How Do You Get into the National Honor Society?

7 min to read
A high school student sitting with a laptop

Academic achievement is part of it, but the National Honor Society (NHS) is much more than a “hall of fame” for high schoolers with at least a 3.0 GPA.

NHS is a coming-of-age, holistic learning experience, and the Connections Academy® Resource Hub provides insights, ideas, and tips to help students develop the full spectrum of qualities that NHS looks for in prospective members.  

The organization encourages young leaders with a heart for service and commitment to personal growth to build upon those emerging qualities and prepares them for success in college, careers, and life through rigorous leadership, personal development, and scholarship programs.  

For 101 years, the NHS has helped teenagers build their foundation for adulthood on four “everyday” pillars of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. Highlighting NHS membership on a college portfolio tells a story that admissions committees love to hear: This is a highly motivated, highly dedicated student who is driven to succeed. 

Is the National Honor Society Open to Online High School Students?

Connections Academy was among the first virtual schools to host NHS chapters, and Connections Academy students who meet the membership requirements are eligible to apply for an invitation from their school’s chapter.  

Successful applicants can demonstrate how they’re  already incorporating the NHS’s four-pillars philosophy in their school and home life; here are some Resource Hub links to engage students—beginning in middle grades for kids exhibiting membership potential—in its Everyday Pillars.  

Everyday Scholarship

The National Honor Society looks for students who are excited about learning. GPA is important, but Everyday Scholarship is about effort, not just results. Students who are willing to get out of their academic comfort zones, for example, discover new passions, pursue knowledge with more confidence, and develop a mindset that treats failure as a learning opportunity.     

Good NHS candidates search for opportunities to learn, not only in the classroom but also when school is out for summer or over the winter holidays. And, like the NHS, Connections Academy provides students with meaningful academic experiences that build accountability, adaptability, and resilience. 

Online high school students who are part of the National Honor Society volunteering in a community garden.

Everyday Service

High schoolers engaged in meaningful school and community service make excellent candidates for NHS membership. They don’t just “do” service; they are volunteers who step up to a need and put their values into action. They willingly give up their time and talent to serve the less fortunate, tutor and mentor other students, staff phone banks during fundraisers—even plan their own fundraising events. (The NHS #Futuready program offers a free and open-to-all self-guided plan for developing and executing a fundraiser.)   

Students with a strong social foundation are naturally oriented toward volunteerism, and—contrary to persistent myths—virtual schools provide opportunities for students to master the people skills needed to navigate complex social situations and the nuanced social dynamics. 

Everyday Leadership

Leadership, from the NHS point of view, is more than being a captain on a sports team, class president, or such. Everyday leadership includes things like managing personal and academic life in ways that point to success and being responsible for making smart life-choices. As NHS describes it, this highly sought quality “means being an agent – someone who takes action and responsibility – of your own pathway.” 

Everyday Character

Perseverance. Respect. Integrity. Honesty. These are words that the NHS uses to define character. Emotional intelligence—the empathy to understand your own feelings and how they affect others—is a component of solid character. Everyday character has its roots in the quality of kindness and willingness to be an agent of positive change in school and community. The NHS also values an applicant’s service as an agent for cultural diversity, social justice and equity, and conflict resolution

The NHS can be extremely beneficial for high school students in their academic, personal growth, and professional development, and NHS activities can help members quickly learn what it takes to achieve a goal or to overcome a challenge both individually and as part of a team.

A National Honor Society high school student.

What Are the National Honor Society Requirements for Online High School?

Eligibility requirements may vary slightly for each NHS chapter to meet the specific needs of the school. The Utah Connections Academy, for example, requires a 3.0 GPA for eligibility (and maintained to remain in good standing) and an interest in building upon the four “everyday” pillars of the NHS. Its application form asks prospective members to include: 

  • Any leadership experience you have 
  • Any service opportunities you have participated in 
  • Any student or community activities you have participated in 
  • Any work experience, recognition, or awards  

It’s never too soon to check out the Connections Academy Resource Hub to learn how to get into the National Honor Society, particularly if you have a student who has the potential to become a member of an organization that will guide them along the path to becoming #Futuready

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