View Full Version : National Honors Society
02-26-2001, 10:57 PM
If you didn't know already, National Honors Society (NHS) is a service organization set up to collect members with strong character, leadership abilities and a desire to do service to the school or community.
I am strongly considering joining NHS but not necessarily for the right reasons. First and foremost, I have been told NHS looks very good on your record and is an ever important extracurricular activity on your college application. Second of all, I am planning on joining to see if my assumption that NHS is a fraud is correct (more on that in a second). I don't really have an aspiration to be the best human being on the planet helping everyone and acting like the robot that would most ideally exhibit the traits NHS looks for. If NHS did not look good on student's permanent records, I would say that at least 90% of the members currently enrolled would not be in there. There is mandatory community service hours that must be completed each semester as well but those are not that big a deal and I doubt many of the members mind that.
What I find odd is that NHS and massive fund raising efforts go hand in hand. It seems as if every other week, NHS members are encouraged (i.e. If you don't do it, you're out of NHS. No, really.) to sell candy, flowers, clothes, etc. There are certain quotas that each member is obligated (i.e. If you don't sell them, you've bought em. No, really.) to sell a certain amount of their goods. What exactly this fund raising is for remains in question. NHS does not appear to buy anything for the members except for the one shirt they get for joining. The fact that kids want the recommendation from NHS so bad and the fact that in conjunction, NHS forces kids to sell their candy is what tipped me off in the first place that something was awry with NHS. If the kids don't sell the candy, they're out of NHS and out of a good recommendation. Theres only one real choice, sell candy. A LOT of it. That is one of the reasons why I want to join, the inside look on what could be a huge fraud.
Which brings me to my point. How many of you guys have been in NHS? Would you have done it if it wasn't going to be on your permanant record? How do you think it influenced the college that did/did not accept you? Where do you think all that fund raising money goes? Do you think that NHS makes the world a better place and that the members go on to be super-successful billionaires who save the world and end world hunger and all that? If you ask me, its not bloody likely.
02-26-2001, 11:20 PM
So...you want my NHS experiance do you? (Warning, this is posted on drugs and falling asleep...please forgive.)
Mine was a very, very bad leader. The teacher in charge had a problem with girls wanting to excell in 'unseemly' fields. I joined because I'm actually a do gooder and I wanted a connection to be able to do service projects. I like tutoring children, for instance. But you are correct in that most people are there for the graduation stole and the college reccomendation.
Mine didn't sell anything. We collected pop cans or donations, but they went to a different charity every month that was voted on by the group. That was no problem.
Service hours? Fraudulent. The pres usually made hers up and had her friends make up signatures.
My main beef? I left the org after I found out crap like that was rampant and unpunished. And I was threatened with probation for taking college classes while I was in high school. (A woman, trying to be an engineer? Horrors!) It turned into a three month long fight between me and the NHS leader person. She insisted that I obviously did not have the dedication to honor that her club required. I insisted that she was a bitch and that her club had less to do with service and honor than with money laundering. Sigh.I miss high school. (More fun facts..."write it on your college aps anyway, schools don't check." my high school guidance counselor...there's honor.)
02-26-2001, 11:27 PM
I couldn't tell you about NHS, because I haven't been in it. I'm applying for it and I can tell you that the only reason I am applying is because it looks good on your application. Why the hell else would i apply?! The crap service that you have to do is a small price to pay for being able to write NHS on your college application.
I have been in NJHS. I joined that for the same reason iI'm joining NHS, looks good on the applications. Man, that is such a bullshit organization. They try to make it seem like it's really prestigious and everything. You have to do commmunity service, or you get kicked out. I think i would've gotten kicked out, had I given them the chance to. Seeing as how I rarely went to the meetings though, I didn't see them much. Hey, that's one more thing to write on applications......
I hope colleges don't know how bullshit the NHS organization is.
