Alpha Rho Chapter, Homeschool National Honor Society

Compass is home to the Alpha Rho (AP) chapter of Eta Sigma Alpha (HSA), the National Homeschool Honor Society. Alpha Rho is one of over 300 chapters of HSA throughout the nation.

The goals of HSA are to:

  • Recognize and promote scholarship and academic excellence
  • Create opportunities for leadership
  • Foster networking and socializing among homeschooled students
  • Plan and participate in service projects

For many, HSA will provide a noteworthy extracurricular activity and credential on future college or scholarship applications. HSA is a student-run organization with two adult advisors. The Alpha Rho is open to all qualified homeschooled students in the area, whether they take Compass classes or not.

In order to qualify for the organization, students must be:

  • 8th-12th grade
  • Homeschooled, in good standing
  • Submit recognized test scores

Read below for more information about Alpha Rho including frequently asked questions:

Membership and Eligibility

Homeschooled students in middle and high school, grades 8th – 12th, may apply for membership in the Alpha Rho chapter of HSA, with the following clarifications/stipulations:

8th Graders

Students may apply for membership as early as June 1 at the end of their 7th grade year in preparation for membership starting in the fall of their 8th grade year. Consistent with area placement cut-offs, a student must be minimum age 13 by September 30 of the membership year to be considered an eligible 8th grade student. 8th grade applicants must be taking at least one class at the high school level in order to be elligible.

12th Graders

Seniors in high school must apply no later than September 30 of their final school year in order to benefit from a year in the Alpha Rho chapter.

Grade Skipping/Acceleration

An applicant’s grade will be based on the age-grade placement if the student were enrolled in traditional school without grade skipping. Accelerated coursework, achievement, or aptitude testing may not be used to admit younger students.

Homeschool Status
Good Standing

Students must be in good standing as homeschoolers with their county superintendent’s office as required by their state’s law.

Virginia Homeschoolers

Students must be in good standing under the Home Instruction Statute (§22.1-254.1) of the Commonwealth of Virginia including Options i through iv of home instruction, the approved tutor provision, or religious exemption.

Maryland/DC Homeschoolers

State of Maryland or Washington DC resident students must be in good standing under the home education statutes of their state/district.

State/School Affiliated Virtual Academies

Students who attend a full time virtual academy or receive at-home instruction under the direction of or funded by a public, private, or charter school operating outside of the Home Instruction Statute shall not be eligible.

Proof of Good Standing

Applicants must submit a copy of their county’s acknowledgement of their annual Notice of Intent (NOI), with their application (or similar official correspondence establishing home education status through RE or approved tutor provision.)

Achievement Test Scores
Why are test scores required?

As a requirement of the national office of Eta Sigma Alpha, achievement test scores are used to establish a measure of academic success for membership since GPAs among homeschoolers are not standardized.

What test scores are accepted?

As part of a student’s initial application, at copy of one of the following test scores must be submitted:

  • PSAT 8/9 (taken as an 8th grade student) minimum of 1020
  • PSAT 8/9 (taken as a 9th grade student) minimum of 1090
  • PSAT 10, minimum of 1170
  • PSAT or PSAT-NMSQT, minimum of 1200
  • PSAT NMSQT, minimum of 1200
  • SAT, minimum of 1200
  • Pre-ACT 10, minimum of 26
  • ACT, minimum of 26
  • Classic Learning Test 8 (CLT-8), minimum of 97
  • Classic Learning Test 10 (CLT-10), minimum of 97
  • Classic Learning Test (CLT), minimum of 88
  • Iowa Test of Basic Skills, minimum of 90% composite score
  • Stanford Achievement Test, minimum of 90% on total battery
  • TerraNova 2 (CAT 6), 2nd Edition, minimum of 90% on National Percentile Rank
We administer the CAT/Stanford/ITBS at home. Can we use this score?

The national office of Eta Sigma Alpha stipulates that tests used for qualification for the organization must be done in a group or proctored setting by someone other than the student’s own parent.

We give the online CAT/Stanford/other test at home, but it is technically administered by a testing service.

Online tests must also be overseen by an in-person adult that is not the student’s own parent. Online administration by a remote testing service cannot be counted as being proctored. Furthermore, the test administrator must ensure that the student does not have inappropriate access to other online resources (such as search engines, online encyclopedias, calculators) while taking an online version of an approved test.

My child took the CAT/Stanford/ITBS the year before last. Can we use that score?

Test scores submitted to the Alpha Rho chapter may not be more than one year old at the time of application.

My child took another nationally normed achievement test/IQ test/aptitude test/SOL. Can we use that score to apply for membership in Alpha Rho?

At this time, only the test scores enumerated above are recognized by the national office of Eta Sigma Alpha.

My child was in school last year and has a high grade point average (GPA). Can he/she qualify for Alpha Rho membership with that?

