National Honor Society Creates Unfair Requirements

National Honor Society is a group that only the best and brightest in the nation are invited to join. Students are required to exemplify scholarship, leadership, service, and character to attain admittance into this highly selective club. But, accepted students can be put on probation or even expelled from the organization if they no longer meet the academic standards and service requirements. Each school participating in National Honor Society is considered a chapter, and there are thousands of chapters across the United States, and almost one million students across the country participate.

Students in Walpole that are part of National Honor Society, founded in 1921 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, are supposed to volunteer individually for a minimum of 20 hours, attend group service projects, organize monthly meetings, figure out means of financial support for the group, and hold a 3.65 grade point average. Only about 30 students from the class of 2011 were admitted into the group, and some students are feeling the effects of the demanding requirements of National Honor Society. Some kids put forth the effort to apply for National Honor Society because it looks impressive on their college applications; however, the workload of the society may outweigh the name.

The main goal of the National Honor Society is to organize and attend community outreach events to benefit the community. Nevertheless, National Honor Society members are required to work Parent-Teacher Conferences, Open House, and 8th-grade Tour Night, to serve the school’s needs, instead of the community’s. The countless hours the National Honor Society group members spend in after school events do not count toward their volunteer hour requirements. The school should not always depend on National Honor Society kids to step up and lead Walpole High’s after school events. Other groups such as Student Council and other school groups should help with running school events. Teachers have even suggested creating a volunteer club specifically geared towards helping with after school gatherings.  Other groups should be called upon to help the administration with open houses and conferences.

National Honor Society students’ main goal is to help the community; therefore, their time and effort should not be wasted solely on school events. The students are required to fulfill 20 hours of independent community service, but as a group the National Honor Society does not do much to help the community. The club should get together as a whole to help the community rather than the schools.

The requirements for National Honor Society differ from state to state, and even town to town. In Medfield, students can be members of the organization if they are in the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, but in Walpole only seniors are allowed to participate in National Honor Society. Candidates for the group in Walpole have to obtain a 3.65 grade point average; while, in Medfield candidates only have to reach 3.33 grade point average to be considered for the club. In Brockton, students need a 3.55 grade point average, and juniors and seniors can participate in the club. Walpole’s 3.65 required GPA came about when the school switched from the GPI to the GPA grading system. The 3.65 was derived from taking the average 3.80 GPA of an honors class with an unweighted 3.40 GPA of a college prep class. The 3.65 was also determined by looking at tech and non-tech schools from the surrounding area and their GPA requirements to get into National Honor Society.  But the GPA should be lowered a small amount to allow more students to get into the organization. If there are more students in the club, then more service can be done to help the community. The sheer number of National Honor Society students also come into play when comparing other chapters in the area to Walpole. Almost 7% of Foxboro students and 5% of Wellesley students participate in National Honor Society; however, Walpole has only 2% of its total student population in National Honor Society. The differences in qualifications bring up the question: Are the separate National Honor Society chapters being consistent and fair with the national standards?

Group coordinators are willing to notify students in 10th grade about the qualifications for National Honor Society, and most teachers would like more students to become part of National Honor Society. Students should be notified at an earlier age as to what the National Honor Society requirements are so that they can work to attain the 3.65 grade point average.

National Honor Society prides itself on the character and leadership it brings into the community; however, the Walpole National Honor Society is more focused on putting on school events rather than helping the community as a whole.  The Walpole National Honor Society should be more on par with other towns’ qualifications and allow more students to participate in the organization as well.