02-26-2001, 11:31 PM
I guess it depends on who's running it. At my school, NHS did stuff like Habitat for Humanity (building homes for people who could not have otherwise afforded their own house) and the Muskingum River Sweep, which was two days of hard labor cleaning up trash from the riverbanks. We did some other stuff too, but those were the highlights. We also had some fun field trips to local science museums and stuff. I don't remember any serious fund-raisers, except we did have a candy sale to raise money for Habitat for Humanity.
I will grant you that 90% of the people wouldn't have been in it if it didn't look good on their record. But that's true of pretty much all of the non-sports-related clubs and activities, or at least it was at my high school.
To answer your questions: it's hard to say whether I would have been in NHS if it hadn't looked good on my record. I guess I probably would have, just because I joined everything anyway and was proud of my academic achievements. As for influence on the college that accepted me, I have no idea how much of a role it played. I doubt that one organization would play much of a role for admissions officers. They tend to look at the whole package (or so I have heard). And does NHS make the world a better place? I think it can, in small ways, if it's run properly and if service really is the focus. If it's just a big candy sale scam like the one you described at your school, SouprChckn, then I would say no. But again, I think a lot depends on the leadership.
02-26-2001, 11:33 PM
I was lucky enough to be inducted into the NHS my senior year. That way I got to put it on my applications (and I still have it on my resume), got to wear the NHS ropes for graduation and got to go to the NHS dinner.............but there was no community service required as it had already passed. For once in high school, I got the long end of the stick ;)
02-26-2001, 11:50 PM
Hmm, I was unaware of how much control the "leaders" had. It's like a totalitarian governament almost.
Anyway, Habitat for Humanity and various other things like that. Those are their own clubs here. So while you can be in both, being on one does not necessarily mean you're in the other.
02-27-2001, 01:01 AM
Since they got around to offering me an application after it was too late for my college applications, I never bothered. Always struck me as just another way for people to look down on the less worthy. At least for the few who actually cared.
02-27-2001, 01:31 AM
Hmmm... I guess I got off lucky. I, too, was mostly interested in joining the NHS for my college application, but my school's chapter didn't seem like the scam that others here have written about. We did volunteer work (usually helping out the special ed. teachers during some of our study halls) and ran a few charity fund raisers (a weekend car wash and a dunking booth at our school's spring festival), but we were never working under any quotas or had to shell out any of our own cash. All in all, it wasn't a bad organization to get involved in. I guess it mostly depends on the people leading it.
02-27-2001, 04:23 AM
I remember one year, I was vice president of my school's National Honor Society. That meant, one night a month, I would type up the agenda for the next day's meeting on my dad's computer. Whew! Thirsty work!
I would love to share more treasured National Honor Society memories. But I can't, because I'm not really sure if they're treasured memories of my time in the National Honor Society or treasured memories of my time in the Beta Club, an organization absolutely indistinguishable from the National Honor Society. Pretty much everyone who was in one club was in the other. Both involved accumulating a scant few service hours. Both generally existed to get you out of Spanish class every now and then (along with looking good on your resume). Looking back, there didn't seem to be much reason for both clubs to exist.
And then, of course, there were groups like the Key Club and Interact. These groups were distinguishable from the Beta Club and National Honor Society in that they tended to be a lot smaller -- and I think they met after school, so you had to go to Spanish class.
02-27-2001, 04:57 AM
I don't recall anything other than the assembly where I was inducted, and the fact that it took me one more year to get in, even when I had better grades than my brother.
I had a problem with one of the main sponsors, the journalism teacher.
But I don't recall any meetings or community service, only the fact that I was now able to put NHS by my name in the yearbook.
1974 graduate, though, things have probably changed.
02-27-2001, 06:19 AM
For the most part, my experience in NHS was pretty positive.
I was inducted in the 2nd half of my sophomore year. I was corresponding secretary in my junior and senior year: I was in charge of contacting guest speakers for our meetings and ceremonies (very low-keyed and held in the library).
