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NYT columnist calls Barrett 'the gold standard' among honors colleges

August 08, 2015

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2015, click here.

Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University is "widely considered the gold standard" of honors institutions, according to New York Times columnist Frank Bruni.

Bruni writes that honors colleges and programs at public universities are growing and improving at a time when smaller public and private universities are accepting fewer and fewer of their qualified applicants.

He cites John Willingham, the author of the book "A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs," who, Bruni writes, gives "the highest praise" to Barrett and honors programs at Penn State, the University of South Carolina and the University of Kansas.

Bruni writes that Barrett provides its students with "two experiences in one."

"Barrett combines the intimacy and academically distinguished student body of a Swarthmore with the scale, eclecticism and sprawling resources of a huge university," he writes. 

ASU's charter requires that the university be judged not by whom it excludes but by whom it includes and how they succeed. Barrett provides elite students a unique and rigorous college experience, often at a fraction of the cost of private schools — which, in many cases, exclude more qualified applicants than they accept.

Bruni notes that honors colleges like Barrett serve a crucial role.

"Perhaps most important," he writes, "honors colleges provide a supportive, challenging haven to some gifted young men and women who don’t make the cut at private schools with plunging acceptance rates or who aren’t prepared, for financial and other reasons, to pursue higher education far from their homes."

Article source: The New York Times

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