Below, please find answers to the questions we most frequently hear from prospective students and their families who are considering the Barrett Honors College experience at the ASU Downtown, Polytechnic, Tempe, and West campus locations.
If you are an ASU Online student, please instead refer to the information available here.
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What is Barrett and how will it help me?
Does Barrett cost more?
When can I join Barrett?
Do I live on campus with Barrett?
Is Barrett extra work? Can I still participate in student organizations, sports, or multiple academic programs if I’m in Barrett?
How do I apply to Barrett?
What items are required for a Barrett application to be complete?
What does Barrett look for in an application?
May a prospective student submit a creative supplement as part of the Barrett application?
May an applicant appeal their decision?
What steps follow admission to Barrett?
What are the Barrett application essay topics for spring 2022 and fall 2022?
Do the faculty of Barrett have recommendations for addressing the essay?
Do Upper Division (UD) applicants have an additional essay?
To address the UD essay, is there additional information about the thesis/creative project available?
What is the housing policy for Lower Division students (first-year students)?
What is the housing policy for Upper Division students (continuing ASU or transfer students entering Barrett their junior year)?
Letters of Recommendation
What is the Barrett policy for letters of recommendation?
How does an applicant submit their letters of recommendation?
How does an applicant ensure that letters of recommendation are received by a deadline?
Are there any tips for composing a letter of recommendation?
Should I waive the right to view my recommendation letters?
Test Scores and Transcripts
Barrett is an umbrella college within ASU, meaning students in any of ASU’s 400+ majors across the four Phoenix metropolitan campuses - Downtown, Polytechnic, Tempe, and West - can participate in the honors college experience. Barrett is currently exploring expansion to ASU Online with a second phase of pilot cohorts in fall 2022 and spring 2023. The honors college experience is not currently available at ASU's Lake Havasu campus or at other university learning centers. The major you select when applying to ASU determines the campus you attend. You may change your major via your MyASU page.
The honors college is designed to complement the overall ASU experience by providing additional opportunities within your major, such as with study abroad, research, internships, and faculty mentorship. Barrett helps you enhance your undergraduate experience through our own honors resources or by tapping into exclusive opportunities within ASU. Part of the value of Barrett is being able to reside in the honors residential community where students live in multidisciplinary residence halls as first-year students and can retain housing in Barrett for all four years, if desired.
Overall, Barrett helps you optimize your Sun Devil experience, and can set you apart from other applicants for jobs, graduate programs, or whatever else you pursue after your undergraduate experience.
To see details on the honors curriculum and application, watch the videos for your student type on our Visit & Digital Resources page.
Like most colleges at ASU, Barrett does have a college fee which goes directly toward supporting your unique honors experience. Currently, the Barrett fee is $1,000 per semester. Your housing and meal plan costs may be different as a Barrett student, depending on which options you select. Your tuition itself will stay the same, regardless of your participation in Barrett. Barrett offers a variety of scholarships, most of which have deadlines on February 1 each year. We do not want the additional cost of the Barrett fee to be a hindrance to any student with financial need.
There are three main entry points for undergraduate students to join Barrett.
- The beginning of your first year of college. Applicants are considered “Lower Division” and typically plan to spend 4 years at ASU and Barrett.
- The second semester of your first year of college. Applicants are considered “Lower Division” and typically have 3.5 years remaining at ASU when they join Barrett.
- At the beginning of what is traditionally the junior year. Applicants are considered “Upper Division,” have already completed a minimum of 54 college credits (at least 30 of which were completed after high school graduation), and have approximately 60 credits remaining at ASU.
Barrett students live in the Barrett residential community on the ASU campus of their major for their first two years of college, and can choose to continue living in the Barrett residential community after that. Upper Division admits can choose whether they want to live on campus.
Barrett strives for its students to be challenged in ways that enrich the ASU experience, as opposed to adding more work. Rather than adding classes to your academic program, you will be taking honors options in place of other classes. Honors credits still count as ASU credits toward your degree. You can earn honors credits by opting for honors versions of classes, working closely with your professors on special projects, participating in research, holding internships, studying abroad, and more. Attend a Barrett Information Session to learn about the ways you can customize your academic experience.
Barrett does not prevent you from participating in other opportunities on and off campus. It is common for Barrett students to be very involved in student organizations, work part-time jobs, hold leadership positions, and pursue multiple majors and/or minors. You can participate in any of the larger ASU extracurricular activities or choose to be a part of the smaller Barrett organizations or both.
