The National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) recognizes students that excel academically and that have demonstrated strong leadership and committed service to their communities. The NJHS is open to students in grades 6 through 9. To determine eligibility, the NJHS considers candidates' fitness based on the criteria of Scholarship, Leadership, Character, Service and Citizenship, in order to select students who have both a great academic performance, and also a well-rounded presence in their school community. Students who have a qualifying grade point average and are interesting in joining the NJHS can fill out an application set by their local chapter, which often includes an essay detailing their qualifications.
Plan Your Essay
Start by brainstorming the key ideas of your essay. For this step, think about what accomplishments show that you meet the criteria for the NJHS. Then, sketch out the structure of your essay before drafting so that it is organized and efficient. This way, you will have an easier time writing a balanced essay that substantially treats each of your important topics.
Highlight Your Academic Achievements
First, discuss your scholarly achievements. NJHS membership is offered only to students that have demonstrated academic excellence. List your grade point average, class rank and any awards, such as Honor Roll, that recognize your scholarly achievements. Also list honors, college prep or advanced placement courses that you have taken or in which you are currently enrolled. It is important to prove not only that you have succeeded academically, but also that you have challenged yourself academically.
Discuss Your Leadership
Next, highlight your leadership experience. For instance, if you have served as a class officer or in any leadership position in an extracurricular activity, include details of such experience. Also discuss your leadership in sports, if applicable. If you have served as a team captain, say so. Indicate whether you were elected or appointed. The NJHS looks for students that are involved in activities beyond the classroom and that stand out as leaders to adults and to their peers.
Show How You Have Been Of Service
To evaluate service, the NJHS looks for students who have given back to their communities without being paid, so this is a good place to highlight your volunteer experience. List all service organizations in which you are actively involved and detail your participation in community service, including church-related service projects.
Highlight Your Character
When evaluating character, the NJHS is looking for students who are cooperative, honest, reliable, courteous, concerned for others and respectful. Think of ways that you have shown these characteristics. Consider sharing a story that bespeaks your strong character and ethical integrity, but keep stories brief. Stay focused on the essay.
Show You Are A Good Citizen
The NJHS looks for students that understand the importance of civic engagement, shown through their involvement in groups both inside and outside school. Detail your participation in extracurricular activities such as Scouts or community-focused groups. Demonstrate that you care about being involved in efforts that advance society.
Edit Your Essay
Before you submit your essay, read it again to make sure that it is your best work, accurately describes you, and is free from typos or errors. Ask a teacher or parent to read your essay for grammar and content before submitting it with your application.
Audrey Farley began writing professionally in 2007. She has been featured in various issues of "The Mountain Echo" and "The Messenger." Farley has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Richmond and a Master of Arts in English literature from Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches English composition at a community college.