January 25, 2020

OPINION: NHS requires unfair GPA

The school’s requirement of a 4.3 GPA or higher in order to be accepted into National Honor Society (NHS) has sparked many debates, particularly concerning students enrolled in ACP and CP classes. Basically, it boils down to this: if you don’t take honors classes, yet still receive excellent grades, it will be nearly impossible for you to get into NHS. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Some will argue that it’s National Honor Society and if students taking ACP and CP classes can get in, then the honor will be diluted. Some people even favor an increase in the 4.3 minimum requirement. But GPA only makes up a small portion of the requirements for NHS–the focus is really community service, leadership, and model behavior.

The main problem is that the current system assumes that work done in honors classes is inherently much more valuable than work done in ACP or CP classes. Difficulty is relative. Perhaps students in ACP English classes are challenging themselves just as much some other students in Honors classes. If both sets of students push themselves to their full potential in order to receive a high grade, their efforts should be considered equally valid.

The country-wide NHS requirements state that at a minimum you must “maintain a GPA of 85%, B, 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, or equivalent standard of excellence.” Each chapter (school) may have their own additional requirements on top of that, and for Wellesley, it happens to be a 4.3 GPA on a 5.0 weighted scale–which drastically favors honors students. They do not need to get near-perfect grades to get in, but students taking CP and ACP classes do.

Additionally, not all honors classes are the same, and not all ACP classes are the same. I’ve taken ACP classes with an overwhelming amount of work, and I’ve taken honors classes that have passed by like a breeze; the difficulty depended on the teacher. The difference between honors and ACP classes is so inexact and hazy, it only makes sense to unweight the requirement for NHS.

Academic excellence should be considered academic excellence, no matter what kind of class you are in.

(Christine Arumainayagam ’16, Staff Writer)

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