Academic Program
Student Life
Selection Process
Important Dates
Academy Expectations
Faculty and Staff
Application Materials
Quotes About CHA
From Parents
Accepted Students

applications for CHA 2016 available NOW

students at CHA

CHA 2016 Theme - "The Circles of Life: Expanding Our Influence"


The Commonwealth Honors Academy (CHA) is an exciting, challenging three-week academic, social and personal growth program for outstanding high school students who have completed their junior year. Students will be selected from the Commonwealth and surrounding region. Upon completion of the Academy, students will:

  • receive six hours of university credit
  • have the opportunity to take three hours of tuition-free university courses at Murray State University during the subsequent fall and spring semesters
  • be awarded a four-year, $2,000-per-year housing scholarship to attend Murray State University
The Academy differs from the traditional high school in its approach to learning and in the creation of a living-learning community. CHA offers students a chance to know and make friends with other enthusiastic, energetic students with high intellectual capacities. The interaction of students with different backgrounds is one of the most valuable aspects of the academy.

The Academy provides students, faculty and staff with an opportunity to share the joy and discovery of learning and to exchange ideas in a warm community atmosphere. Supportive secondary and university faculty chosen from the region work closely with the students in classes, seminars, and extracurricular activities. Outstanding college men and women serve as residential counselors to provide leadership, friendship, and encouragement to the students. Exceptional speakers, performers, films, interesting field trips, special events and recreational experiences offer students an array of stimulating activities that provide fun and enjoyment, as well as learning opportunities.

There is no cost to students except for personal articles, laundry, snacks, and incidental expenses and a $195 tuition processing fee.*
*Waivers for the fee may be available. See your guidance counselor..

The mission of the Commonwealth Honors Academy is to challenge, educate, enlighten, and nurture the next generation of civic, academic and business leaders of the region.
"The Circles of Life: Expanding Our Influence"
has been chosen as the theme for the 2016 Commonwealth Honors Academy.
  Academic Program
The Commonwealth Honors Academy is offered with the firm conviction that one of the greatest resources of this region is its academically talented young people. The Academy seeks to reward excellence, broaden horizons, and expand vision. Its academic program stresses the development of each student's critical thinking abilities, adaptability, creativity, and self-confidence. In the Academy, teachers and students deal with the conceptual, historical, and philosophical foundations of learning. Students have opportunities through independent effort to develop their personal and intellectual skills under expert supervision.


  • All students enroll in an interdisciplinary humanities fine arts course. This course develops the Academy's theme, drawing material from the traditional humanities (e.g., history, literature, philosophy) and the Fine and Performing Arts (e.g., music, visual arts, theatre).
  • In addition, each Academy student selects an elective course in one of the following academic areas: Agriculture; Business; Education; Health Sciences/Human Services; Humanities & Fine Arts; Social Sciences; Communications/Media Studies; Science; or Engineering and Technology. Each elective course will address the theme of the Commonwealth Honors Academy from its own perspective.
  • Each student participates in a seminar focused on issues of personal and social development. In small group discussions, students explore topics such as interpersonal communication, family and peer relationships, choosing a university, civic responsibility, and the relationship of the program's theme to their own lives.
  • An Academy reunion will take place in the following September. Students will be asked to return to the MSU campus for a reunion to renew friendships, evaluate the academy, and receive certificates of achievement during a ceremony honoring Academy graduates. Parents are also invited to the reunion and will be given an opportunity to ask questions and receive information about college life.

Student Life
A rich, diverse range of recreational opportunities, cultural and artistic events, outstanding field experiences, and distinguished convocation speakers and classroom guests will enhance the academic curriculum. Faculty members and residential counselors participate in enrichment activities with students.

Commonwealth Honors Academy students live in a residential college with separate quarters for men and women. Outstanding, experienced residential counselors provide guidance and supervision. Students learn about themselves and others as they experience what it means to become a community. They develop meaningful friendships, even in the few weeks they live and learn in the Academy.

  Selection Process
All students applying for the Commonwealth Honors Academy should have a 3.5 GPA (on a 4-point scale) and 25 Composite ACT (or the equivalent PSAT, SAT or PLAN score). High school juniors throughout Kentucky as well as the Murray State University out-of-state service region are invited to apply.
  Important Dates
February 5th -- Faculty Applications Due
March 1st -- Student Applications Due
Mid of April-- Students Notified of Acceptance
End of April -- Confirmation of Attendance Due
June 4th -- Academy Opening (Mandatory)
June 25th -- Students Return Home

Academy Expectations
Since community building is central to a student’s experience in the Academy, there is an overriding philosophy of freedom coupled with responsibility that permeates student daily life.

Law, safety and common concern for the total community govern the program’s few regulations.

  1. Willful behavior that is consistently abusive or demeaning to other members of the community, or that interferes with the academic or enrichment goals of the Academy, will not be tolerated.
  2. Student automobiles or other vehicles (including bicycles and skateboards) are prohibited, as is riding in unauthorized vehicles, or leaving campus for unauthorized trips.
  3. Drugs, including alcoholic beverages, are not allowed.
  4. Criminal behavior, such as deliberately pulling fire alarms, activating sprinklers, or bringing firearms to campus, is not tolerated;
  5. Willful behavior that is potentially harmful to the individual or community is prohibited;
  6. No open flames are allowed inside buildings (e.g., candles, incense burners, lighters, matches, etc.).
All of these regulations will be firmly enforced. A student will be dropped from the Academy and sent home for violation of any of these regulations. The student's school will be notified and no university credit will be awarded.

Approval by a parent or guardian is required before a student’s application may be considered.



Contact Information
: 304 Lowry Center / Murray State University / Murray, KY 42071 / 1-270-809-3166 / lrogers@murraystate.edu
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