ASU's Honors College hailed as best buy for undergrad education

The national reputation of Barrett, The Honors College at ASU, got an extra boost this month with shout-outs in prominent media such as the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic and Reader’s Digest.  

One article cited Barrett as a reason to “skip the expensive colleges” and another named Barrett as an “excellent dedicated liberal arts college within (an) affordable public system.” An article on the explosion of student debt suggested that parents look at flagship university honors colleges such as Barrett, which it ranked “among schools with national names.”

An Aug. 17 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times on “Take Back the Liberal Arts” cites Barrett as a place where students are exposed to the broad sweep of great literature and a deeper understanding of the world:

“Too often, liberal arts courses aren’t attuned to undergraduates looking for a broader understanding of the world but toward a professor’s narrow interests,” the article begins. It concludes: “There are still colleges where the contents of the bottles match the labels. . . . And there are excellent dedicated liberal arts colleges within affordable public systems. New College of Florida and St. Mary’s College of Maryland are two; also Arizona State University’s Barrett honors college and Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York.”

An Aug. 17 article in the Atlantic, “The Debt Crisis at American Colleges,” suggests that parents look at public liberal arts colleges, “where you can get an Amherst-quality education at the fraction of the cost” and at flagship university honors colleges which offer special housing, seminars and faculty advisers.

“We visited Barrett College at Arizona State University and Barksdale College at the University of Mississippi and rank them among schools with national names,” the article continued.

A Reader’s Digest article in the September 2011 issue lists “10 things every parent should know about college.”  The 10th thing listed is “Honors colleges at public universities can offer as fine an education as the Ivy League.”

“The honors colleges at City University of New York, Arizona State University and the University of Mississippi, to name a few, offer the intimacy of a liberal arts college at state-school prices,” the article said. 

Authors were Claudia Dreifus, a New York Times writer and adjunct professor at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, and Andrew Hacker, a veteran political science professor at Queens College in New York. The two are the authors of the book, “Higher Education?” Michelle Crouch wrote the Reader’s Digest article.

The Reader’s Digest article quoted Dreifus: “These students get first pick of classes and have special classes to themselves, and at Arizona State, they have their own dorms. We met students in these honors colleges who got into Harvard and other elite schools, but they said they didn’t want to burden their parents with that kind of expense. Now that’s a smart kid.”

The articles can be found here:,0,3599898.story