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Student Chapter Merit Award Program

The annual Student Chapter Merit Award program recognizes chapters for outstanding activities and projects by chapters in the following areas:

Student Chapter Requirements
Chapter Operations
Chapter Programming and Professional Develoment of Members
Support of the Human Resource Profession
SHRM Engagement

All SHRM student chapters are invited to submit an entry and chapters can earn awards regardless of their size. (You can read more about the Merit Awards on the Volunteer Leader Resource Center.) Here are some tips for successfully competing for these honors.

Appoint a Merit Award Vice President

​Designate one individual who will be responsible for completing the Merit Award entry. If no one person is responsible, the task of tracking chapter activities and completing the Merit Award entry can easily "fall through the cracks." Many active chapters fail to get the recognition they deserve simply because they don't take the time to complete an award entry.

Use the Chapter Merit Award Planning Workbook

A planning workbook has been developed to assist you in planning your scope of work for the award year:  April 1 through March 31.  As an Executive Committee, review the workbook together at the beginning of the school year and plan your strategy and activities for completing the required number of points.  Plan your chapter events to support your goal of winning a Superior Merit Award.

Work on the award application throughout the year

​Track your activities and accomplishments throughout the year.  You may use the planning worksheet provided as an optional tool or track directly on the application/year-end report.  The report will be available in January.  Once you create a user name and password, you may work periodically in the document, save your work, and return at a later date to enter more information.  Keep copies of any necessary documentation. Some chapters keep a notebook or file specifically for the Merit Award so that all the needed information will be in one place at the end of the year. If you wait and try to assemble everything in March, the job will be much more difficult.

Read the directions carefully

​The award application may seem complicated the first time you read it, so allow plenty of time to read and understand the directions. In most categories you simply input the requested information in the space and the category is complete. Read carefully and be sure to provide the information requested.

Even if you don't plan to submit for an award, all items in Section 1 are required.  Further, those items marked with a asterisk require your chapter to submit additional documentation. Following are examples of appropriate documentation:


Workshop or seminar sponsored by chapter​

​​Program or flyer from the seminar. Should list the chapter as a sponsor or co-sponsor of the event, the time and date it took place.


Company visit programs


Flyer announcing the company tour or a sign-up sheet of people who participated or a copy of a thank-you letter to the company.



Research survey or special project


Brief explanation of the event or project: who was involved? What did they do? What was the result? Copies of any relevant flyers, programs, letters, or articles can also be included. If there is a tangible project such as a research report,  include a copy.

When providing documentation, ask yourself: Could someone unfamiliar with the chapter understand this event? Does this documentation provide evidence that the event or project took place as described?

Practice "front-end loading"

​Plan to get the majority of activities completed in the fall semester. This way, if you fall behind you still have time to get the needed points in the spring. Remember that "senior-itis" will strike in the spring semester and chapter officers may be thinking more about finding a job than about completing activities for the Merit Award. Completing a lot of activities and projects in the fall (the "front-end" of the year) will make it easier to follow through in the spring and win an award.

Don't be afraid to ask for help

​If the Merit Award process seems overwhelming, go to your chapter advisor or the college relations chair from your sponsoring professional chapter, and ask them to help you make sense out of it. They want to see you succeed and they are there to support you. You can also contact Student Programs at for assistance in understanding the award application. The phone number is 1-800-283-SHRM.

As you prepare your application

  1. ​Remember that all items in Section 1 are required of ALL student chapters regardless of award eligibility.  All chapters are required to submit Section 1 to remain in good standing.
  2. Provide documentation only for those categories marked with the asterisk.
  3. Count each activity in only one category. Double counting of speakers or conferences in more than one category is not allowed.
  4. All submission are final. Merit Award entries will not be returned. You will receive a copy of your completed application automatically upon submission.
  5. Observe the applicable due date.

This year's winners

For a complete listing of past winners, visit the Awards area of the VLRC.

[Download the 2022-2023 Merit Award & Planning Workbook now]​


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