What is the Honor Society?


The National Honor Society is a U.S. organization which is focused on and dedicated to encouraging and recognizing outstanding high school students throughout the country who are in grades 10 to 12. You can view here. It was founded way back in 1921 by the NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals) as the very first nationally recognized honor society. Today, the National Honor Society operates in all 50 U.S. states and other places such as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories. There are well over one million U.S. students today who participate in honor society-related activities and events.

To be eligible for membership, you need to be recognized as an exceptional or outstanding high school student, but what makes a student outstanding, and what’s so good about being in the honor society? Read on to find out more!

#1: Why Become a Member of an Honor Society?

As a member of the National Honor Society, you are being recognized as being amongst some of the country’s best students in terms of not only your academic grades but your character, leadership, personality, and service. It demonstrates an unquestionable commitment to projects based around your community and gives you a unique opportunity to meet and network with like-minded peers and potential employers based all over the country. It works wonders for college admissions too; it’s getting harder and harder to get into the top colleges and by being on the honor roll, you will stand out from much of the competition.

In addition to this, the National Honor Society provides ample opportunity for you to develop as an individual by building upon key skills such as leadership. There are multiple events, conferences, and keynotes which you can attend throughout the year as a member of the National Honor Society too, further adding to this potential for valuable networking.

Some of these conferences and events include –

  • National Student Leadership Week which was founded in 1972 to promote the importance of student leadership initiatives. It is a way for schools to recognize the importance of their student leaders, and there are plenty of activities which can form part of the NSLW.
  • LEAD Conferences which are held on several weekends throughout the year, aiming to build leadership skills and provide the opportunity to network with peers from all around the country in major cities.
  • State Summits which enable students to meet with state leaders, including governors, in a “think-tank style” setting. The point of these state summits is to drum up conversation between students and state leadership to solve school-based and community problems.

#2: Who Can Join the Honor Society?

Membership to the National Honor Society is determined on a case-by-case basis at a local level, not at national level. This is a decision which can only be made by the local chapter of the National Honor Society, so it is important that you track this down and approach them if you are interested in becoming a member. There is a handy tool online which you can use to find your local chapter, but you can always approach one of your teachers who will be more than happy to help!

Not all schools have a local National Honor Society chapter. However, you can always discuss with your principal about creating one yourself. Although you as a student will not be able to find your own chapter, it is very easy for your school’s administration board to do and most will be willing to do it if there is a keen interest.

In order to apply, all your school needs to do is appoint a faculty adviser and five people to sit on the faculty council. When this is done, it is as simple as filling out an online application form and paying a membership fee each year. Some schools cannot always afford to pay the membership fee – around $400 – however, there are lots of potential fundraising options which can be explored.

Any institution which is an accredited public or private school is able to have its own National Honor Society chapter, and any student within these institutions in grades 10 to 12 who meet the minimum GPA requirements can apply.

#3: How is Membership Decided On

Although you can apply to be admitted to your local chapter honor society, you are not guaranteed membership even if you meet the minimum requirements. Each local honor society chapter can set its own qualification requirements. Although the requirements for local chapters can vary, they are based on the requirements set by the National Honor Society and usually do not deviate too much.

The national guidelines set by the National Honor Society require a cumulative GPA of 85 or above which averages out at a B or a 3.0 on a scale which tops out at 4.0. This is the minimum national requirement and many local chapters require higher standards, so you really do need to do your research regarding your local chapter before you apply. Don’t worry, though, if you do not meet the minimum GPA then you can always apply and provide information about how you meet the other three “pillars”.

  • Service: Think about any volunteer work you have done, or how you have contributed in a positive and measurable way to your local community.
  • Leadership: This is all about how you have taken on leadership roles in your school or community when taking part in activities.
  • Character: You need to demonstrate that you are reliable and honest, have a clean record at school and show respect to everybody around you.

Joining the National Honor Society at a local level is a brilliant achievement for any high school student who wants to set him or herself apart from their peers. It looks great on your resumé and can set you apart from the competition when it comes to applying for college and securing jobs further down the line. If you think you can get in, apply right away!

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