A GPA, whether calculated at home for homeschooled students, or earned at a school, cannot be used for qualification for Alpha Rho.

Student Opportunities
How will my child benefit from membership in Alpha Rho?

Membership in Alpha Rho gives homeschooled teens a forum to network with other, academically-minded students. Students perform service projects and participate in social events. A speaker is scheduled during most monthly meetings to deliver interesting presentations on academic, professional, or development topics. Membership in an honor society provides a valuable credential on applications to college, for scholarships, and for other organizations.

Who leads the chapter and decides on activities?

Alpha Rho is a student-lead organization where teens can develop leadership skills. Members hold the officers of President, Vice President of Programs, Vice President of Communication, Secretary, Treasurer, Service Project Chair(s), and Fundraising Chair. Decisions on activities are selected by the member majority at monthly meetings. The chapter has an adult advisor.

What are some example of meeting activities the chapter has had?

In its first five years, the group had speakers on topics including: personal essay writing, public speaking skills, first aid skills, personal safety, logical thinking, healthy snacking, the Supreme Court, game design, and math appreciation. The group had a career panel and special visits by a Medal of Honor recipient, a CIA historian, a novelist, and an astrobiologist.

What kinds of service projects does the group do?

Service projects have included: collecting canned goods and cash donations for a local food bank, making and delivering more than 160 Valentines cards to a low income nursing home, preparing 120 gift bags for a children’ hospital, leading a wreath-making craft at a nursing home, making baked goods for a homeless shelter, organizing clothing and personal items collected for the homeless, pulling invasive species weeds at a local park, performing clean-up along a stream, organizing a Valentines party for homeless children, and cleaning up a Revolutionary War-era cemetery.

What types of social events take place for Alpha Rho members?

Social events have included laser tag, bowling, escape rooms, a game/pizza day, a scavenger hunt, facilitated improv games, an indoor obstacle course, Jeopardy, ice skating, and year-end dinner meetings. Most chapter meetings also conclude with a short team-building activity.

What kinds of fundraisers does the chapter do?

Fundraising activities have included: the raffle of themed gift baskets, a holiday craft market, Halloween pictures, and pizza sales.

When does Alpha Rho meet?

Alpha Rho meets two Fridays a month from 3:15 pm – 4:30 pm at Compass from September through May. One gathering is for the monthly chapter meeting and the other is for a monthly service project. Special activities may be planned at other times.

What is the Alpha Rho calendar?

The membership year will run from September 1 through August 31 each year.

How will families know what is scheduled for Alpha Rho?

Alpha Rho maintains a secure online website with its meeting schedule. Members and their parents have access to the website to read about the details of upcoming events, to RSVP, to access documents and archives, and to see chapter photos. The chapter also issues reminders and meeting agendas through e-mail.

What is required for participation and attendance?

Members are expected to attend all monthly chapter meetings, participate in at least four chapter-organized service projects, and participate in at least one chapter-organized fundraising project. Members must also complete ten (10) hours of additional volunteer work on his/her own over the course of the calendar year. Participation in social activities is encouraged but not required.

My child cannot make it to all Friday meetings and activities because we are busy/we travel/he has a full schedule.

Participation by members is key to having a vibrant, successful student organization. Alpha Rho has a “three strikes and you’re out policy” in which members will be dismissed after three absences in a school year.

Compass Affiliation
My child does not attend classes at Compass now. Can he/she participate in Alpha Rho?

Yes, Provided all other eligibility requirements are met, membership in the Alpha Rho is not limited to students of Compass Homeschool Enrichment. At-large homeschool students from the Metro DC and northern Virginia areas are welcome to apply for membership, although slightly different chapter dues will apply to non-Compass students.

Chapter Dues/Fees
What are the chapter dues?

Chapter dues are $35.00 per Compass student per year, or $45.00 per non-Compass student per year. $15.00 of the dues is paid by the member’s chapter to the national Eta Sigma Alpha organization. A Compass student shall be defined as one who is enrolled in one or more classes at Compass Homeschool Enrichment during the membership year. The additional $10.00 cost for non-Compass students is non-refundable for the current year even if a student later elects to enroll in a Compass class.

What are dues used for?

Chapter dues are intended to cover the chapter’s annual registration fee to the national organization, cover the costs of basic office supplies, service project materials, refreshments, year-end recognitions, banquet, and/or token speaker gifts.

Are there other costs for participating?

There may be entrance or admission fees to social activities that members plan, such as fees for laser tag, admission to bowling, etc. In addition, members may be asked to contribute items for collections or fundraising efforts.

Why are fundraisers held if we also pay dues?

Student members may choose to supplement chapter dues by organizing fundraising activities for special programs, seminars, outings, charitable donations, and/or establishing and funding awards, prizes, or scholarships at their discretion.

Click here for a New Member Application. Submit application and documentation, or direct questions about Alpha Rho to: