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How to Become a Member of National Honor Society 

By Lisa Freedland

Lisa Freedland is a Scholarships360 writer with personal experience in psychological research and content writing. She has written content for an online fact-checking organization and has conducted research at the University of Southern California as well as the University of California, Irvine. Lisa graduated from the University of Southern California in Fall 2021 with a degree in Psychology.

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and Cece Gilmore

Cece Gilmore is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cece earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from Arizona State University. While at ASU, she was the education editor as well as a published staff reporter at Downtown Devil. Cece was also the co-host of her own radio show on Blaze Radio ASU.

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Edited by Maria Geiger

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Updated: October 20th, 2023
How to Become a Member of National Honor Society 

If you’re a high-achieving high school student who enjoys getting involved in your local community, then joining your local National Honor Society might just be a great choice. The National Honor Society has a diverse range of requirements. Involvement in the NHS requires students to volunteer their time to local projects and organizations of interest. Besides building up students’ résumés, doing so gives students a chance to better know their local community.

If this sounds interesting to you, keep on reading to learn how to become a member of the National Honor Society (NHS)!

Don’t miss: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

What is the National Honor Society (NHS)?

The National Honor Society (NHS) is a nationwide organization for high-achieving students in grades 10-12. The NHS encourages students to volunteer and donate within their local communities. Founded in 1921, it is a bit over a century since its founding! 

If you’d like to join an organization with such a long history of generosity and altruism, keep on reading.

Also see: Merit-based scholarships for high school students

National Honor Society eligibility requirements

Before we get into the actual process of joining the NHS, it’s important to note that there are specific eligibility requirements students must meet in order to join. While these specific prerequisites typically vary by school, here are the minimum eligibility requirements for every chapter:


Students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 85, B, 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), or something of equivalent excellence. Individual schools may require a higher minimum GPA for their NHS members.


Students must voluntarily contribute or volunteer within their school or community, without compensation. Remember, individual chapters and schools have different volunteer hour requirements. We recommend checking what those for your preferred chapter are.

Don’t miss: Top community service scholarships


The NHS prefers students with demonstrated leadership abilities who enjoy working with others. Students can demonstrate their leadership skills through a wide range of school, extracurricular, and work activities.

Also see: Top leadership scholarships


NHS members should be honest, reliable, and respect others. They should also enjoy collaborative work and avoid getting in trouble.

And that’s it (for eligibility requirements)! For school-specific NHS eligibility requirements, reach out to your school’s chapter to find out. Alternatively, check your chapter’s website.

However, keep in mind that simply meeting your school’s eligibility requirements does not necessarily mean admittance into the NHS. As with many competitive organizations, there’s an application process. So, how exactly can you apply? Let’s take a look.

Applying to NHS

The truth is that there’s no one, single way to apply to the NHS. Just as different chapters have different eligibility requirements, they also have unique application and selection processes

With that said, though, we can still cover the general process for you. While it will certainly differ slightly for each chapter, here’s a general outline of how to apply to the NHS:

1. Find out if your school has an NHS chapter

Your first step to joining the NHS should be to determine whether or not your school has a NHS chapter of its own. We recommend using this helpful NHS chapter finder. Simply type in your school’s name, city, state, and zip code, and you’ll have the answer to your question. Alternatively, you can ask relevant school staff members if they know whether a chapter is available at your school.

However, the process of finding a chapter is not so easy for everyone. What should you do if you’re a homeschooler? What  if your school does not have an NHS chapter to join? Let’s see.

What if I’m a homeschooler?

Unfortunately, homeschoolers are not eligible to join the NHS unless enrolled part-time in a nearby school with an NHS chapter. 

However, all hope is not lost! As it turns out, Eta Sigma Alpha is a national honor society specifically for homeschooled students. To find out more about membership in Eta Sigma Alpha and how to apply, be sure to check out this membership information.

Also see: Applying to college as homeschooler guide

Start your own NHS chapter

If your school does not have an NHS chapter of its own, you can always try to start one! Your first step in doing so should be to reach out to your school principal. As they may inquire about why you wish to do so, consider preparing some reasons for why an NHS chapter could be beneficial to your school. If they do end up deciding to follow through and create a chapter, they should be sure to read over these important eligibility requirements to do so.

