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Is the National Honor Society Worth It?
It seems like there is an endless list of things that high school students have to accomplish to find success in their college applications. With so many different factors being considered in the college application review process including grades, extracurriculars, test prep, and essay writing, it can be hard to know what to prioritize. So, you may be wondering, is the National Honor Society worth adding to your plate?
To help you make your decision whether or not to commit to the NHS, we’ll outline the commitment requirements and potential benefits. Then, we’ll weigh the prestige of an NHS membership with other potential honors you could spend your time pursuing. This will help you decide whether striving for the NHS is a worthwhile commitment for you!
Also see: How to join the National Honor Society
What is the National Honor Society?
The National Honor Society was founded in its current iteration in 1921 and now has over one million student members across the country. While some people associate the NHS purely with grades, it takes a more holistic approach in screening its members. The NHS looks for four characteristics in its members:
- Character – Members are required to respect others, work well in teams, and maintain a positive attitude. They should be honest and reliable
- Scholarship – Members must maintain a certain GPA to keep their NHS membership. The national minimum is 3.0, but local chapters’ requirements can be higher, so make sure to check your local chapter’s website
- Leadership – The NHS looks for students who hold formal or informal leadership roles. This can be exemplified through a position in student government or through leadership in your community or personal life
- Service – Members must maintain a level of unpaid service to their school and/or community. This can include volunteering at homeless shelters, animal shelters, food banks, or helping tutor underclassmen at your school. Different chapters have different volunteer hour requirements, so be sure to check yours
What are the NHS commitments?
The main commitment involved in NHS membership is the application. Each chapter has different admissions processes, so this can vary. But you often have to write essays, prepare a resume, and might need to interview. So, you should make sure to set aside some time for when you put your application together.
Once you’re into the NHS, it doesn’t require too much active work to maintain your membership. You’ll have to continue to meet the standards that got you admitted, which include GPA requirements and volunteer hours. Most NHS membership consists of occasional meetings. Therefore, the most NHS chapters will not require a huge commitment after completing the application
What are the benefits of NHS membership?
NHS membership comes with a host of benefits. You might become eligible for the National Honor Scholarship and your membership will look good on college applications. You’ll also be invited to NHS LEAD conferences which are great opportunities to network and build your leadership skills.
Furthermore, the NHS offers college planning resources to its students. These can include college admissions and financial aid counseling. They’ll also invite you to state summits and service projects. These are all great opportunities to bolster your college application and meet new academically-driven people.
Other options for honors societies
Although the NHS is the best-known, it is far from being the only honors society in the country. There are many honors societies that are more specialized and regionalized. If you have a specific interest, you should also look into honors societies that specialize in your field of interest. You might be more qualified for admission in these societies if the NHS does not admit you. Furthermore, the opportunities that these societies offer will probably be better-aligned with what interests you. You might have a better chance of making significant connections.
Here are a few example honors societies other than the NHS:
- Spanish National Honor Society
- Quill and Scroll Journalism Honor Society
- National Speech and Debate Association
- Science National Honor Society
Trade-offs with other pursuits
Luckily, due to the relatively low commitment of the NHS, there are not many trade-offs with other pursuits. Students don’t have to fulfill many obligations to maintain their membership. As long as you pick an opportune time to write your initial application, you won’t have to make many trade-offs.
To sum things up, if you qualify for the NHS and have the time to write your application, it is probably worthwhile! The National Honor Society opens many doors for its members, including conferences, counseling resources, and scholarships. It is usually a positive addition to your college application. What’s more, it doesn’t require much work to maintain your membership once you join. But if you don’t qualify, don’t give up on honor societies! There are many more out there that might suit your interests better. Smaller honor societies have a host of benefits that are different from those of a larger conglomeration like the National Honor Society.
Frequently asked questions about the National Honor Society
Can I put the National Honor Society on my resume?
Once you finish your freshman year of college, it’s probably time to consider removing the NHS from your resume. While it’s a great asset for younger students, it loses its relevance once you’ve begun making your way through college.
Is the National Honor Society legitimate?
Does the NHS help me earn scholarships?
Do colleges care if you were in the National Honor Society?