Students must first apply to ASU, and can then complete the separate, free Barrett application. You do not need to wait for ASU admission – all you need is your ASURITE ID and password (if it takes longer than 72 hours after submitting your ASU application to receive this information by email, contact your ASU Admissions Representative). The Barrett application is holistic and looks at a combination of academics, letters of recommendation, essays, and activities/awards. You can access the Barrett application by selecting your student type here.
A Barrett application is complete when:
- The student has finished all sections of the application, including the required essay.
- The Barrett application has been submitted, not just saved.
- Both letters of recommendation have been received by Barrett.
- The student has been admitted to an Arizona State University undergraduate degree program at the ASU Downtown, Polytechnic, Tempe, or West campuses.*
*Though a Barrett application may be started and even submitted before ASU admission is conferred, it cannot go to evaluation until university acceptance is formally awarded. For this reason, all ASU application materials should be submitted to the central ASU Admission Services office 4-6 weeks ahead of the Barrett deadline for which a prospective student is applying.
With each incoming class, the Barrett admissions committee strives to create a dynamic and well-rounded group of students who will contribute to every aspect of the honors college experience and benefit from this strong community. In addition to the academic record, the admissions committee looks for students who exhibit exceptional leadership qualities, have special talents (e.g. musical, athletic, scientific, artistic), pursue interesting hobbies or avocations, enjoy unique personal achievements, have unusual life experiences, and/or display significant community involvement.
There is no minimum GPA requirement for admission. The Barrett application is quite comprehensive, allowing many different facets of each individual to be considered. The typical transfer or continuing ASU student admitted to Barrett has a cumulative college GPA of at least 3.6. For high school seniors, the average unweighted high school GPA for the fall 2021 incoming class was 3.81. Barrett will continue to be ACT and SAT "test blind" for spring 2023 and fall 2023. More information about our test score policy is posted later on this FAQs page.
Please note that the admissions committee always considers GPAs in the context of the program of study in which they were earned. Applicants should take great care to articulate their educational background on the application. The numbers provided above are averages. A GPA or test score at or above the average is not a guarantee of admission, nor does a GPA or test score below the average necessarily preclude a student from receiving an admission offer.
Yes, each applicant may submit a single creative supplement - though multiple items may be included within - of no more than 5 pages in length. The document must be in Microsoft Word or PDF format and include the following:
- The student's full name and 10-digit ASU ID number clearly presented at the top of page 1.
- A brief description of what is being submitted.
- A concise explanation of how the applicant feels the creative supplement enhances their application materials. In short, why is it important for the Barrett admissions committee to consider?
Barrett cannot accept mp3 files. Should a student wish to submit an audio or audiovisual recording, the file must be uploaded to a website, such as YouTube, with the link to the piece then provided in the creative supplement document.
A creative supplement may be uploaded to the Essays page of the Barrett application.
Only high school seniors with a complete honors college application in the Early Action or Regular Decision pools may request a re-review of their released Barrett decision. (Many prospective students refer to a re-review request as an appeal.)
Successful re-review requests - those that result in the change of the original Barrett admissions committee decision - are rare and almost always present substantive new information that was not a part of a student's initial application materials. For example: since applying, you have improved your grades, seriously committed to a new activity you plan to continue into college, received recognition for a noteworthy achievement, etc.
The deadline was Sunday, March 27, at 11:59 PM.
Many prospective students and their families have questions about what steps follow admission to Barrett, The Honors College. Please visit our Next Steps pages for more information - Lower Division and Upper Division.
The Barrett application essay allows you to address our admissions committee in your own voice. Your essay will let us better see you as a future scholar in our honors community.
This is your space to take creative and intellectual risks. You should not cover experiences and achievements addressed elsewhere on your application.
Keep the following in mind:
- We have a deep interest in knowing why you are considering Barrett, The Honors College.
- Our admissions committee values intellectual curiosity.
- The essay will contribute to our assessment of your ability to write effectively, a key skill for success in the honors curriculum.
