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Merit Award FAQs

Merit Awards FAQs

​1. What is the Merit Award?

The Student Chapter Merit Award program recognizes chapters for outstanding activities and programs in four broad areas: 
  • Chapter Operations 
  • Chapter Programming and Professional Development of Members 
  • Support of the Human Resource Profession 
  • SHRM Engagement 
Section 1 of the Merit Award Application (Year-end Report) is required of ALL chapters regardless of award eligibility.  All active SHRM student chapters, regardless of their size, are eligible to compete for award level status. 
2. What are the different Award levels?
Awards are given based on the achievement level of a chapter. A point system is used to determine the different levels of recognition. The award levels include (from highest to lowest):

  • Outstanding Student Chapter
  • Superior Merit
  • Merit Award
  • Honorable Mention Designation
3. What is the breakdown of the point system?
Minimum requirements for Superior Merit or Merit Award are as follows:

  • Meet the minimum Affiliation requirements
  • Complete all 8 items in Section 1
  • Complete a minimum of 8 of the 17 items in Section 2
  • Complete a minimum of 4 of the 7 items in Section 3
  • Complete a minimum of 5 of the 11 items in Section 4
  • Complete a minimum of 2 of the 4 items in Section 5
Additional criteria for the Superior Merit Award are as follows:​

  • Chapters with 8-20 students must earn a minimum of 39 total points
  • Chapters with 21 or more students must earn a minimum of 50 total points
Additional criteria for the Merit Award are as follows:

  • Chapters with 8-20 student members must earn a minimum of 29 total points
  • Chapters with 21 or more student members must earn a minimum of 38 total points
Minimum requirements for the Honorable Mention Designation are as follows:

  • Meet the minimum affiliation requirements.
  • Complete all 8 required items in Section 1, plus a minimum of 10 items in any combination from sections 2 through 6.
Additional criteria for the Honorable Mention Designation are as follows:

  • Chapters with 8-20 student members must earn a minimum of 18 points.
  • Chapters with 21 or more student members must earn a minimum of 20 points
4. What are the requirements for achieving the Outstanding Student Chapter Award?
Chapters meeting the following criteria are eligible to apply for the Outstanding Student Chapter Award:

  • Qualifies for a Superior Merit Award
  • Has completed a well-rounded scope of work that includes, but is not limited to, the following items:
    • Legislative Advocacy – Either Item 4.7 or 4.8
    • Social Media/Web Presence – Either Item 2.8 or 2.10
  • Has made a monetary donation of $50 or more to the SHRM Foundation.
Significant achievement in the following broad categories will be recognized:

  • Career Development
  • Campus/Community Service
  • Innovation/Technology
  • Programming/Education
  • SHRM National Student Membership Aquisition/Retention
*When applying for the Outstanding Student Chapter Award, you will be asked to identify the category for which you wish to be considered.
5. What type of programs might be considered for the Outstanding Student Chapter Award?
The Selection Committee looks for innovative projects created and implemented by the chapter. Special consideration is given to those successful programs that are readily transferable to other chapters. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • A program designed to assist in the transition from college to career.
  • An effort to provide innovative support to a professional chapter or state council.
  • A creative program designed to meet the professional development needs of individual members.
  • An outstanding contribution to the strategic direction and programs of SHRM.
  • A new program to foster the quality process or competitiveness of your student chapter.
  • A program which provides inventive support and guidance to a local community organization.
6. How many Merit Awards are given out?
There is no set number. Awards are given to each chapter who meets the requirements.
7. What is the application process for the Merit Awards?

  • ALL chapters must complete a minimum of section 1 of the Merit Award by April 15. This must be submitted electronically, along with any other required documentation
  • Chapters must provide documentation for activities marked with an asterisk (*)
  • An activity or speaker may not be counted in more than one activity
  • In sections requiring a minimum number of participants, ONLY SHRM student members can be counted
  • All the year-end reports will be reviewed and evaluated by SHRM Staff. Random audits maybe performed to ensure accuracy of data. Chapters may be contacted for additional clarification on an activity.
  • Award notification will be mailed directly to the student advisor and president as well as an email notification.
  • Winners will be given the option to request a certificate
8. What is the application Process for the Outstanding Student Chapter award?Chapters applying for the award should provide the following information via the on-line year-end report:
  • Section 1: Executive Summary

    This serves as an introduction and should be a maximum of 400 words

  • Section 2- Questions

    Chapters should respond to each of the following 7 questions (200 word maximum):

    • Why was the program created?
    • Who participated in the implementation of your program?
    • How was the program implemented?
    • What were the program’s goals? Were they met?
    • Was the program effective? Based upon what measurable criteria?
    • Who benefited from your program? How so?
    • What makes your program deserving of an Outstanding Student Chapter Award

  • Section 3- Standards of Excellence

    The SHRM Outstanding Student Chapter awards reflect the best that our affiliated student chapters have to offer. In this section, you will be asked to: a) select a standard your submission reflects; and b) explain why it meets that standard (Maximum of 400 words). Your application serves as the sole basis for evaluating and judging by the Selection Committee utilizing the following Standards of Excellence.

    • Significant technical or professional impact on the human resource profession.
    • High levels of originality or inventiveness that clearly identifies your affiliate as creating an innovative enhancement or solution to a significant issue or problem.
    • Outstanding leadership and coordination of effective activities.
    • A program that produced significant results and enabled your affiliate to meet key benchmarks and schedules that otherwise would not have been completed.
    • Improved program, service and product quality—or member satisfaction—to a degree that significantly increased membership and revenue and/or reduced costs.
    • Provided an important addition or amendment to the SHRM portfolio of programs, products and services.
*Please note: It is unlikely that any one program will satisfy every standard of excellence mentioned, and some achievements may reflect qualities other than those listed here. The Selection Committee reserves the right to adopt additional criteria agreed upon by all of its members.

9. What do student chapters who win the award receive?

  • The option to receive a certificate of achievement 
  • Recognition on the SHRM Student website
  • Recognition at the SHRM Annual Student Conference
  • Recognition in the Fall StudentFocus edition
  • Digital logo and press release
*Outstanding Student Chapters also receive a plaque

10. Is there an appeals process?
Yes, chapters wishing to make an appeal can submit their appeals to and the reason for their appeal. The application will be reviewed again by the Student Programs team and the chapter will be notified of the results.

Student Programs cannot guarantee a chapter will be granted the award they wish to receive. There are strict requirements for determining the award level.

11. Why should my chapter apply for the Merit Award?
Completing a Merit Award Year-end Report is a way to review and evaluate your chapter's progress towards its goals. Just as a company has a mission statement, your chapter should have a unifying purpose. Winning a Superior Merit Award, Merit Award, or an Honorable Mention distinction provides you with national recognition for a job well done. Plan to participate this year and enjoy the following rewards:

  • National recognition. Feel the pride that comes with being part of an award-winning chapter. Winners are publicized online, to the professional chapters, and at the Society's annual conference. Professional SHRM members participate in a similar award program, so they understand the value of this accomplishment.
  • Opportunity to share what you've learned. Successful programs reported in Merit Award Year-end Reports are communicated to other chapters through the "Idea Book". Your experiences could help other students enrich their chapter programming.
  • School recognition. Demonstrate the accomplishments of your chapter in a tangible way to other student organizations on campus. Display your award certificate for everyone to see.
  • Satisfaction of doing your best. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Develop the habit of doing your best in all the activities you undertake. This quality is impressive to potential employers. 
12. Are there any tips for completing the Merit Award?

​Yes, for tips and more information please here​.​


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