A national criteria would work better for NHS

Blot photo by Catherine Escueta.

Catherine Escueta

Blot photo by Catherine Escueta.

Lauren Spiezia

The life of an upperclassman has no shortage of stressors: harder classes, college applications and SATs, just to name a few. Not to mention, 58 percent of CHS upperclassmen have added National Honor Society membership to this list, said NHS adviser Justine Lane.

Each NHS chapter within each school or district reserves the right to establish its own membership criteria, as explained on the website of the Nationwide NHS Chapter. Currently, the qualifications set forth by the Monmouth County Vocational School District for a student to qualify are a cumulative GPA minimum of a 92 from freshman year to the last semester of the previous year, 100 hours of community service and 50 hours spent in a leadership position, as listed on MCVSD.org.

Even entering high school three years ago, I had a vague premonition of what the application for the society entailed and knew that it was far more difficult to become a member of NHS at Communications, as opposed to my local high school in Manalapan.

At Freehold Regional High School District, which oversees six schools in Manalapan, Freehold, Howell, Colts Neck and Marlboro, the minimum GPA requirement is an 87. While each school sets its own standards for hours, the amount does not exceed 30 hours. With each district’s current standards, it is easier for a Freehold student to meet them than for a MCVSD student.

Regardless of the process behind acceptance, being a part of the organization gives its members the chance to stand out on college applications. But the only thing that a college knows is whether an applicant is or is not a member. They are unaware of whether a student completed a massive or small number of community service and leadership hours. Teens with varying NHS membership qualifications go into the same category.  

Ultimately, the solution is to establish national criteria, so that any student willing to put in effort is able to excel and complete the same work as their peers for the same reward.

Over time, all students have become engrossed in filling up our résumés with anything that could possibly make us appear more favorable for a school or job opportunity. But without a common set of conditions pertaining to a GPA requirement, leadership and service hours, the system for identifying students that are exemplary in academics is inconsistent and flawed.