  1. How do young people with disabilities get recognized in NHS or are they often excluded?

  2. This article seems to be targeting an entire organization because a few chapters seem to have a few unfair rules which in itself is unfair. Yeah the requirements differ from school to school and for good reason. Schools are all different. It’s just like colleges. They differ and so do their requirements, and just like colleges not everything is set in stone. I’m sure if a student really wants to get into NHS he or she can do something to try to get in no matter what his or her stats are. All he or she has to do is talk to the NHS chapter advisor about what his or her options are. If he or she isn’t willing to do that, he or she probably doesn’t want to be in NHS badly enough to be accepted. NHS is a commitment that requires work and dedication. If you are unwilling or unable to do the work, don’t join or talk to the advisor about making some changes to the requirements. Yes, NHS chapters help their schools with activities. The school is a part of the community. Yeah, some of the NHS chapters could use some branching out of just helping the school, but it’s not as easy as just deciding to go help somewhere else or someone else. There are hoops to jump through same as anything else. People have to plan it and organize it and coordinate with other organizations. Sometimes there aren’t other options for an NHS chapter to help outside the school. Organizations might need help that requires training that would be more work than its worth to provide training to 50-100 people or so. Organizations might need more notice than an NHS chapter provided. There are many different things at play in NHS. I love being a part of NHS. It is my favorite part of my high school experience. I know my chapter does the best it can with what it is given. I know we have done good for our school and community.

  3. concerned reader…u sound very stupid trying to correct someone when you cant even correct your self. Get a life and leave this talk to more qualified people.

  4. I am an NHS adviser advocating for higher levels of academic achievement, clearer evidence of leadership, daily demonstration of character, and a willingness to provide service leadership in a small rural school. NHS students should be the best and the brightest; while it’s nice to let everyone feel they belong, they don’t. There are students who are great kids but who skate by in “cake” classes without challenging themselves academically, who get in trouble sometimes, but never “serious trouble”, who feel that school is optional when shopping, vacations, or hanging out with friends is more interesting than what is being taught in the classroom, or who find service to be beneath them. Those are not the best and brightest, those are good kids who will be good citizens, but who will not be taking on leadership in the increasingly competitive world they are growing up in. The goal of NHS is to encourage excellence and provide opportunities for students who have demonstrated excellence, NOT to boost the mediocre transcripts of those who think they deserve more for accomplishing less. (FYI – our standard is a cumulative average of 90+ and demonstrated excellence in the other areas with a transcript indicating progress towards an advanced diploma and teacher recommedation.)

  5. I am a highschooler in which the requirements for getting into NHS is having a 3.5 GPA or higher. This may not be outrageous for the average highschooler but at my school we have a 7 point grading system. This means that an A minus is a 93 and a B minus is an 85. I researched that many schools have 10 point grading systems in which an a minus is a 90 and a B minus is an 80. Furthermore, at most schools the requirements for getting into NHS is a 3.0 GPA. I ask of you all, how in the world is this fair? I personally have a 3.3 GPA, with multiple honors and AP classes and yet I am not applicable for NHS. Again, how is this fair? I hope that in the future NHS sets a standard GPA for all highschools across the U.S.

  6. Sounds like to me, your school district should be doing a better job of educating it’s students and that is what you and your community should be worrying about. My daughter has a 3.75 and even that only gets her in the top 25% of her class as a Junior. People expecting standards to be lowered to qualify, instead of aspiring to meet higher standards is what’s wrong with the world today.

  7. Concerned Reader why don’t you figure out the difference between “learn” and ‘learned” in your post. Really?

  8. Concerned Reader

    Why sir quest, u made some great points. However, you really need to learned the difference between the words “suppose” and “supposed”

  9. I know that I might sound like a jerk, but National Honor Society is suppose to be for people that WANT to help out. I understand your viewpoint about helping the community more, and I see how lowering the GPA could invite more people and spread more people out to do community work and not school work (which should be disputed if you guys don’t get any hours for it). However, it is suppose to be individuals that work towards success and goodwill, and not admission of a prestigious club which colleges look up to. I would personally recommend advertising the group’s accomplishments more and speaking with school officials on admitting people from 10th and 11th grade. However, I think that the scholastic aptitude is fine. It could be brought down to 3.5, but any lower than that destroys the prestige of gaining admittance. Hope this helps!


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