National Honor Society: What to Know Before You Join

NHS is a great high school activity that involves leadership, service, character, and scholarship. Learn about all the benefits and how you can join here.

There are many extracurricular activities in high school that can boost your academic and personal growth, but none are as comprehensive as the National Honor Society. With over one million students participating, the National Honor Society (aka NHS) is a great extracurricular that promotes leadership, service, character, and scholarship in all high school members. Here’s what you should know about the NHS, including the requirements, benefits, and how you can become a member. 

What is the National Honor Society?

Founded in 1921 by an association of principals, the National Honor Society has grown into a reputable leadership and educational group with chapters at high schools in all 50 states, US territories, and many other countries around the world. Its purpose is to elevate students’—and by extension, schools’—academic, community, and leadership activities, benefiting both colleges and high school students.

Why should I consider joining?

There are many benefits to being an active member of NHS, both nationally and in your local chapter. National benefits include conferences and summits, which are valuable networking events; scholarship opportunities; admission tips (as well as the added bonus of having NHS on your academic résumé!); college and financial aid planning resources, including webinars and step-by-step guides on the NHS website; and service projects to boost your volunteer hours. Many schools also take advantage of NHS locally by offering volunteer opportunities in the area and hosting banquets and award ceremonies at school for a variety of extracurricular activities.

Once you become a member of NHS, you’ll get to participate in your high school’s induction ceremony and can become involved in the chapter meetings if they’re held at your school. All the while, NHS members have a certain amount of volunteer hours they need to fill for continued membership. Note that during the pandemic, volunteer requirements and chapter meetings may be waived or postponed for public safety reasons.

Related: How Extracurriculars Benefit Your College Applications 

Scholarship opportunities

Not only does having NHS improve your high school résumé, but it can also make you eligible for more scholarships. In 2021, over $2 million was awarded to NHS members across the country. Each year, one national winner wins $25,000, 24 national finalists each win $5,625, and 575 national semifinalists each win $3,200. That’s a total of 600 scholarships that you’ll be eligible to win as a NHS member!

The NHS on college applications

As previously stated, NHS looks great on your résumé—but many, many students are a part of this prestigious organization. That’s why it’s imperative that you embrace your membership to the fullest in order to stand out on your college applications. Try to join early in your high school career, become an officer, or record the most service hours than anyone in your school. The time and commitment you put into NHS will determine how well your college application will be received.

NHS eligibility requirements

High school students in grades nine through 12 with a minimum GPA of 3.0 are eligible for NHS membership. There are no membership fees, but students are required to maintain this GPA during their membership duration. Note that every local chapter may have different requirements concerning activities and who can apply age-wise. 

Applying to the NHS

There’s no clear-cut way to get into the National Honor Society, but all members should embody the four pillars of membership. The core values that are reviewed when you submit your application to become an NHS member are scholarship, service, leadership, and character. 

  • Scholarship: Students are required to have a 3.0 GPA and be able to maintain it. This is the first and main qualification.
  • Service: Advisors are looking for altruistic students who enjoy serving others in their community with volunteer service.
  • Leadership: The NHS values students who demonstrate leadership in high school. Some ways to show leadership skills, like problem-solving and resourcefulness, include being a team captain, participating in student council, and being an active member in group projects.
  • Character: NHS members demonstrate good character, and advisors look for that in new applicants. Taking the high road, being responsible, and acting appropriately are all ways one can demonstrate good character.

You should also research your school’s chapter and find the exact values your local advisors are looking for. If your school doesn’t have a chapter, then research a chapter at a nearby school to get involved. Finding a teacher to nominate you will also improve your chances of getting in. Teacher recommendations can boost your application, as you have a trusted person advocating on your behalf. Finally, try to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, actively volunteer in your community, take academic courses and standardized tests seriously, participate in school activities, and be a disciplined moral citizen.

Related: An Easy Navigation Guide to High School Clubs and Activities 

Overall, the National Honor Society is a big commitment when combined with other academics and extracurriculars, but it has many additional benefits that can help students as they embark on to college or the real world. Seeking out service-minded students with good character, outstanding leadership, and strong academic records, NHS helps boost student life in every local chapter and instills a sense of community at your school, which you can take with you as you move on to college and beyond. 

Looking for more activities you can join in high school? Find all the info you need to give your résumé a boost with our “extracurriculars” tag.

Sources

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:

About Emma Khoury

Emma Khoury

Emma Khoury is a senior who's interested in studying Neuroscience and Arabic while in college. She participates in the school marching band, concert band, NHS, Big Buddy, and various other school tutoring activities. She also volunteers at a local farm and the neighborhood library. With her free time, Emma enjoys watching TV and movies, reading, running, and painting. 

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Dani York

Dani York

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress helped in my journey by comparing multiple colleges for my final decision. While looking at different colleges, I was able to compare the tuition expenses and that landed me with the college that I’m currently enrolled in, Western Kentucky University. Thank you!

Yuhlani Patterson

Yuhlani Patterson

High School Student

CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.

Jenna

Jenna

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me greatly during my college search. I used their college search feature often and it helped in comparing schools I was looking at. Now that I’ve found a college the scholarship search feature is helping me find a way to find my college experience. CollegeXpress has many helpful features and resources for anyones college search, it truly is a wonderful tool for anyone entering college level!

Farrah Macci

Farrah Macci

High School Class of 2016

CollegeXpress has helped me in many ways. For one, online searches are more organized and refined by filtering scholarships through by my personal and academic interests. Due to this, it has made searching for colleges and scholarships significantly less stressful. As a student, life can already get stressful pretty quickly. For me, it’s been helpful to utilize CollegeXpress since it keeps all of my searches and likes together, so I don’t have to branch out on multiple websites just to explore scholarship options.

Samantha Fils-Aime

Samantha Fils-Aime

High School Class of 2019

I love that CollegeXpress has helped me find some scholarships to apply for but also helped me succeed in school with lots of tips. I also really like how they consistently email me about webinars that teach me a lot of things from the comfort of my home!

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA

SUNY Oneonta

Oneonta, NY

Arcadia University

Glenside, PA