The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

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The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

Largest induction for National Honor Society, changes ahead

National Honor Society Induction / Malvern Communications

Malvern’s National Honor Society inducted its largest membership ever last month. What can students expect from membership changes ahead?

According to Malvern’s website, 60 new students were inducted into the National Honors Society on October 27, representing the largest group of members ever inducted at the school.

This year is the last time that the National Honors Society inducted students based on the old academic standards and prerequisites. The society has raised the bar for the current sophomore class and every grade to follow.

The requirements for acceptance have been, including this year, obtaining a 3.65 cumulative GPA, completing six honors (or AP) courses, and approved by the disciplinary and service office in a series of interviews and an essay submittal.

Next year, the major modification for the new criteria is a GPA change. Beginning with the sophomore class, students must achieve a 3.85 cumulative GPA.

Some students have noted that the large number of inductions this year suggests that membership in NHS is less prestigious.

“The exclusivity of anything makes it more desirable, so maybe there is a layer of that in the internal Malvern community,” said Director of Counseling and alumnus Mr. Paul Simpson. “I don’t think outside of Malvern people pay attention to that, necessarily.”

“We are trying to honor the kids who work hard and take academics as a serious part of their education. We want to recognize all of those kids, not just the tiny portion who get a 4.1 or higher or only the top 10% of the grade,” said Simpson.

Head of the Upper School Mr. Ron Algeo agrees. “My initial reaction was that [the larger membership] was good,” said Algeo. “I like having a bar set, and having a record number of guys be able to reach that bar is a great tribute to them and their families, and the teachers who have been working with those students.”

“If the bar is legitimate and the guys are working as hard as they can, I don’t have a problem with it,” said Algeo.

Raising Standards

Mrs. Eileen Day, moderator of NHS, along with Director of College Counseling Mrs. Emily Feeney, Mr. Algeo, and former president Luke Bushner ‘15, conducted a research study over the last year on local, state, and national levels to see what other schools’ criteria are for acceptance.

“After comparing requirements, we adjusted based on what we thought was best for Malvern,” said Day.

Day explained that far more students earn 4.0 GPAs than ever before, so the National Honor Society needs to keep up with this change in its criteria.

Day does not intend for this change to discourage students. Instead, she hopes it motivates them to work harder on these new criteria.

“The point of the change was not to accept fewer [students], but we felt as though it was time for a change,” said Day. “Those criteria had been in place for years and we thought that it was time to revamp, considering now we have AP classes and honors classes that can improve your GPA more easily than it used to be in the past.”

Algeo believes that the membership of NHS will get smaller with the new standards. “Just because of the mathematics involved I think [NHS] will get smaller,” he said.

“Because of the study, we can see how the expectations have changed across the country and how we want to be on the leading edge of it,” said Algeo.

“We are looking at being – as Mr. Talbot often says – one of the leading private Catholic schools for boys in the nation,” said Algeo. “That is what has driven us to look at the national viewpoint of standards for the National Honor Society. The downside of this is the numbers probably won’t be as high, but that is not the reason [for the change]. Rather, it would be something that follows,” he said.

College Perception

How do colleges view membership of NHS? According to Simpson, membership in NHS is not as important as your GPA and transcripts. “The colleges will always go to those two first,” he said.

“Colleges want to see the strength of your schedule, the courses you followed, the progression you’ve made, and the possible increase in rigor. That is what they are more interested in,” said Simpson.

“NHS is valuable,” Simpson continued, “especially if you are in a leadership position like President or someone who helps to organize tutoring sessions. Those positions are more valuable from the college perspective.”

Simpson noted that membership in NHS shows that a student has demonstrated some leadership and involvement in the community in addition to solid academics. This can be appealing to colleges in the context of everything else you have accomplished.

“But just saying you are in NHS probably won’t open some doors on its own,” he said.

The Future

The GPA changes will affect each student aiming to get accepted into NHS. Will students be motivated by the new change and achieve at a higher level? Will a potentially smaller induction next year create a greater prestige for the newly inducted?

Former President of the National Honor Society Luke Bushner ‘14 thinks the change is important. He fully supported it last year.

“The higher standards overall will increase the prestige of being in NHS,” said Bushner. “The higher prerequisites aren’t supposed to aim at simply cutting down the size of NHS. The main goal is to increase the achievement of those who actually meet the requirements and that will say volumes on applications and such.”

“The reason major league sports teams and other exclusive organizations are so prestigious is because they are so hard to get into,” said Bushner. “People know that it takes work and dedication.”

“Just being in [a prestigious organization] speaks volumes for your character and achievement,” said Bushner.

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