Opinion: Weighing the cost of Barrett

Incoming Sun Devils have a lot to consider before joining Barrett

If you had an extra $6,000 lying around, what would you do with it? Would you buy a new car, travel the world or invest it? You probably wouldn’t immediately think to use every last dollar of it paying Barrett, the Honors College tuition.

Last semester, The State Press examined the price of Barrett and whether students believed it was worth its cost. As it stands, being in Barrett is an extra $750 per semester, which adds up to that extra $6,000 on top of tuition for a student who graduates in four years. 

That extra cost is no small sum, which is why it is critical that incoming Sun Devils take a hard look at the benefits and drawbacks of Barrett before making their decision to apply for and join it. 

For a student such as myself, I do not believe that Barrett would have been worth my time or money. Studying education in a state with a giant teacher shortage offers some reassurance in the likelihood of finding a job after graduation. With good grades and work experience, having Barrett on the resume just seems unnecessary, and the extra cost would have been steep.

But, for other ASU students, they might see Barrett as an extra boost in a highly competitive job field. One potential major draw is the opportunity to do a thesis. For senior computer science major and Barrett student Niharika Jain, she said being able to do a thesis during her undergrad was one of the reasons she decided to Barrett in the first place, and she feels like completing a thesis could potentially help her in the future if she pursues graduate degrees.

However, Jain also said she feels that aside from the thesis, Barrett does not offer much. Although she enjoyed her human event classes, she said she does not feel like Barrett gave her more than what the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering was able to, Barrett student or not. 

“I don’t think it’s something you need, but it’s something that can enhance your college experience.” Jain said. “Although, at the end of the day, besides your opportunity to do your thesis, Barrett is not going to give you much.”

Fellow computer science major senior and Barrett student Nick Debeurre did not start at ASU as a computer science major. He switched from a different engineering field because he felt that computer science was a better fit for him. Because of the switch, Debeurre has one additional semester left to go after four years to complete his capstone. Although he has already completed all the requirements for Barrett graduation, he is still required to pay the fee this final semester, something he said was "kind of a pain."

As far as whether the cost of Barrett is worthwhile, Debeurre said that the price was worth it back when it was only $250 a semester, but that may or may not be the case now that is has tripled.

"If you have the money and money is not an issue, I would say that it's definitely worth it." Debeurre said. "But, if you're struggling for money and trying to pay your way through school, it's just an extra cost that you don't necessarily need to shoulder unless you plan on needing an extra boost on your resume."

How much of a boost having Barrett on your resume remains in question. It's hard to say being on the outside of the corporate office, which leaves us to only guess. 

Debeurre said Barrett might help someone improve their candidacy in a job search if they are even to the competition in all other areas, but he does not think it would offer a big boost. 

In all likelihood, it comes down to the competitiveness of a field and whatever the people calling the shots values in a candidate. So, even though there is no hard and fast rules in determining whether Barrett is worth someone's time and money, it is a decision undoubtedly worth careful consideration before taking action. 

Instead of joining Barrett perhaps only to drop it a year or two later, ASU's next group of incoming freshman have a lot to think about before paying the first of many $750 fees.

Reach the columnist at amblodge@asu.edu or follow @AndiBlodgett on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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