Start a Chapter

The National Honor Society (NHS) elevates a school’s commitment to the values of scholarship, service, leadership, and character. Earning and maintaining a chapter of NHS is a proud accomplishment for a school, its school leaders—and in particular, the administration led by the principal and the faculty council led by the adviser—in administering a national recognition program that celebrates holistic assessment of student achievement.

The national office provides the following resources to help advisers administer their chapter’s NHS recognition program:

  • Adviser Resource Center with step-by-step guidelines, templates for bylaws and communications, handbooks, and comprehensive policy guidance
  • National Customer Care Center and Programs and Services Team, available 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (ET) at 703-860-0200 and nhs@nhs.us
  • Access to the NHS Store
  • Principal and adviser monthly communications and targeted training opportunities via webinars

If you are interested in starting a chapter at your school, please review and share the following with the appropriate officials. Note that students and parents cannot apply to establish a chapter.


Step 1: Prepare to Apply

As your school begins the process to apply to become an affiliate of the National Honor Society, there are a few things to consider and prepare before beginning the official application.

  1. Review the National Honor Society Constitution and make sure your school is willing to comply with it.
  2. Select a chapter adviser. This faculty member will supervise the chapter—its operation, files, and other duties.
  3. Appoint a five-member faculty council. The council meets at least once a year to select new NHS members and review and revise chapter procedures.

Step 2: Complete a New Chapter Application

After your school has reviewed the items in step 1, you are ready to complete and submit an application for a chapter online or by mail.
Complete an application online.

Apply Now

You can also download the new chapter application here.

The annual fee is $385.

Virtual and Private or Nonpublic Schools:

  • Virtual schools: Download and submit this questionnaire if you are not submitting the application online.
  • Private and nonpublic schools: You must prove accreditation by an accrediting organization on this list or by the state departments of education (only those that accredit nonpublic schools). Current accreditation verification must accompany this application.

As you await approval, we encourage you to browse this website and become more familiar with the nation’s oldest and most respected student leadership recognition program.


Step 3: Get Ready to Begin

The national office will notify you by letter once your chapter is approved, and you’ll receive your welcome materials. You will also have access to the NHS Handbook and member-only portions of this website. These resources will help your chapter to develop:

  • Chapter bylaws, including determining membership criteria and an outline for completing service projects.
  • Selection procedures, including choosing an induction date for new members. You’ll need to publish selection procedures and make it available.
  • Chapter service projects, meetings, and other activities to build and support an active chapter at your school.
  • Discipline and dismissal procedures. Begin with policies found in the NHS Handbook and National Constitution.

Your adviser will also receive a series of emails welcoming them to the NHS family, with additional information to help them get their chapters set up and ready for induction.

We also suggest that you also follow NHS on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

If at any time you have any questions, please contact our Customer Care Center available 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (ET) at 703-860-0200 and membership@nhs.us.