Barrett Honors College Essay Topics

Barrett, The Honors College: What you need to know

Hey there Future Sun Devil! As you’ve been going through the Arizona State University admissions process you may have come across a few brochures or seen articles on our website highlighting Barrett, the Honors College. Perhaps you have heard:

Barrett is the “gold standard of honors colleges” according to New York Times columnist, Frank Bruni.

Barrett is a co-curricular, residential honors college. It offers a living and learning community of high-achieving undergraduate scholars interested in enhancing their experience at ASU. There is honors housing, advising, courses, and clubs on four Phoenix area ASU campuses. Students earn their degrees from the various academic units at ASU, but to graduate with honors students must also be members of Barrett.

It is the best of both worlds: you get the community and attention of a small private college with the diversity of majors, professional opportunities and sporting events of a large public university.

Barrett’s fall 2018 early action 1 deadline is November 1

As a member of Barrett, I am here to help you to learn what to expect in the honors college, some of the opportunities it offers, and some information about applying.

Academics in Barrett.

A common misconception of ASU’s honors college is that it is just extra work. This is simply not true. The Barrett experience is completely customized by each student to enhance the academic and extracurricular experience you will already have through your major.

To graduate from ASU, students must earn 120 credits. To graduate from ASU with honors, 36 of those 120 credits must be honors credits. These honors credits are obtained in a number of ways including honors specific courses, honors sections of courses, honors contracts and study abroad, research and internships.

Freshmen in Barrett also take HON 171: The Human Event (which accounts for 6 of those 36 credits). This is an intensive discussion-based seminar class reviewing the greatest minds throughout history. In The Human Event you’ll focus on critical thinking, discussion and argumentative writing focused on texts surrounding some of the biggest questions humanity has ever asked (read more about it here).

Finally, as an honors student you are required to complete an Honors Thesis. This is a senior project of your choosing with a faculty mentor. This can be something to supplement your resume, advance your knowledge in a certain area, or to answer a big, burning question you’ve had for a while. If you visit the Barrett thesis website you can read more about this and also see some previous projects (I recommend doing this, some of them are super cool).

Barrett Opportunities Outside the Classroom

Barrett students have several opportunities specifically available to them including honors-only research and internships. One of the most popular of these is studying abroad. Barrett is focused on helping students become global citizens and offers several faculty-led study abroad options all over the world. Best of all, these programs are convenient for students regardless of their majors with many of the programs happening during spring break or over the summer.

In addition to other countries, Barrett offers smaller, more affordable trips to great American cities for students that may not want or be able to go abroad.

Within Barrett there are also several clubs specifically for Barrett students that offer a lot of great opportunities. These clubs range from tackling sustainability initiatives, to an art and literature magazine, to outside mentoring of elementary students, to the Barrett Residential Council which is a great way to get a position as a Community Assistant on campus for sophomore year and beyond. You can read more about clubs in Barrett here.

Barrett Resources

Students in Barrett are assigned honors advisors, in addition to their academic advisors for their major, who help keep track of all those honors credits and thesis requirements. If you have academic projects you want to work on, research you want to do, or entrepreneurship competitions you want to enter they will help you to get all of the necessary information.

Students in Barrett can also participate in the Barrett Mentoring Program. This is a program that pairs upperclassmen with first-year students in “families” based on academic goals and interests. It’s a great program both for incoming freshman and upperclassmen to build community, make friends, and expand your opportunities.

In addition to all of this, Barrett also houses the Office of National Scholarship Advisement (or ONSA). This office helps any ASU student to get external funding via scholarship competitions and fellowship awards including the Fulbright and Rhodes Scholarships. Their website is filled with great information if you’re looking to find out more.

Applying to Barrett

So if Barrett sounds like the thing for you then you might be wondering how to apply to Barrett. You can start your Barrett application as soon as you’ve submitted your ASU application but you won’t be reviewed for admission to Barrett until you’re accepted to ASU. The Barrett application is online and you will need to submit unofficial transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a 500-word essay. Make sure your SAT or ACT test scores on file with ASU Admission Services.

I recommend starting on your application as soon as you’ve submitted your ASU application for admission. I also recommend focusing on your essay because it’s a great opportunity to show the committee who you are and what you can bring to the Barrett community.

The Barrett essay question for this year is:

What does it mean to you to be or to become a global citizen, and how do you see the education and opportunities at Barrett advancing your understanding of this concept?

For any information or questions about the Barrett application I recommend checking out their FAQs and contacting your admission counselor. Apply as soon as you can. Not only is space limited in Barrett, but the honors college offers scholarship opportunities that must be applied for by February 1.

Early action I deadline: November 1 (decision notification: December 15)
Early action II deadline: January 7 (decision notification: February 16)
Regular decision deadline: February 25 (decision notification: March 30)
Late consideration deadline: April 1 (decision notification: May 11)

I am happy to share my student experience with incoming students so don’t be shy, email me at with your questions.

Prompt: Barrett is composed of students from diverse backgrounds with distinctive backgrounds with distinctive life experiences. Explain how your cultural traditions (national, ethnic, religious or other facets of your background) shape your view of the world around you

            “Mazel Tov!” about 100 of my closest friends and family members sang out.  I thought, “Why couldn’t I have a normal swimming party with pizza and cake where they sang ‘Happy birthday’ to me instead?”  My religious obligations and my traditional parents had a different kind of celebration in mind.  As a 13-year-old girl, chanting my torah portion in front of a room filled with relatives, friends, and members of my congregation was not my ideal birthday wish.  I fought against it until I could not argue with my parents any longer; this was something I would have to do.  At 13 years old I did not understand the significance of this milestone in my life.  

            A Bat Mitzvah celebrates, what the Jewish religion considers the transition into adulthood, when a young girl turns 13.  As my rabbi concluded the service that I had led rather smoothly, reading every Hebrew prayer without too many flaws, I questioned whether everyone would now recognize me as an adult.  My Bebe pencil skirt and matching jacket may have given the illusion of sophistication, however, underneath it was just me, an immature, awkward girl entering a new stage in her life.  

            Traditions do not make much sense to a young adolescent.  Today, I am more mature than I was 4 years ago and have finally begun to appreciate my faith and others’ beliefs as well.  With traditions that are passed down through the generations comes a certain responsibility.  I am proud to be a part of the Jewish community and to have been able to carry out my role by participating in an ancient practice of my ancestors.  The years I spent preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, I learned the painful stories of struggle and constant persecution of the Jewish people.  From being enslaved in Egypt to the horrors of the Holocaust, there was never a safe place to freely practice Judaism.  Even today, our Holy Land of Israel is in grave danger, being threatened from all sides.  It was not always easy growing up Jewish while a large majority of my classmates and teammates were not.   However, I have realized how fortunate I am to have the ability to live in a free country, protected from hateful prejudices.  I used to shy away from what made me different, but embracing my faith has resulted in my acceptance of others and their beliefs and has exposed me to a perspective of the world greater than myself.  People of all backgrounds and faiths deserve respect despite the stereotypes that may haunt them. 

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