Is National Honor Society overrated?

By whom, and for what?

The National Honor Society, and its equivalent the Beta Club, are organizations created to allow schools to congratulate and reward students for what students are supposed to be doing: studying and learning. Insofar as students see being a member of either organization as desirable, the organizations are doing their job.

For a student seeking admission to a selective college, where being admitted or rejected depends on the quality of your resume as a student, the NHS or Beta Club is a useful thing to have on their record, as it indicates to college admissions officers that the student is recognized by their school for the quality of their work and participation as a school.

For students who are not athletically or socially prominent, it gives them a chance to shine. That is valuable in high school.

Once a student has been admitted to college, and has graduated, like most high school honors, it quickly becomes unimportant. So you were on the first-string varsity basketball team, or in the All-District Band, or the NHS? So what have you done since high school?

When I was a freshman, we had a class election at the beginning of our first semester to select class representatives to the Student Government Association. Because we really didn't know each other, a candidates forum was held by the SGA. Each candidate had 5 minutes to speak. Most of the candidates gave a resume of their high school careers. One candidate did not.

He said, "Just like everyone else up here, I had a high GPA in high school, I finished in the top part of my class, and belonged to several teams and clubs. You know that that means here? Nothing. Almost everyone in our class had high GPAs and were in the top of their class in high school. But we aren't in high school any more.

"My fellow candidates have made all kinds of promises about what they want to do as members of the Student Government. Do they know whether any of the things they are promising are realistic, or even possible? No.

"Neither do I. None of us have ever been here before.

"So I will tell you that I am Joe ---, a freshman here just like you. If you elect me to the SGA, all I can promise you is that I will do my best to represent you. I will listen when you have something to say, and try to answer your questions. I won't promise things I can't do. I will promise to do my best in the things I can do."

"I would appreciate your vote. Thank you." He sat down

He was elected to the SGA, and stayed on it all four years, ending up as the president of the SGA.

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