Membership in the National Honor Society is a distinction that can help you get into college. High school teachers nominate students, and if you've been nominated, you must respond to the nomination with an application, including a personal essay detailing why you deserve membership. The hallmarks of the National Honor Society are scholarship, service, leadership, character and citizenship. This means that your personal essay should detail how you demonstrate those qualities.
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Make a list of your extra-curricular activities. These may include academic activities, sports, artistic endeavours, volunteering or jobs you've had. Note how these activities play into the characteristics that the National Honor Society is looking for.
Think of specific examples of incidents that show your good side. You don't want your essay to be a mere list of achievements. Instead, you want to show the reader through your stories that you have the qualities the society seeks, not simply state that you have the qualities. For example, you might tell a story about how you overcame your fear of public speaking to challenge changes proposed by the school board or how you helped a new foreign exchange student get acclimated to the United States.
Start with a strong opening paragraph. You want to hook the committee into reading through your whole essay. Remember that you want to tell a story with your essay, so start by telling the story--not by specifically addressing the reasons that you should be accepted into the National Honor Society. Strong ways to start an essay include posing a question, quoting a relevant work of literature and making a statement that contradicts popular opinion. The story should have you triumph over something--a personal fear, a natural phenomena or a conflict of interest between you and your parents, for example.
Demonstrate the qualities that the council seeks through your story. Highlight one or two specific events in your life that show your good qualities. Focus on one or two of the qualities that the National Honor Society is looking for--scholarship, service, leadership, character or citizenship. The event should be something that actually happened to you, a time when your strengths helped you to overcome a challenge.
Connect the beginning and the end of your essay. The conclusion of your essay should somehow connect to the introduction. For example, you could use a specific word or image that reminds the reader of what you said in the introduction. Avoid ending your essay with "These are the reasons that I believe I should be accepted into the National Honor Society." The reader should already have come to that conclusion on his own.
Ask others for opinions on your essay. Other people may notice spelling or grammatical errors in your essay or can help you make the piece more complete. You may even want to ask one of your teachers for help.
Revise your essay before turning it in. Do not rely on spell check to do the work for you. Carefully read through the essay several times before printing it out.
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