With an essay of approximately 300 - 500 words, reply to one of the following prompts. Your response may be critical or creative.
a) All human knowledge is erased. Only one object or one sentence can be shared with the next generation. What one thing should be passed on -or- what single statement would contain the most valuable information in the fewest words? Defend your selection. If you choose to address this prompt with an object, do not select a thumb drive, computer, etc. for its memory storage capacity.
b) Discuss how a piece of art (painting, literature, photograph, etc.) or popular culture (song, comic book, etc.) helped you realize something new about yourself or the world. What was that realization, and how did the piece of art or pop culture bring about this change in your thinking? Do not simply describe the piece of art or pop culture; instead focus on its effect on you.
You will upload the essay as a PDF (strongly preferred) or Word document to your Barrett application.
A successful essay will:
- be the result of closely examining your own ideas about your education and about the Barrett experience
- offer specific examples in support of your claims and positions
- address and integrate all elements of the prompt
- avoid re-hashing items already covered elsewhere in your application
There is never a correct answer nor a preferred response to a prompt. Instead, your essay(s) should give the admissions committee insight into how you think, how you reason, and what you value. Essays that are general, impersonal, journalistic, or encyclopedic are less successful.
Yes, transfer students or current ASU students applying for Barrett Upper Division consideration submit a short essay addressing the following prompt:
Barrett students complete a thesis or creative project as the culmination of their honors college experience. In an essay of no more than 250 words, share your thoughts on the value of this capstone project to your educational goals. Please be specific and include any ideas you have for a possible topic. You will upload your essay to the Barrett application as a PDF (strongly preferred) or Microsoft Word document.
Who may apply to Barrett and when?
Academically high-achieving, intellectually curious, and well-rounded students interested in getting the most out of their Arizona State University undergraduate experience are encouraged to explore Barrett admission. Incoming freshmen, transfer students from both two- and four-year colleges and universities, and even already enrolled ASU students can be eligible to apply. Many Barrett students are non-traditional, having taken one or more breaks from their pursuit of a college degree. Applications are accepted for both the fall and spring semesters. Prospective students should carefully review the appropriate webpage to learn more about enrollment options, including the deadlines to apply and eligibility requirements:
There are two enrollment options for Barrett: Lower Division and Upper Division. The easiest way to view them is Lower Division, often abbreviated as LD, is a four-year honors experience and Upper Division (UD) is a two-year honors experience.
The Lower Division honors curriculum is designed for students with a minimum of three and 1/2 academic years, seven fall/spring semesters, remaining at ASU and Barrett - not including summer sessions. Incoming first-year students joining ASU straight out of high school - regardless of college credit earned while in high school - are candidates for Barrett Lower Division entry.
Current ASU students or future transfer students may also submit a Barrett Lower Division application during their first semester of college if they are looking to start in Barrett during the second semester of their first year and will then have the necessary three and 1/2 academic years to address the Barrett Lower Division requirements.
The Upper Division honors curriculum is designed for students already enrolled at college/university who have completed approximately half of their undergraduate degree program and are looking to enroll in Barrett at the start of their third year. To apply for Barrett Upper Division admission, both of the following criteria must be met:
1) ALREADY COMPLETED: A minimum of fifty-four (54) credit hours recognized by Arizona State University.
- At least thirty (30) of the 54 credits must have been earned after high school or home school graduation.
- Courses in progress at the time of Barrett application review will be counted towards the 54-credit minimum with the expectation that they will be successfully completed.
2) REMAINING AT ASU: At least two academic years - four fall/spring semesters, not including summer sessions - and approximately sixty (60) credit hours at the time of honors enrollment (not at the time of application submission.)
Completing an honors thesis or creative project is an opportunity to:
- explore your academic interests with greater depth and focus
- engage with nationally recognized professors
- contribute to and advance knowledge in your field
The thesis/creative project allows each Barrett student to compile a writing or research portfolio for graduate school, demonstrate scholarly commitment, and create tangible evidence of research, writing, and creative skills for employers.
Successful projects involve two semesters of work, though some may take longer. Prospective Barrett students should not be intimidated by the thesis/creative project -- considerable resources and support are provided by the honors college and university.
For example, all Barrett Upper Division students in their first semester launch their thesis/creative project by attending an online or in-person information session, and the thesis guidebook is a step-by-step look at the process. It starts by answering the most basic question (what is a thesis/creative project?) and continues through the final stages, even providing a helpful checklist to stay on track with deadlines.
Incoming Barrett first-year students live in the honors community at the ASU campus of their selected university major for their first two years, though many choose to stay all four years to take advantage of the amenities and convenience. Honors residential communities are available for Barrett students across all four of ASU’s metropolitan Phoenix campuses (Downtown, Polytechnic, Tempe, and West). Students submit a housing application via their online My ASU page once the university enrollment deposit has been paid.
