National Honor Society (NHS) applicants submit essays about academic and personal successes. A junior or senior high school student applies for membership and waits for acceptance based on her scholarship, service, leadership and personality. NHS is divided into chapters, where each accredited high school in the United States country has -- or can start -- a chapter. The essays required in the application vary for each chapter, and topics range from personal family narratives to outstanding feats of perseverance.
Talk about your service and charity experience. Mention all of the church events, soup kitchens, Jewish community service projects and disaster relief projects you have helped with. The National Honor Society accepts and celebrates students who excel both academically and as active, conscientious members in the society. For instance, if you have helped build houses with your church or synagogue, mention the experiences and the impact each had on you. If you volunteered to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, describe how you had to overcome sadness, despair and fear to help people in need.
Remember a moment in your life when you decided to become a stronger person and go against all odds to strive for your ambitions. Discuss your upbringing, such as how your parents or guardians encouraged you or how you had to encourage yourself to succeed. Make sure not to go into too much detail about your childhood, such as your parents’ marriage, abuse, neglect or any other trauma. While this is excruciatingly important to you -- and potentially crucial in your life as a student -- the NHS, at least in this introductory essay, wants to get a sense of your personality and behavior, not these dramatic events. Show your optimism for the future more than pessimism toward the past.
Leading the Pack
Describe times in your high school career when you have been a strong leader. Maybe you lead the math club, campaigned for a “young democrats” afterschool course in your school or stood up for students with disabilities by pushing school officials to build ramps and construct railings in the restrooms and cafeteria. Also tell the process of becoming a leader. For example, maybe in your freshman year you were shy and hardly talked to anyone, and, when you joined the math club, you started to talk with other number-loving students and proposed neat math games for everyone to try. When you won the respect and admiration of your peers, they elected you to become the club president. Talk about how you overcame struggles and built character in becoming a student leader.
Making the Goal
Devote your essay to discussing your level of interest in a certain field, such as biology, and the academic achievements you have made that won you certain scholarships. For example, if your high school earth science class was awarded a scholarship for the best biology science fair project, talk about this process and your excitement in your essay. While you may concentrate on a singular scholarship accomplishment, also tie in how that accomplishment has helped you achieved or inspired you to achieve academic success in all areas. For instance, if you are interested in biology, this interest may have made you want to be a better math student. And, to write lab reports, you needed to be a good writer, so you excelled in this subject as well.
Noelle Carver has been a freelance writer since 2009, with work published in "SSYK" and "The Wolf," two U.K. literary journals. Carver holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from American University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing from The New School. She lives in New York City.