How to Become a Member of National Honor Society (NHS)

Students are selected for membership through chapters established at schools that have active affiliation with the NHS national office. To learn if your school has an active NHS chapter, use our Chapter Finder to search for your school.

If your school has a chapter, check your student handbook, school website to review information about your chapter’s selection process. Each chapter is required to publish a description of their selection procedure in an official school publication. Acceptable publishing locations include, but aren’t limited to, the school handbook or school website.

If you are unable to locate this information, check with your school principal to identify the name of the chapter’s NHS adviser. The NHS chapter adviser is the faculty member assigned by the school principal to manage the NHS chapter.

Members are selected by a 5-member faculty council. Along with the NHS adviser, the council is appointed by the school principal, and a majority vote of the faculty council is needed for selection. The selection process concludes with induction into the school’s National Honor Society chapter.

If your school does not have a chapter, encourage your principal to learn how to start a chapter. (Please note, NHS chapters can only be chartered by the school administration.)


All students interested in membership must be enrolled at a school with an active NHS chapter and must have completed the equivalent of one semester of enrollment. Chapters may consider students in grades 10-12 for membership.

(The chapter’s bylaws and published selection procedure description should outline which of these eligible grade levels will be considered for membership in the chapter and when. Freshmen/9th grade students are not eligible for consideration, selection or induction into NHS.)

Pillars of Membership

  • Scholarship
    Students must first meet this criterion to become candidates for membership. NHS national policy requires that each chapter set a cumulative GPA as their Scholarship criteria.

    (The minimum Scholarship requirement a chapter may set is a cumulative GPA of 85, B, 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or equivalent cumulative standard of excellence. Each school chapter can set a cumulative GPA requirement above this minimum. The national office cannot require a chapter to lower a properly implemented higher cumulative GPA.)

  • Service
    This involves voluntary contributions made by a student and done without compensation. Chapters can require evidence of service to either the school, the community or both. Each chapter sets its own requirements for this criterion.

  • Leadership
    Student leaders are those who are resourceful, good problem solvers, and idea contributors. Leadership experiences can be drawn from school or community activities while working with or for others. Chapters can require evidence of leadership from within school or the community or both. Each chapter sets its own requirements for this criterion.

  • Character
    The student of good character is cooperative; demonstrates high standards of honesty and reliability; shows courtesy, concern, and respect for others. A chapter’s faculty council may review or consider disciplinary records when evaluating this criterion.

Understanding the Obligations of Membership

Students who accept membership and are inducted into the chapter should be aware of the time and commitment involved with their membership. The chapter adviser should provide new members with a written copy of the chapter’s membership obligations. These obligations may include chapter meetings, chapter service projects and individual service requirements. Some chapters also charge dues to help cover chapter expenses. (Dues cannot exceed $20 per year.) Members should also receive a copy of the chapter bylaws.

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