We did do some fund-raising, but luckily it was the chocolate bars that everyone else was selling and the people in the community liked (damned good chocolate).
As far as community service, we had only one serious problem - the advisor (who I will admit was a very flaky idealist) wanted us to go into the Boy's Clubs downtown (NOT a nice area of town) and do tutoring in the afternoons; we convinced her out of that idea: it would have required most of us having our parents drive us downtown, as the buses did not run late to our side of town (my housing community did not have any bus service at all), not to mention the fact that many of the parents blew a gasket at the thought of us venturing into a area known for drugs, murders and people not very nice to 'intruders'. We ended up doing tutoring at the middle school and elementary schools in the district.
My only regret was that the principal did not allow us to wear the yellow cords at graduation; he didn't want us singled out, since 'none of the other clubs wore anything special at graduation.'
I guess I was lucky too. I had a good experience, in addition to NHS looking good on my college aps.
02-27-2001, 08:08 AM
Personally, based on my personal experience, it's a load of crap.
I applied for NHS my junior year of high school (1986). I had the 5th highest GPA in my class of 120 students, with a loaded academic schedule. I was involved in a few extracurricular activities. I was on the golf team. I did not get accepted to NHS. I was crushed--I was led to believe that this could be a crucial element in my future.
And you know what? It didn't matter a whit. I got accepted to every college to which I applied. My SAT scores were excellent, my application essays were excellent, and my academic record was excellent.
The next year, my guidance counselor came to me one day to let me know that I would be accepted to NHS that year. I had not applied, so I asked her about it, and she told me that the applications from the prior year were examined again when the applicants were seniors. I told her, "Sorry, but I've already been accepted to the colleges I want, and I couldn't really care less about NHS anymore."
02-27-2001, 08:24 AM
Class of '72 here... I was a member, but all I recall is assembling for a yearbook photo. No fundraisers, no meetings, no service. I think I got a pin. And in the grand scheme of things, none of it mattered.
02-27-2001, 09:41 AM
I got into the NHS in the spring of my junior year and I didn't do shit. There were no more than three meetings per year. Most people wandered in late and talked the whole time in side conversations. We didn't do any projects, didn't do any fund raising, and generally didn't give a damn.
Like pld, my scores and grades were good enough to get me into all the colleges I applied to, so I don't think it made much of a difference.
02-27-2001, 09:57 AM
At my school NHS is bullshit. The only way that a person can apply is if they have a 3.7 or higher for an entire year before, and well, the only thing that they keep is the mandatory community service hours. It's a bunch of bullshit because the people in it aren't there because of good leadership skills or goodwill, they're there because they have good grades. Most of the students in it don't care, and are bitchy little shits for the most part. I don't want to be part of that, and my mother doesn't like the fact that I didn't apply any of the years that I was eligible. I really don't care if it looks good on my college resume because I have enough extracuriculars as it is and I'm doing well in school.
02-27-2001, 09:57 AM
I was in the NHS. All we had to do was go to meetings, and then each year we had to have 2 credits of school/community service. I ended up teaching a class for the advisor for my 2 credits since I was a lazy bastard and didn't do anything (I was in 12th and she had me teach her 10th grade chem. class one day while she was out, I felt like a nerd since my brother was in 10th grade and some of the students were his friends) I only joined cause it looked good for colleges, and you got to wear an extra yellow thing at graduation.
02-27-2001, 10:07 AM
I haven't actually thought about the fact that I was in the NHS in years, which probably says something about how important it was to me.
We did have a community service requirement and I have a very vague memory of meetings. I've always been the type of person who takes "mandatory" stuff pretty seriously (only to get really frustrated when it turns out nobody else bothered-- it's something I'm still dealing with!) so I put in my hours by helping out in the school library. The librarians were obviously surprised, though pleased, by my efforts. Apparently, with few exceptions, no one really fulfilled the service requirement, and none of the teachers/advisors pushed it.
