The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since its beginning in 1921.
Today, it is estimated that more than one million students participate in NHS activities. NHS chapters are found in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, many U.S. territories, and Canada. Chapter membership not only recognizes students for their accomplishments but challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service.
Students in grades 10–12 who meet the requirements for membership outlined by their school’s chapter are eligible to be invited for membership.
Each chapter is required to publish its qualifications for membership, which is based on the four pillars of NHS:
- SCHOLARSHIP: According to District standards, students must have a cumulative GPA of 90, A, 4.0, or equivalent standard of excellence. This is based on an unweighted GPA.
- SERVICE: This involves voluntary contributions made by a student to the school or community, done without compensation.
- LEADERSHIP: Student leaders are those who are resourceful, good problem solvers, and idea contributors. Leadership experiences can be drawn from school or community activities while working with or for others.
- CHARACTER: The student of good character is cooperative; demonstrates high standards of honesty and reliability; shows courtesy, concern, and respect for others; and generally maintains a clean disciplinary record.
Students who meet the scholarship requirement will have an opportunity to complete a form detailing their accomplishments in and commitment to service, leadership, and character.
Students who accept membership and are inducted into the chapter should be aware of the time and commitment involved with this honor. For example, there will be chapter meetings. The chapter bylaws should articulate the yearly meeting schedule and member attendance obligations. Members also must participate in chapter and individual service projects to benefit the school and community. Contact the chapter adviser to obtain a full list of the obligations of membership for the school’s chapter.