Questions and Answers

How does the Academy differ from regular high schools?
The Governor's Honors Academy is a residential school that operates seven days each week, enrolls only academically gifted students and provides a curriculum different from that found in the traditional public or private school.  It offers unique opportunities for students to enhance their academic skills; assimilate the accumulated knowledge of the culture; relate to contemporary issues; deepen understanding of themselves and their unique abilities; and engage others in critical-thinking and problem-solving activities.

Who can apply?
GHA is open to all eleventh grade students who are residents of West Virginia and attend high school in West Virginia, including public, private, and home schools. Students who plan to graduate after their junior year are NOT eligible. See Student Qualifications for more information.
Will I be notified when Part I of the application is accepted?
If your application is successfully transmitted, a message thanking you for applying will pop up.  If the screen does not change, you have not entered some required data correctly.  Review the form and resubmit.  You will not receive an email saying your application has arrived.

What if I am to represent my Career/Technical (CTE) center or an associated organization in a state or national competition?
Through a special arrangement with the West Virginia Department of Education, CTE students will be given special consideration to attend state or national CTE competition.
Will I get a scholarship if I attend GHA?
Attending the Governor's Honors Academy is a scholarship in itself.  You'll be on a college for three weeks at no cost.  Some colleges and universities, however, do offer college scholarships to GHA alums.  Check with the financial aid officer at the schools you are considering to see whether a scholarship is available.  Whether they can be used with other scholarships also differs from school to school. They can be stacked with the PROMISE Scholarship.
How much does it cost?
There is no cost to students or their families for tuition, room, meals, activities, books, or instructional materials. Only health and accident insurance, travel to and from the academy site, (WVU), and personal expenses are the responsibility of the students and their families.
How do I submit my application?
Students must work through the school guidance counselor to apply to GHA. The counselor will check your test scores and GPA to see if you qualify. It's your responsibility to check with your counselor and to complete the application and get the required references.  The application is in two parts.  Part I takes about five minutes to complete and is to be submitted online. Part II is the paper application and it must be submitted to the school. Students submit the completed application to the designated person at the school before the school deadline. The school turns it in to the county office, and the county superintendent sends in the names of the two Superintendent's Choices--one male and one female-- as well as the applications of students to be included in the state-wide pool. See the application for more information.
What if I didn't get a 4 on the Smarter Balance assessment?
Smarter Balance is only one of several scores used to consider students for GHA. Others include a score  of at least the 90th percentile on a nationally normed test such as the ACT, the ACT PLAN, the SAT or the PSAT. A score of three (3) or higher on an Advanced Placement examination  is also a qualifying score. 
How soon can I expect to know whether I have been accepted?
Students chosen to attend GHA will receive a letter from Governor Tomblin approximately one month from the final deadline. This year, letters were also mailed thanking applicants who were not selected as well as letters to the small number of alternates.   The names of selected students will be published on the website approximately one week after all the letters were mailed.  The roster should be published on or before March 27.

Application Process

How are students selected to attend the Governor's Honors Academy?
To be eligible for nomination and selection, a student must
  • Be a current resident of West Virginia
  • Be in the 11th grade at the time of selection and attend school in West Virginia. Students skipping their senior year to enter college are not eligible;
  • Have a GPA of 3.5 or be in the top 10% of his/her class.
  • Qualifying test scores are not required but are highly desirable.

The student must then complete an application. The application consists of Academic Profile, Student Profile, Teacher Recommendations, and Writing Entry.  Each school must select its nominees and then send them to the district level. Each school district sends its allotted nominees to the state level. A statewide selection committee  reads the applications and makes final decisions about who will attend the Program.

May school systems nominate as many students as they wish? 
No. Each school system is allotted  a male and a female "superintendent's choice" and a certain number of nominees based on its junior class enrollment.

How competitive is the application process? 
Each school district is responsible for sending its nominees to the state level, and most often, this competition is very competitive.

Does GHA accept hand-written teacher recommendations?
No. All sections of the application must be typed.

How are private-school and home-school applications submitted.
The applications of such students must be submitted to the County Coordinator in the county where the student attends school.
When are the applications due?
Counties must submit their choices by February 10. The school deadline will be considerably earlier. Check with your counselor.
Can students who are graduating high school early apply for GHA?
No. Students must be intending to return to  high school for their senior year of education.

Can a student who attends a West Virginia school but lives in a bordering state still apply?
No. A student must be a West Virginia resident in order to apply for the GHA.

Can a student who lives in West Virginia but attends school in a bordering state apply?
No. Students must attend school in West Virginia in order to apply for GHA.

Can students include additional pages in their GHA applications?
Students should adhere to the directions on the application. If, for example, the application asks for three activities, the student needs to limit his/her description to three activities. There may be a need, however, to elaborate that could necessitate the need for additional pages.  Remember, though, that clear, succinct writing is better than pages of rambling.

Academic Components of the Program

Are grades or credits given at Governor's Scholars? 
Neither grades nor credit are given; however, all students successfully completing the Program receive a certificate of completion. College applications often provide students with an opportunity to explain their participation in special programs such as the Governor's Honors Academy, and many offer scholarships for such participation.

Is there a GHA scholarship? There is not. Some colleges and universities, however, offer scholarships to GHA completers. You should contact the financial aid office of the college(s) you are considering to see whether such a scholarship exists there.

Campus Life

What type of accommodations do students have? 
Students live in Honors Hall while on campus. This modern facility has lounges on each floor, and rooms are set up in suites with a shower and restroom facilities for every two rooms.

May scholars request a roommate? 
No. Students will be assigned a roommate. Students are informed of their room assignment on the day of arrival. The Governor's Honors Academy encourages students to meet and make new friends during the three-week residency, and students will have plenty of time each day to visit with friends during mealtimes, at structured social events, and during free time. Students will be informed of their room assignment on the day of arrival. The Governor's Honors Academy encourages students to meet and make new friends during the three-week residency, and students will have plenty of time each day to visit with friends during mealtimes, at structured social events, and during free time.

May students go home on weekends? 
No. Students must remain at the GHA through the weekends. There are activities, some involving travel, seven days a week.

Are students allowed to have visitors? 
No. Parents and other friends are asked not to visit other than during the designated time (opening and closing days).

May students  bring vehicles? 
Automobiles and other motorized vehicles are prohibited, as is riding in unauthorized vehicles.