My SAT scores were good, I got into the college I wanted, kicked ass on my GRE and I'm now wrapping up my Master's at a pretty prestigious school, and no one here knows I was in NHS. I think recognizing academic achievement and promoting community service are good things, but the NHS could have been run way better at my school.
02-27-2001, 11:11 AM
Let me think... IIRC, our requirements were basically 10 hours of community service. I carpooled with a couple of my friends to the Elementary school where we tutored kids with educational computer games (for an hour during our Friday study hall). I think there was something about serving one breakfast for the teachers.
No meetings to speak of, other than the awards ceremony--I remember getting the funky white thing to wear at graduation and I think we recited something. No fundraisers that I can recall, but I suppose there might have been one or two. I don't even remember applying, though I probably did. I might even still have my membership card somewhere...
The tutoring part was cool, so I suppose my NHS experience was actually a decent one. I agree that it probably had no effect on my college applications and scholarship, but it was worthwhile for me. Had there been heavy-duty fundraising and selling quotas as the OP described, my opinion would probably be different.
02-27-2001, 07:58 PM
Another thing to note:
In order to apply for my NHS, obviously you need the 3.75 GPA. Not a problem at this magnet school of mine. So I guess in order to up the ante, they force you to earn 90 points out of a grand total of 90 points on this application. This involves citing 3 examples each of your character and leadership abilities. (They want specific examples and tell you what kinds of examples they want.) Then you need 2 examples of your service to your community. (Hey, isn't this what I'm joining this stupid organiztion for in the first place? Anyway, they want only examples of long standing commitments and not temporary engagements.) Oh, did I mention that each example must be signed by a staff member or teacher? The application doesn't even guarantee your entry, just your consideration for entry.
This club sure seems like a method of bribery. You bribe them for the recommendation through Snickers bars and stuff.
02-27-2001, 08:06 PM
I'm a NHS induction canidate, and I know from my brother, that while the system at our high school is not fradulent, it is not very active and rather just looks good on scholarships. I am afraid, however, that I will be not inducted into NHS, despite having the highest GPA in my class, and the highest ACT and SAT scores because of a single fight in high school. Which would be rather shady.
02-27-2001, 08:26 PM
and you got to wear an extra yellow thing at graduation
When I was graduating and wearing the yellow ropes, the class football star/class clown called them the "Never Had Sex" ropes.........looking back on it, that was probably a rather apt comment on the whole situation............the girls were too uptight/bitchy and the boys too geeky to ever get laid.
02-27-2001, 09:44 PM
As I went to a very (very) non-traditional alternative school I have no firsthand experience with the NHS. I often feel like I'm listening to tales from a distant land when other people talk about their high school days.
"What is this fuut-bol you speak of?"
Anyway, there was no NHS at my school so I'm no good to you there. But what I can tell you is that colleges don't really care if you were in the NHS or not. They care that you did something with yourself during high school, but there are plenty of other things that will look just as good if not better on your transcript. For instance, you could do volunteer work on your own, or through another organization.
So don't join the NHS unless you want to. Participate in other extracurricular activities you enjoy and keep your grades up and you'll be fine when it comes time to apply to colleges.
02-27-2001, 10:28 PM
I was the president of my high school's NHS chapter during my junior year, and by default for my senior year, too. We didn't really have a community service requirement that I recall - mostly, we met once a month as a social club to yak and gossip and pad our Permanent Records. When election time came at the end of my first year, nobody was interested in elections at all, so I continued with my aimless leadership for yet another year. After I graduated, the chapter pretty much dissappeared without a trace.
It certainly WASN'T the "never had sex" group, tho...
