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High Schoolers, National Honor Society is Worth It!

High Schoolers, National Honor Society is Worth It!

National Honor Society membership is an extremely valuable opportunity for high school students across the states. Through the rigorous selection process, accepted students are invited to an exclusive community, given exclusive access to unique opportunities, and afforded the chance to network with successful individuals. Many students have asked us whether participation in the National Honor Society is worth it. Our answer is always "Yes, it is!" Let’s take a look at the National Honor Society and what it has to offer. This article will also provide some tips and tricks to help you write an excellent essay for submission to the National Honor Society.
1. What is the National Honor Society (NHS)?

The National Honor Society is an elite society of outstanding students who possess exceptional academic standing and demonstrate outstanding service to their school community. Founded in 1921 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the NHS now has chapters across all 50 states, US Territories, Canada, and around the globe – with a total of more than 1 million students participating in NHS activities annually. Historically, NHS students have contributed to:

  • 1,000 hours of school/community service
  • $26,000 in charitable donations
  • 1,000 pounds of food to local, state, and national causes
  • 100 pints of donated blood
2. How to apply to NHS

Before looking at the application requirements, students should determine their eligibility. First, if your school has an NHS chapter, your teachers can provide detailed information regarding the GPA requirements and the timeline for students. Each school will have different requirements, but overall, you must be a student in grades 10-12 and meet all the criteria noted in your school’s chapter to apply for membership.

Selection is based on four criteria: values of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. But, what do these four criteria mean?

  • Scholarship refers to academic achievement, meaning that students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 85, B, or 3.0 out of 4.0 on the national standard scale during the school year. However, individual schools can require higher cumulative GPAs.
  • Service refers to voluntary contributions to the student’s school or the community without any expectations for compensation, such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, religious groups, voluntary services for the elderly, poor, or disadvantaged. It is important to note here that this requirement involves not only showing service, but also a commitment over time.
  • Leadership involves demonstrating the ability to step up and step back whilst working with others in school, on a team, or through community activities. Leaders are resourceful, excellent problem solvers, supportive team members, and idea contributors, and always take the initiative to go “above and beyond.”
  • Character means modeling exemplary behavior, taking constructive criticism with grace and implementing recommendations, demonstrating high standards of honesty and reliability, showing courtesy, concern, and respect for others, and maintaining a clean disciplinary record.

The number of descriptors exemplified across the four pillars determines the number of points students receive.
Afterward, students must complete an application listing their experience in three of the pillars, and any recognition or awards they have received. Students are then required to write an essay of 300-500 words to express what those ideals meant to them and showcase their strengths and weaknesses in the three pillars they chose. Lastly, they must submit teacher recommendations.

3. How NHS Supports You

With more than one million members, the National Honor Society is not an exclusive community that will help you step by step, but more of an extended family whose members are each highly involved in developing professionally and personally through participation in activities. Being accepted to the NHS and surrounded by other incredible people, you will be motivated to grow as a person and cultivate habits of service, leadership, and exemplary character. The NHS is so much more than just an honor roll. Here are some of the many perks you receive once joining NHS:

NHS encourages and recognizes student achievement
NHS will offer you support in college planning, financial aid planning, and specialized scholarships: NHS offers various resources and tools to help parents and students prepare for their future. Some events include webinars about scholarship searches and a step-by-step guide for college applications. Most importantly, students will have access to resources to apply for exclusive scholarships made specifically to reduce tuition costs for NHS members. In addition to external scholarships, students can also apply for NHS scholarships. Students go through an application process, and the national winner earns a $25,000 scholarship, 24 national finalists receive a $5,625 scholarship, and 575 national semifinalists receive a $3,200 scholarship.

Leadership development is an essential focal point of the NHS. Specifically, students will participate in numerous events to develop their leadership skills. These events include:

  • Leadership Experience and Development (LEAD) Conferences: weekend meetings designed to encourage peer-to-peer networking and leadership training
  • National Student Leadership Week: an annual celebration of student leadership led by schools and chapters

In addition to leadership development, students will participate in various community service activities under your school’s chapter. As reported by the NHS, throughout recent years, students and schools have contributed:

  • 1,161 hours of school and community service
  • $26,000 in charitable donations
  • 1,100 pounds of food to local, state, and national causes

Being part of the NHS gives students a massive advantage when it comes to college and job applications, as it is an organization that highlights outstanding scholastic achievement and community service. By participating in NHS, students will build their resumes by gaining leadership and organizational experience and developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Beyond academic achievements, being part of the National Honor Society also gives students a sense of pride and accomplishment that can help them succeed in other aspects of life. Additionally, as members of NHS, students will have access to exclusive networking opportunities that may not be available to non-members. These opportunities can help students to get a head start on their future career paths.


In addition to all of these opportunities, National Honor Society members will receive exclusive access to valuable content and resources such as the NHS national magazine, discounts, and recognition opportunities, etc. Students will also receive a digital badge to showcase their achievements on college applications, LinkedIn, and more.

Becoming a member of the National Honor Society is worth it, especially for students who want to be well-rounded leaders in school and real life. The National Honor Society is a prestigious and valuable opportunity for students to build a robust college profile, with a focus on leadership, character, service, and outstanding academic achievements. All the criteria for membership in the NHS are the same criteria that top colleges such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford look for in applications. However, if you don’t get accepted to the National Honor Society program, don’t be discouraged because there are many other national honor societies out there that will provide you with similar support and opportunities, such as the National Society of High School Scholars. 

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