programs. Because each school is limited to nominating a total of four students per campus (2 transferring by fall 2024 and 2 entering the workforce prior to fall 2024), the work students put into their application will determine how competitive they will be in the national competition. Weaving their story in a coherent fashion is critical in letting nominators and judges know who the student is, what they are doing, and why they feel qualified to receive this recognition.
All‐USA Academic Team nominees may also be considered for the Coca‐Cola Academic Team, New Century Pathway Scholarship programs, and All‐State Academic Teams where applicable. To be considered for these scholarships, students must have a completed application on file and be nominated by the designated nominator on their college’s campus.
The online application is currently open for access by both students and nominators. Student access will close at 5:00pm CT on December 1, 2023. Nominators will have until December 8, 2023, at 5:00pm CT to submit their nominations. Student applications and nominations must be submitted online; incomplete applications will not be considered for nomination.
Eligibility – Students MUST:
- Be enrolled through December 2023 in a minimum of six (6) semester credit hours of associate degree, college-level coursework at the time of application.
- Hold a minimum of a 3.50 cumulative grade point average out of a possible 4.0 on all college-level coursework completed in the past five years.
- Include all transcripts, fall 2018 – present.
- GPA is evaluated at the time of application, and no courses can be marked as incomplete. Student must maintain a 3.50 or higher GPA through the fall 2023 semester to remain eligible.
- Be on track to earn an associate or a bachelor's degree (or the equivalent of a U.S. associate or bachelor's degree).
- Applicants must have a minimum of 36 semester (or 54 quarter) college‐level credit hours completed at or transferred into an associate degree or certificate program by December 31, 2023, and 48 semester (or 72 quarter) college‐level credit hours by August 31, 2024.
- To be considered for the Coca‐Cola Academic Team, the student must be enrolled at least part‐time at a college for the fall 2024 semester. Proof of enrollment will be requested.
- To be considered for the New Century Transfer Pathway Scholarship, the student must be enrolled at least part-time at a college for the fall 2024 semester. Proof of enrollment will be requested.
- To be considered for the New Century Workforce Pathway Scholarship, the student must be entering the workforce prior to fall 2024 after completing a certificate or associate degree.
- Not have previously been nominated for the All‐USA Academic Team or the Coca‐Cola Academic Team.
- Hold permanent or temporary residency in the country of the college the student is attending or possess a visa considered appropriate by the college. Please see the help article or application for acceptable documents verifying proof of residency.
- Students who attend a college in the United States do not need to be a member of Phi Theta Kappa.
- Students attending colleges outside of the United States need to be members of Phi Theta Kappa and may only apply for the New Century Pathway Scholarship programs.
- Have a college record free of suspension, probation or other serious disciplinary action.
- Not have a criminal record, or if a convicted felon, must have all conditions of sentencing, including parole/probation, completed.
 Workforce Pathway applicants must be on track to earn an associate degree, career or technical certificate prior to fall 2024.
 Workforce Pathway applicants must have a minimum of 6 semester (or 9 quarter) college-level credits of associate degree coursework completed by December 31, 2023, with an established GPA at the time of application.
 Students who have a criminal record are eligible to apply but may not qualify for all programs. PTK Scholarships will reach out with any follow-up questions.
All‐USA Academic Team Applicant Guide
Applicants considered as nominees may be pursuing an associate degree, career or technical certificate, or intend to transfer to the four-year school. The All-USA Academic Team is a merit award based on your accomplishments while pursuing your associate degree. Judging criteria include academic excellence and intellectual rigor; leadership and service; and how you have extended your education beyond the classroom to benefit society. Nominators are asked to consider a wide variety of information in the application: the body of the student’s academic work; the student’s participation in honors programs; any awards, honors, and recognitions for academic or leadership achievement; and service to the college and community when selecting the college’s nominees. Nominees selected may be considered role models on their campus. Nominators are asked to consider students they feel would be a proud representation of their college.
The centerpiece of your application is the essay describing your most significant endeavor since attending college in which you applied your academic or intellectual skills learned during your college experience to benefit the school, community or society. Judges look for innovative, creative, original and lasting achievements or undertakings. Your endeavor can be based in community service, research, the arts, journalism or public affairs. Students who have demonstrated leadership and initiative in service learning, who contributed to scholarly research, or who have made lasting contributions to their campus or community make excellent candidates. If endeavors are not yet complete, they must be far enough along so that the nominee and recommender can discuss the specifics of work done thus far. [For more information on what a significant endeavor is, click HERE.]
The program is an "academic" team as well, so your academic record is important. Judges look at the overall academic record and how well your courses match your career goals. Transcripts are evaluated when a student's application is received, and GPAs are evaluated at the point of submission. Remedial or developmental courses are removed and are not counted toward the student's required total courses or toward the cumulative GPA. The application allows space for you to explain circumstances that may have affected your transcript, so if you have experienced several withdrawals or a temporary drop in grades, please detail the reasoning on your application. It will not necessarily rule you out of the competition; however, research shows statistically that students with several withdrawals do not achieve high academic rigor. As a result, a student nominee with more than a couple of unexplained withdrawals will not typically advance in competition. Judges will view your course information over the history of your college attendance.
The discussion questions posed are structured to give judges a sense of your background. The program is open to part‐time as well as full‐time students, so the answers to discussion questions give the judges a sense of your commitments outside of school so that your achievements can be seen in context. The questions should not be interpreted to mean that you must have overcome obstacles or be somehow disadvantaged in order to be named to the All‐USA Academic Team.