02-28-2001, 01:11 AM
I hate NHS at my school. 10 hours of community service of our choosing, plus 3 group projects and some meetings. I was inducted last year (Junior) and did the requirements and then some but didn't turn in a peice of paper and assumed I wouldn't do it this year, because it was a load of crap. 10 hours in 7 months? I did it in 2 days at an art festival. And the group projects were things like can drives for the horribly overpriced senior grad night parties. I found out I was still an official member this year when they sent a friend a note saying I was in his group for picking up pop cans around the school. Since I haven't yet turned in that same piece of paper and I've not been to meetings due to college classes, I have probably been kicked out by now, and I couldn't care less. The group certainly doesn't value actual service, and I do enough by far on my own, for the causes I choose, without the hassle. NHS can't possibly make that much difference to colleges if your GPA and SAT's are OK and you show you do some community service.
I had a friend who did all the requirements for 2 years and who did a project in which he and one other person made enough money to build 4 houses in honduras after the hurricane a couple years ago. He turned in $2.50 worth of pop cans after a drive rather than $5 and he almost didn't get to wear his little tassel at graduation and get his recommendation, which was important to him.
I did have fun at the lake and highway cleanups, but they were the only real service we did the whole year.
02-28-2001, 03:40 AM
As I recall, the NHS chapter at my high school did very little, and required of its members even less.
I have no recollection of formally applying for membership, although I certainly may have. I skipped my induction ceremony, for reasons that I really can't recall. I seem to recall perhaps one meeting per year, usually in the morning in the school auditorium - little was discussed besides basic logistics.
There was something put together my senior year - I think it was an NHS thing - a "homework hotline" kind of thing. NHS members would volunteer to hang out by a phone in the school in the afternoon/early evening, eager to answer homework-related questions from anybody who felt like calling in. Nice idea, I guess, but calls were extremely rare. I did it a few times, and I don't think anybody ever called while I was on watch.
Since there appeared to be no significant obligations, I joined when given the offer without hesitation - mostly because "it would look good on my college apps." Maybe it helped, maybe it didn't. Hardly matters now. I certainly don't regret joining, because there was nothing to regret.
My class was the 2nd at my school whose NHS members wore, not those gold cords, but big white and gold stoles at graduation. And you thought those cords made you stick out....
While it seems that my school's NHS chapter fell somewhat shy of greatness, neither was it a complete crock. It was a nearly 100% neutral experience.
02-28-2001, 03:50 AM
At my high school, you didn't apply--you were chosen (I seem to recall signing a permission slip giving whoever was in charge permission to look into your records and ask other teachers about you, so if you really didn't want to be in it, you just didn't sign it.) There was a fairly fancy induction ceremony every spring. We didn't have meetings, except to a)plan this ceremony, and b)plan our service project. Our NHS "adopted" a bit of highway near the school (got the blue sign with the group's name and everything), so we spent two Saturdays a year wearing orange vests and picking up trash. (They finally figured out that they needed to have one of the days be really late in spring so that people inducted their senior year would actually have to do some work!)
What does your local NHS sell the candy for? Picking up trash is one thing, but if I had had to sell stuff (for, apparently, no apparent reason), I probably wouldn't have bothered.
It was more of an "honor" than a "society" in my school, especially for the people who were inducted their senior year and were only members for maybe a month. And, of course, by then, it's too late for college applications and no one else cares.
I still have my pin, though, in my jewelry box.
02-28-2001, 03:31 PM
I just got my letter today.
"Congratulations on being selected a member of the 2000-2001 Gundhilde's Hometown High School National Honor Society!"
Now, our school is a wee bit weird when it comes to NHS. The entire top 10% of the sophomore class gets "inducted" into a psuedo-NHS (called simply Gundhilde's Hometown High School Honor Society...no "National"). We go to a ceremony and that's the last we hear of the GHHS Honor Society. Then, in March of senior year, the top 10% gets inducted into the actual NHS at a ceremony, we get our names listed in the yearbook, and that is, once again, the last we hear of NHS. No meetings, no community service, no fund-raising, no officers or sponsor, nothing at all. We don't even have to apply for it, everyone in the top 10% is automatically selected.