Students admitted to Barrett for the second semester of their first year have the option to transfer into honors housing mid-academic year, provided there is space available, but are not required to do so. These students will live in the honors community their second year. If a first-semester ASU first-year student knows they would want to live in the honors community for the second semester of their first year, contact Natalie Lang at email@example.com or 480-727-8219 to discuss the Barrett Housing Wait List. First-semester ASU students should not wait until they are admitted to Barrett to indicate their interest in housing and are encouraged to contact Natalie well before receiving official notification of acceptance to the honors college.
New Upper Division Barrett students have the option to live within the honors community at the ASU campus of their primary major. To learn more about these opportunities, visit this page. Please contact Natalie Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-727-8219 with any questions.
Letters of Recommendation
Students are required to have two letters of recommendation as part of their Barrett application. The letters of recommendation must be in English. At least one of the recommendations must be academic in nature, written by a high school teacher or university professor who instructed the student in a class. The second letter may also be academic or it may be from a guidance counselor, academic or club advisor, coach, supervisor at a place of employment, etc. A Barrett application will not be complete and cannot be moved into evaluation until both letters of recommendation have been received. It is the responsibility of the prospective student to ensure a complete application is on file by the appropriate deadline.
Barrett will not receive and cannot access letters submitted via Naviance, to the central ASU Admission Services office, or via the Common App. Prospective students must use the Barrett application to identify and then send notification emails to their two recommenders. These messages will contain directions for how to upload a letter directly to a student's Barrett application. Letters should be composed as a PDF (strongly preferred) or Microsoft Word document.
Once the Barrett application has been submitted, prospective students will be able to replace nonresponsive recommenders through the Barrett Application Status area of their My ASU page. The Barrett Application Status area also allows applicants to track the status of their letters, to confirm their receipt by Barrett, and to send reminder emails to their recommenders if necessary. A Barrett application will not be complete and cannot be moved into evaluation at the time of a deadline unless two letters of recommendation have been received.
Letters of recommendation should avoid repeating information that will have already been provided on the application and should contribute to a more well-rounded view of the applicant. The best letters provide insight the committee might not otherwise glean from the application. Letter writers should avoid broad statements and should not exaggerate accomplishments or misrepresent a relationship with the student. Letters should be composed as a PDF (strongly encouraged) or Microsoft Word document. We ask that electronic letterhead be used, if available, and require the inclusion of a signature block with name, position, and contact information provided.
On the Barrett application, each student is given the option to waive the right to view their letters of recommendation. This means the applicant will not be able to see the recommendations submitted on their behalf. Choosing to waive or not waive will have no impact on how the Barrett admissions committee reviews the application.
However, many recommenders prefer - or may even require - the ability to submit a confidential recommendation letter. They may write a more general, and therefore less useful, recommendation if the right to view the letter is not waived. We encourage each student to have a clear understanding of their recommender’s expectations in this regard. The decision to waive or not waive the right to view a letter is shared with each recommender.
Test Scores and Transcripts
Barrett will continue to be ACT and SAT "test blind" for spring 2023 and fall 2023. To be clear, this means Barrett will not consider ACT or SAT scores for 2023 honors college applications even for students who may wish to submit exam results. Barrett also does not consider SAT Subject Tests in our admissions process (which were permanently discontinued in 2021).
Students do share their Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) test results on the Barrett application, as well as indicate instances where test-sitting cancellations impacted their plans to complete an AP or IB examination.
International students whose native language is not English must submit the results of an English language proficiency examination (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo) to the central ASU Admission Services office in order to be considered for ASU and subsequently Barrett admission. Barrett will obtain from ASU Admission Services the appropriate documents for an international student to complete the honors college application file.
Incoming first-year students (e.g. current high school seniors) and transfer students from other universities and colleges will upload unofficial transcripts to their Barrett application. An unofficial transcript is a copy of a transcript that has been in the possession of the student.
No official transcripts should be sent to the honors college unless specifically requested by a Barrett admissions officer. Unsolicited official transcripts will not be opened and will be immediately forwarded to the central ASU Admission Services office. (An official transcript is an original document directly submitted by an authorized staff member or department of a high school, college or university; e.g. the Registrar.)