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Junior/Secondary Handbook

Graduation with Honors Information

Graduation with Honors is a prestigious opportunity that is offered to graduating students. It indicates that not only have they met the national requirements for Induction into the National Honor Society for the Dance Arts but that they have reached even higher and have continued to excel not only in dance but in their dedication to the tenants of the NHSDA. 

How does a student apply for Graduation with Honors?

The student does not need to apply online for Graduation with Honors.

Students who are interested in receiving Graduation with Honors must first be inducted into NHSDA. If they have not, click here for the Steps for Induction. It is recommended that the time between Induction and receiving Graduation with Honors be spread out by a few semesters to allow students adequate time to complete the additional points and writing sample. However, if this is not possible, students who have met the requirements for Graduation with Honors may be Inducted and then the Chapter Sponsor can immediately confer Graduation with Honors to the student's Induction via the NHSDA website.

Students should continue to track their points using the Points Tracking Form, or using another method such as a spreadsheet, portfolio, or online system. Documentation must be submitted to the Chapter Sponsor by the requested deadline (to be determined by the sponsor). The Chapter Sponsor will then log into and access their NHSDA portal to confer the Graduation with Honors to the student's Induction.

What role does the Chapter Sponsor play in the Graduation with Honors process?

The Chapter Sponsor will be responsible for approving / verifying points earned and for determining when each student has met the criteria for Graduation with Honors. Once documentation of points has been provided by the student, the Chapter Sponsor will fill out an Induction Rubric with the Graduation with Honors information for each applicant to maintain for the Chapter's records. They can then log on to and access their NHSDA portal to confer the Graduation with Honors to the student's Induction.

Chapter Sponsors must also complete the transaction for Graduation with Honors fees (which include the certificate and the Graduation with Honors medallion) and order the optional honor pins or graduation cords if desired by students. Students/parents cannot pay individual fees or order pins or cords.

What do students get when they receive Graduation with Honors?

All students will receive official certificates printed by the Chapter Sponsor and a Graduation with Honors medallion mailed to the school from the NDEO home office.There is an additional fee for the blue/white graduation Cords, which may be purchased when conferring Graduation with Honors. 

*In cases where an inducted student is a member of an NHSDA chapter at dance studio or other program outside of a K-12 school, please be aware that some K-12 schools will not allow the graduating senior to wear the NHSDA honor medallion or graduation cords at graduation since the honor was earned in a program outside of that K-12 school. In this case, parents and chapter sponsor of the inducted student can petition the (K12) school principal or administration for approval to wear the cords. This should be done well in advance of the graduation date.

When are students granted Graduation with Honors?

NHSDA Graduation with Honors recognition is conducted on a rolling basis, with Chapter Sponsors determining the timeline for recognition that works best for the Chapter. There is no national deadline for granting Graduation with Honors status to an Inductee. The Chapter Sponsor should tell students to have all proof of points earned turned in at least 5 weeks before the graduation ceremony date. This gives the teacher a week to assimilate the names/points, complete the Graduation with Honors Rubric for each student, confer Graduation with Honors, collect the fees, submit payment, order the pins or honor cords, and plan the optional recognition ceremony. 

The Chapter Sponsor may decide to confer the recognition at a public ceremony (other than graduation), or may choose to distribute the materials privately. In either case, the student should wear the graduation cord and Graduation with Honors medallion at all graduation ceremonies, provided it is allowed for in school policy.

Graduation with Honors Criteria

The NHSDA Induction and Graduation with Honors criteria are designed to allow for flexibility at the chapter level so that honor society induction reflects and supports the school or studio's mission and circumstances. There are 3 main criteria - earned participation points, character and GPA.

Earned Participation Points and Essay Submission

This category reflects points earned for meritorious participation in a wide variety of dance activities. The NHSDA National Induction Point System provides a range of points possible for various activities. Chapter Sponsors may use their discretion in awarding points from zero to the maximum according to the quality of the work performed in a given activity. After being Inducted, students will continue to accumulate points until they have earned the points required for Graduation with Honors.

To qualify for Graduation with Honors within the Junior and Secondary Program, a student must earn 10 points (Junior) or 15 points (Secondary) beyond their initial induction requirements for a total of 25 points (Junior) and 45 (Secondary), at least 10 (Junior) or 20 (Secondary) of which should be earned while participating in dance activities within the program of the chapter site. At the sponsor's discretion, a student may earn up to 15 points (Junior) or 25 points (Secondary) while participating in community dance activities or other activities in the performing arts outside of the chapter program. Prospective inductees should submit documentation (e.g., programs, signed letters of participation) for any activities outside of the chapter's program to the Chapter Sponsor.

Students applying for Graduation with Honors will need to submit a 250-500 word essay to their NHSDA Chapter Sponsor that describes: What impact dance has had on your life, in and out of the studio? How do you plan to use this influence in the future to have an impact on other people and communities? An equivalent essay as approved by the Chapter Sponsor, will also be accepted.

Demonstration of Character

For Graduation with Honors, the Chapter Sponsor affirms the qualities observed for Induction. However, the character reference expands to be more inclusive of group and society observing one's ability to motivate others, offer thoughtful solutions that unite rather than divide, exercise judicious behavior in communications, do team-building, offer creative paths to new directions, encourage others to lead, and develop tangible personal and professional responsibilities to dance (as an interest, profession, or life-long learning experience) at local, state and national levels.

Determinations made for Character References are frequently made through personal observation and interaction with the student and peers, and the solicitation of input from other faculty either verbally or in writing.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Students must maintain the chapter GPA minimum at the time of graduation to receive Graduation with Honors.