Both "organizations" (and I stress those quotation marks) are basically worthless, except that they make your parents very proud of you.
I personally believe that no one in my high school is actually an official member of the official NHS. I don't think our school bothers even to register us with the official NHS. I think they just borrow the name of the organization, have a ceremony to make us feel like we're actually being inducted into it, and in this way they manage to finagle out of the official NHS's requirements. Since none of us care enough to research the NHS, we are none the wiser.
If it weren't so deceitful, I'd say that's actually a good idea.
02-28-2001, 05:34 PM
Hmmm....I remember two things about NHS. One was the food drive on Thanksgiving, when we'd take donations and distribute food to folks who needed it. We got the names from churches, and more than one person to whom we delivered was not particularly needy.
The other was the departing-senior ceremony where we gave gifts to the incoming NHS sophomore inductees. I gave my inductee....my clothes. I stripped down to a t-shirt and loud boxers right on stage and handed her my clothes, one piece at a time. It was a big hit. So now, if any of y'all decide to do that, I want a concept credit! hehehe
02-28-2001, 08:36 PM
At my high school the National Honor Society members were chosen by the teachers without an application process. As a senior I ran unopposed for President; there was no community service component or even a faculty advisor. I organized no activities, called no meetings. Benign neglect was the watchword of my stewardship.
03-04-2001, 08:21 PM
Last time I was here, there were only about 2 other posts. It's great to see that all you people have united to bash the NHS. I think it's verified that NHS is a load of bullshit. From reading the posts, seems like most of you have your heads screwed on straight.....HOWEVER, a couple of you still have that notion that the NHS is actually is well-doing group, and that it can actually help society. What the hell is wrong with you?! I don't want to see any posts talking about how you think there are a couple people in the NHS because they want to make a change in the world! NHS is a bullshit organization, NO EXCEPTIONS. have a nice day
03-04-2001, 09:21 PM
Actually, one cool thing was that for at least one NHS induction that I went to, the music the band played for it was the theme from Monty Python's Flying Circus.
03-04-2001, 09:42 PM
I'm a senior right now and I've been in NHS for about a year. Our chapter falls into the catagory of "pretty boring, but not really a scam". We basically just have to keep a 3.5 (or is it 3.75? I don't recall at the moment) GPA and do 24 hours of community service a year. Apparently we run a few little things throughout the year, like a "Giving Tree" around Christmas and other NHS-sponsored voluteer stuff. We've never done anything resembling fund-raising and I'd never even realized any chapters did this until now. Since I would keep the GPA and do the service hours whether or not I was in the organization, all it really means to me is something I can put on applications.
I still wouldn't classify it as anything actively evil though. Just boring.
03-04-2001, 09:53 PM
Well, to add some perspective in the 20 years later Dept.
I was inducted into the NHS in my junior year in high school. I was president of the Civinettes (a Civitan Jr, League- why? I really will never figure out. I'm the most unlikely presidential material known to Man) Anyhoo, that paved the way to all the High School Accolades. I do think that some civic good was done, but in retrospect, it seems trivial.
In my senior year, I wrote the NHS ceremony, in a humorous manner(Thank God it's not preserved... I'd choke). I took it seriously then, though, and it was a big Laff riot.
To tell the truth, after 20 years, and losing my NHS scroll to the sea on graduation night, I haven't thought of it three times until now. I do think it's important when you're trying to get into University, but as an important component of your identity... Nahhh.
03-04-2001, 11:11 PM
Well, the real question is concerning the higher-ups. (Is there a super NHS leader or just multiple chapters that don't ever talk to each other?) Do the leaders have all these community helping dealies because they feel the need to help people or because they are obligated as a service organization to do so? I know our community or school would not skip a single beat if our NHS was gone. They seem to do few helpful things and when they do something "outstanding", the basis behind it seems questionable. I have a higher respect for an individual who goes out to help people than I do for the NHS at our school.
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