Nervous at first he might get lost in a sea of students on a large college campus, Zach Gouzd was able to find a smaller, more intimate University family within West Virginia Universitys Honors College .

It is a lot more like home,said Gouzd, a biochemistry and French major from Mannington.The Honors College is really a place where you can find a unique environment, a smaller college atmosphere in a large university. Here you will find support and the opportunity for growth as a scholar.

Innovative courses, such as City-as-Text: Morgantown, also make the Honors College experience different than the traditional university experience.

City-as-Text allows students to gain hands-on experience with Morgantowns history, citizens, economy and architecture. Residential areas such as Sunnyside and South Park create a chapter in honors studentscurriculum. The course inspires students to take a closer look at their community.

Students sacrifice sleep to gain a competitive advantage for entrance in honors courses like City-as-Text.

Theyll even set their alarms for 7 a.m. during registration to make sure they get this class,said Marie Leichliter, assistant to the dean.Students fight to get this class.

Other smaller, in-depth courses that are offered through the Honors College help provide a strong foundation for studentscareers and futures, and students have an opportunity to complete an honors thesis and portfolio.

There is a real chance that in the scientific world, youll be published in a peer-reviewed journal,said Gouzd, an Honors College ambassador.

Students like Krystynee Leacock, a sophomore biology major from Beckley, have been inspired to further their education because of their Honors College experience.

The intimate setting of the college allows students to maintain a mentor relationship with their honors adviser. Students are not only advised on their courses but their futures.

My discussions with my adviser have helped me to broaden my perspective on future goals,Leacock said.He has encouraged me to explore all the alternative paths to medicine, and he has sparked my interest in attaining a Ph.D.

The college aims to create an environment where students with similar goals and aspirations have the opportunity to support and inspire each other.

In the Honors College, studentsgoals are oriented in the same direction,Leacock said.Youre with students who like to study.

The friendly community not only boasts academic successit also encourages students to live and learn together.

Honors students are not only academic but multifaceted,Leichliter said.Our students are like Rubiks Cubes; they have so many sides. We encourage our students to question the norm.

First-year students who enroll in the Honors College have the option to live in an honors residence hall. A new91,600-square-foot, 362-bed honors residence hall is scheduled to open for the fall 2009 semester.

All students enrolled in the Honors College must maintain a GPA of 3.2 their first year, 3.3 their second and third years and 3.4 their fourth year. Students must complete at least 24 credit hours of honors courses to graduate as a WVU Honors Scholar.

For more information on WVU s Honors College, go to .