The price of honor: Is Barrett worth it?

Some honors students question whether they're getting enough bang for their Barrett bucks

Barrett, the Honors College at ASU has many benefits, including special housing, a dining hall with a gelato bar and specialized classes — but students must decide whether its amenities are worth the added price and workload. 

Barrett costs $750 extra dollars per year for students, and for Tempe students, the special dining hall meal plan costs $625 more than in other residence halls. 

Joey Green, a biomedical engineering freshman, dropped Barrett during his first semester at ASU because he said he doesn't think he needs it for his career path.

"I have a lot on my plate to finish in the four years that I'm here," he said. "Satisfying all of the pre-med requirements is a lot of time throughout the year."

Green said a representative of UA's medical school visited the University in the fall, and during his visit he asked if having a Barrett degree mattered.

"They said as long as you have good grades and a well-rounded resume, not having an honors degree will not prevent you from getting into medical school," he said.  

Green said Barrett offers many different resources, but for him those resources weren't as important as they could be for other majors.

Mario Muñiz, a criminology and criminal justice senior, said he has enjoyed many aspects of his time in Barrett.

He said he didn't feel like quitting because he had already paid the extra two or three thousand dollars for it.

"I love it, honestly," he said. "I have a thesis on my resume now, and I have met a lot of important faculty members. Plus, I am a resident so I don't pay that much in comparison."

Muñiz said despite the extra work, he thought Barrett was beneficial because he was able to connect more with teachers in a smaller classroom.

"The biggest connections I have made in college were through Barrett," he said. "All my friends are in Barrett, everyone I've spent time with throughout the four years were in Barrett."

Connor Murphy, a senior studying journalism and political science, dropped Barrett because he had already been admitted to ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, and he did not see the benefit of having a thesis on his resume.

Murphy said while he was in Barrett, he took advantage of the smaller class sizes as well as the early class registration.

"In political science coursework, there are classes that would have 100 or more students," he said. "An honors course for that same subject may have 20."

Murphy has completed fellowships and internships throughout his time at ASU, and he said those experiences were more important to him than Barrett.

"Those had far more of an impact on me and benefitted my resume more than a thesis," he said.

Murphy said that if he had not been granted a scholarship, he would have dropped Barrett earlier because of the price.

Murphy said he has seen many students drop the honors college, and that while Barrett does have a good name, being an honors student doesn't matter that much as long as you do good work.

"I let my resume speak for itself, I don't need a line that says 'honors student,'" he said.

Connor Murphy previously worked as an opinion columnist for The State Press but did not contribute to the reporting or editing of this story.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the additional cost of Barrett, the Honors College is $750 per year. The cost is an extra $750 per semester. 


Reach the reporter at ajhowar6@asu.edu and follow @andrew_howard4 on Twitter.

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