Frequently Asked Questions

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Below, please find answers to the questions we most frequently hear from prospective students and
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Admissions

Who may apply to Barrett and when?
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 his or her Barrett application?
May an applicant appeal his or her decision?
What steps follow admission to Barrett?

Application Essays

What are the Barrett application essay topics for spring 2020 and fall 2020?
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?

Honors Housing

What is the housing policy for Lower Division students (first-time freshmen)?
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 his or her 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?

Test Scores and Transcripts

What is the Barrett policy for standardized tests?
Should official transcripts be sent to Barrett or to ASU?

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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 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:

Incoming Freshman
Current ASU
Transfer

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What items are required for a Barrett application to be complete?

A complete Barrett application is defined as:

  1. The student has finished all sections of the application, including the required essays.
  2. The Barrett application has been submitted, not just saved.
  3. Both letters of recommendation have been received by Barrett.
  4. An ACT or SAT examination result is on file with ASU Admission Services.
  5. The student has been admitted to an Arizona State University undergraduate degree program at the ASU Downtown, Polytechnic, Tempe, or West campus.*

*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 - including the submission of ACT and/or SAT results to the central ASU Admission Services office - should be addressed 4-6 weeks ahead of the Barrett deadline for which a prospective student is applying.

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What does Barrett look for in an application?

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 GPA and test scores, 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 or test score 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 2019 incoming class was 3.82, the average composite score on the SAT was 1360, and the average composite ACT score was 29.

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.

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May a prospective student submit a creative supplement as part of his or her Barrett application?

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 his or her 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 provided at any time after a Barrett application has been started and up until 24 hours after the application has been submitted. E-mail the creative supplement to barrettadmissions@asu.edu with the subject line “Creative Supplement for Barrett Application.”

Creative Supplement Example 1
Creative Supplement Example 2    

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May an applicant appeal his or her decision?

Only high school seniors with a complete honors college application in the Early Action pool may request a re-review of their Barrett decision.

Successful re-review requests are almost always the result of substantive new information being made available that was not a part of a student's initial Barrett application materials. For example: since applying, you have improved your grades, achieved a better test result, started a new activity you plan to continue into college, received recognition for a noteworthy achievement, etc.

For the re-review process, a student will upload the following documents (PDF format strongly preferred):

  1. An extracurricular activities resume
  2. A statement of interest in Barrett, The Honors College (approx. 500 words)
  3. An updated unofficial high school transcript that includes fall 2019 grades

Students may also choose to provide a creative supplement, if one was not previously provided as part of the original Barrett application submission, and an updated official score report for an ACT or SAT examination completed after November 13.

The deadline to submit a re-review request is January 31, 2020. Only one submission per student will be accepted. Students who submit a re-review request will receive the final decision via email on February 14, 2020. Questions should be directed to Barrett's Director of Admissions, Keith Southergill, at barretthonorskeith@asu.edu.

Access the re-review request portal.

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What steps follow admission to Barrett?

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.

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What are the Barrett application essay topics for spring 2020 and fall 2020?

The Barrett application essays allow you to address our admissions committee in your own voice. Your essays will let us better see you as a future scholar in our honors community. Both responses will be uploaded within a single document (PDF format strongly preferred, Microsoft Word also accepted).

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 essays will contribute to our assessment of your ability to write effectively, a key skill for success in the honors curriculum.

Essay 1: With an essay of 300 - 500 words, react to the following: what do other generations misunderstand about yours?

Essay 2: With an essay of 300 - 500 words, reply to one of the following four prompts. Your response may be critical or creative.

     a) Biologically speaking, whales are mammals. However, author Herman Melville famously claimed that since they look like fish and in most ways behave like fish, they are fish no matter what science says. Defend Melville's position.
     b) Many individuals, groups, and organizations enhance Barrett through their support (scholarship gifts, internship positions, alumni mentorship, etc.). As a student, given these external contributions to the honors college experience, what (if anything) would you owe to others?
     c) Author bell hooks says "It's in the act of having to do things that you don't want to that you learn something about moving past the self. Past the ego." Reflect on how this quote applies to a particular moment in your life.
     d) Water.

All Upper Division applicants are required to upload an additional essay.

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.

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Do the faculty of Barrett have recommendations for addressing the essay?

Successful essays will:

  • closely examine 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 essays 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.

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Do Upper Division (UD) applicants have an additional essay?

Yes, transfer students or current ASU students applying for Barrett Upper Division consideration submit a third short essay. The prompt is:

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.

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To address the UD essay, is there additional information about the thesis/creative project available?

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.

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What is the housing policy for Lower Division students (first-time freshmen)?

Incoming Barrett freshmen live in the honors community at the ASU campus of their chosen 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.

Current ASU students admitted to Barrett for the second semester of their freshmen 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 freshman knows that he or she would want to live in the honors community for the second semester of his or her freshman year, please contact Natalie Young at Natalie.D.Young@asu.edu or 480-727-8219 to discuss the Barrett Housing Wait List. First-semester ASU freshmen 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.

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What is the housing policy for Upper Division students (continuing ASU or transfer students entering Barrett their junior year)?

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. If a prospective Upper Division student in the process of applying for spring 2020 or fall 2020 knows that he or she would want to live on campus in the honors community, please contact Natalie Young at Natalie.D.Young@asu.edu or 480-727-8219 to discuss the Barrett Housing Wait List. Prospective Upper Division students should not wait until they are admitted to Barrett to indicate this interest and are encouraged to contact Natalie well before receiving official notification of acceptance to the honors college.

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What is the Barrett policy for 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 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.

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How does an applicant submit his or her letters of recommendation?

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 e-mails 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 Microsoft Word or PDF (strongly preferred) document.

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How does an applicant ensure that letters of recommendation are received by a deadline?

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 e-mails 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.

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Are there any tips for composing a letter of recommendation?

Academic letters from teachers or instructors are of the greatest value. Letters from high school counselors or individuals who can speak to service, employment, co-curricular involvements, etc. are also welcome. Letters received from family members or personal friends cannot be considered as part of an application file. 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 Microsoft Word or PDF 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.

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What is the Barrett policy for standardized tests?

Students should have their ACT and/or SAT scores sent to the central Arizona State University Admission Services office during their ASU admissions process. Once received by ASU, all standardized test scores are available to the Barrett admissions committee. Prospective students should not send test scores to the honors college unless specifically requested by the Barrett admissions staff. Barrett does not consider SAT Subject Tests as part of the admissions process, nor are the optional ACT and SAT essay components included in the evaluation of application materials.

Applicants from foreign countries are not required to have an ACT or SAT score on file, as these students do not have the same access to these exams. Students whose native language is not English must submit the results of an English language proficiency examination to ASU Admissions Services in order to be considered for Barrett admission. Barrett will obtain from ASU Admission Services the appropriate documents to complete the honors college application file (e.g. foreign transcripts, TOEFL examination score).

If graduation from high school occurred more than two years ago, the Barrett SAT/ACT requirement is similarly waived. Greater emphasis will be placed on more current aspects of the application.

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Should official transcripts be sent to Barrett or to ASU?

Prospective students should carefully review the instructions outlined on the Educational Background page of the Barrett application. Incoming freshmen and transfer students from other universities and colleges will be expected to upload unofficial copies of their transcripts. However, 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 ASU Admission Services.

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