Students who have a cumulative grade point average of 90%, A or equivalent standard of excellence, or a higher cumulative average set by the local school's faculty council, meet the scholarship requirement for membership. These students are then eligible for consideration on the basis of service, leadership, and character. (NHS Constitution, Article IX, Section 2)
This quality is defined as the voluntary contributions made by a student to the school or community, without direct financial or material compensation to the individual performing the service. Chapters may establish criteria that stipulate specific quantities of projects or service hours for candidates, as well as expectations of service obligations once a student is selected as a member.
Student leaders are often viewed as those students who are resourceful, good problem solvers, involved in and promoters of school activities, idea contributors, dependable, and who are both organized and organizers. Experiences to be considered under the leadership criterion can include activities that originate in the school or community or both, as determined by the local chapter.
The student of good character can be said to be one who upholds principles of morality and ethics; is cooperative and responsible; demonstrates high standards of honesty and reliability; shows courtesy, concern, and respect for others; and is a good citizen. Local chapters consider the values and traditions of both the local school and community when defining the character criterion.