Wayland NHS: Application requirements for 2022-2023 school year


Credit: Tina Su

Before allowing Wayland High School students to join the National Honor Society (NHS), eligible students must fill out an official application. “The application for Wayland NHS seems to be representative of the expectations in the actual society,” junior Katie Pralle said. “I’m curious to see what NHS is actually like, if I get accepted.”

Tina Su and Hallie Luo

On Friday, Sept. 23, Wayland High School juniors and seniors with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher were emailed an official invitation to apply for the WHS chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS). NHS is a nationwide organization that recognizes high-achieving students in their respective schools.

After eligible students received an email and attended an informational meeting led by NHS advisors Aimee Lima and Jennifer Reed, students who were interested in joining began their application process. The NHS application process at WHS requires eligible students to have over 50 hours of community service, write five essays and create a proposal for a leadership project. Once students are accepted into NHS, they are expected to carry out their leadership project, complete at least 20 hours of community service each semester and attend all NHS meetings.

“We try to make sure students understand that being a part of the NHS is a big obligation,” Lima said. “We tell some students that they don’t have to apply just because they are eligible. [Students] have to make the decision that [NHS] is an organization that makes sense for them to be a part of.”

During remote and hybrid learning, NHS limited its requirements to 40 hours of community service. However, the other requirements have not changed in the past three years that Lima has been an advisor alongside Reed. What has changed over the years, though, is the NHS application deadlines.

“Last year, when the current seniors were juniors, we did a process by which seniors would know by their first college deadline if they were accepted, as they hadn’t had as many opportunities to do their community service [due to COVID-19],” Lima said. “We sent an email out that this year, it will be different, and the Class of 2023 will not be able to find out [if they are a part of NHS] before their Early Decision deadlines.”

This deadline change does not allow current seniors to list their commitment to NHS for their junior and senior year on their early decision transcript. However, this is similar to the process from many years ago when NHS had a spring application process. Students could only apply during the spring of their junior year, and the option to apply wasn’t available for seniors. Lima and Reed have since shifted the application process to the fall so students could have a long tenure at NHS.

“Students now have two opportunities to apply, so that was sort of a newer change,” Lima said. “The due date is also a good measure of if a student can hit a deadline.”

Another recent change that has sparked some questions and concerns is the process of creating and executing the leadership project. The NHS application process describes the leadership project as a community service project that demonstrates one’s ability to plan, coordinate, organize and implement an activity for others. A new policy that was just implemented this year limits students from planning drives that collect items such as food, books and clothes.

“It’s not that students can’t do drives anymore, it’s that we want them to be pre-approved,” Lima said. “Last school year, we had a lot of students switch from a different planned project to a drive, and at the end of the school year, I think we had like 25 drives going on at the same time. That’s what we want to avoid since they would be competing against each other, and people only have so much to donate.”

After NHS limited the number of drives, some WHS students had to think of other ideas for their leadership projects.

“My original plan was to reach out to a charity [and create a drive],” junior CC Haddad said. “But, I realized they weren’t allowing that this year, so I had to get a little bit more creative.”

The results of the junior NHS application will be released Dec. 3, and as the date approaches, some students worry about whether they will be accepted into the selective program.

“It would be really disappointing to find out that I didn’t get in,” junior Katie Pralle said. “I spent hours on the essays alone, and I even had to recontact all the people who signed my community service forms.”

However, Lima recommends students to not worry. Since there aren’t a limited number of students that can be accepted into NHS, there is no competition over a set number of spots available.

“[Whether or not a student is accepted] depends on the students’ application reviewed on its own,” Lima said. “Each year, there’s a different number of students who get in, just based on the quality of their application. It’s not a judgment of the person, it’s just based on what they submitted and if it’s their best work.”

NHS’ goal is to create an environment of academically-driven students who work together and build qualities of leadership, service, scholarship and character. Lima encourages students to continue working towards their goals.

“We’re just making sure our expectations for NHS are aligning with other schools in the area,” Lima said. “A lot of schools do even more than WHS does, so we’re trying to build on and host big events, including community service events and fundraisers.”