How to Write a Recommendation Letter for National Honor Society

by Sara Ipatenco
High school teacher looking at paperwork at desk

The National Honor Society, or NHS, works to recognize and honor high school sophomores, juniors and seniors who excel in the classroom. The four pillars of the NHS are character, scholarship, leadership and service. To become a member of the NHS, a student needs a letter of recommendation from a teacher willing to describe how the student demonstrates each of the pillars. A stellar letter will increase the odds that the student will gain entrance into the society.

About the National Honor Society

The NHS is an organization that honors high school students who receive good grades. The NHS website notes that the society is more than an honor roll because, in addition to good grades, it also recognizes students who demonstrate leadership, service and character. The NHS started in 1921, and now has chapters in all 50 states, as well as in Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Canada. Once a member, a student is encouraged to continue excelling by being active in his school and community. If you know of a student who deserves to be in the NHS, a letter of recommendation is in order.

Introduce the Student

The opening of your letter should share how you know the student. For example, write that you've had the student in your math class for the past two years or that you were introduced to the student when you became her basketball or softball coach. This aspect of the letter is usually short, but it's important because it establishes that you know the student well enough to recommend her acceptance into the NHS.

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Describe What Makes the Student Special

The bulk of the recommendation letter will include information about the student and why she would be a good fit for the NHS. Some chapters of the NHS ask that you rank a student based on her leadership skills and character, while other chapters also want information about how dependable, motivated, honest, courteous and resourceful a student is. A description of the four pillars of the NHS with specific examples of how a student upholds them might also be included in the letter.

Close With Kind Words

The end of your letter should close with a few good words about the student, as well as your wholehearted recommendation that she deserves to be a member of the NHS. For example, you might end with a sentence stating that you enthusiastically or without reservation recommend the student to be a valuable addition and asset to the NHS. Include a statement welcoming the reviewer of the letter to contact you with further questions and provide your preferred contact information, as well. End the letter with your signature.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

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