2. Figure out the application process

Once you’ve either joined your school chapter or helped form one of your own, it’s time to figure out the application process. Be sure to ask your relevant school NHS officials (1) the eligibility requirements, (2) what materials you should submit, and (3) the application process and deadline.

3. Complete and submit application requirements

If you meet your school NHS eligibility requirements, all that’s left to do is to complete and submit the required application materials! Typically, these may include submitting an essay, your transcripts, and/or a resume. Some schools may also choose to interview NHS applicants to see if they’d be a good fit for the organization. 

And that’s all! After you’ve submitted all the necessary materials (on or before the deadline), all that’s left to do is to wait for admission news. We hope you get in, and make the most of your time there.


If you are denied to the NHS for any reason, we encourage you not to be discouraged. The NHS is a quite competitive organization, with chapters receiving many applications from students each year. Further, re-applying is also an option.

Before you re-apply, we would recommend considering why your admission may have been denied. Perhaps you didn’t have enough community service errors, or your essay didn’t fit the circumstances. Either way, you can choose to talk with a guidance counselor or advisor and get their feedback on why you may have been denied. While you likely won’t get an explanation from the NHS itself, talking with someone may help you understand what you can improve for the next application cycle. So, be sure to keep their feedback in mind, and we wish you good luck!

Student author perspective

I attended a public high school and during junior year I received an email from the head of NHS asking if I wanted to apply to join the National Honor Society. The criteria of my school to apply was having a 90+ GPA. 

In order to apply, I had to write an essay and obtain one letter of recommendation. After being accepted, I was required to attend a few meetings with everyone in the NHS including the head advisor who ran the meetings. In addition to this advisor, I was paired with my own NHS advisor that I could work with one on one to help me with anything I may need. My advisor was a teacher at the school who I knew well. 

In order to stay in the NHS, you had to maintain a high GPA and complete 30 hours of community service. Luckily, I already had a volunteering job once a week, so obtaining my hours was not difficult. However, I knew that my advisor was there to help if I ever needed guidance to find community service opportunities.
Cece Gilmore

Recent ASU grad

Former high school Honor Society member

Final thoughts

As you can see, applying to the NHS is a relatively simple process. While there’s certainly no cons to applying to the NHS, it’s still important to consider whether it’s a good fit for you. If you don’t think you’ll enjoy it, applying may be a waste of time and effort better spent on other activities.

So, if you’re still wondering whether you should apply, we’d recommend checking out “Is the national honor society worth it?” This article should help give you an idea of what an NHS membership entails and whether it’ll be beneficial for you, or not.

With this, we’ll send you off. Whether you decide to apply to the NHS or not, we hope you still continue to help others inside and outside the classroom. Noblesse oblige!

Frequently asked questions about how to join National Honor Scoiety

Do colleges care about National Honor Society?

Whether your membership in the National Honor Society will make you “stand out” to colleges largely depends on where you’re applying. If you’re applying to a highly-competitive, highly-selective school where many applicants already have stellar grades and extracurriculars, then NHS membership might not mean much on its own. However, if you’re heavily involved in your chapter’s NHS or hold a leadership position, this may certainly impress colleges! This shows that you have a strong work ethic and impressive leadership skills, which are often sought after in college applicants. 

Can a National Honor Society membership be revoked?

Yes, NHS membership can be revoked if a member fails to maintain the necessary GPA, demonstrates a lack of service, or acts in an unruly manner that is inconsistent with the organization’s values. 

Can I join other honor societies if I am in NHS?

Yes! Many students are members of multiple honor societies if they meet the criteria!

Can private school students join NHS?

Yes, NHS is not limited to public schools! Therefore, private school students may be eligible for NHS membership if they meet the necessary criteria and their schools have NHS chapters.

What is the role of a NHS advisor?

An NHS advisor is typically a teacher or school staff member who oversees the NHS chapter. They help with the selection process and provide support to members.

When can I join NHS?

Typically, NHS membership is open to juniors and seniors, but the specific grade level may vary by school.

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