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How to Put Together an Exceptional Barrett Honors College Application for Arizona State 2018-19

UPDATE:  There have been changes to the Barrett essay questions for 2019-2020.  Get the details here!

Barrett, the honors college at Arizona State University, offers a challenging, interdisciplinary education for passionate learners. Admission is competitive, and acceptance depends on more than just your test scores or GPA. That’s why you’ll want to take advantage of the Barrett Honors College application essays to show the reader why you belong in this elite program.

Let’s take a look at the prompts:

  • How will your honors educational experience enrich you, both in relation to your chosen field of study and in relation to your broader education?
  • How will you and your experiences contribute to the Barrett educational and residential community?

Put together, these prompts give you the opportunity to show the reader who you are and what you have to offer. In this guide, we’ll help you get a strong start on your Barrett Honors College application essays.

Step One: Before you start writing, take ten minutes to reflect on the questions behind each prompt. Put pencil to paper (or fingers to keys) and let your ideas flow out! Here are some questions to guide your reflection:

  • Prompt #1 asks what you want. What makes learning rewarding for you? What past experiences have most excited your passion for learning? Why were these experiences so fulfilling? What similar qualities are you looking for in your college education? In what ways do you hope your college education will contribute to your development as a person or professional?
  • Prompt #2 asks what you have to offer. What are some of the characteristics that make you you? If you asked your best friend what they love most about you, what would they say? What are some of the ways that you brighten other people’s days? How do you make your community a better place?

Step Two: Now, sift through your material and highlight or underline the ideas that have heat. Look for value statements and “I want” statements, and try to find at least three “hot” ideas for each prompt.

Some examples of these kinds of statements are:

  • “I am an empathetic listener.”
  • “I really enjoy collaborating with other people.”
  • “In college, I want to step out of my bubble and learn more about other cultures.”

Step Three: Time to research! Comb through Arizona State’s website, looking for resources that align with your personal interests, desires, and values. For each of your “hot” ideas, identify 1-2 resources that are specific and unique to Barrett.

Step Four: Finally, craft a guiding message for each prompt that connects your personal values to Barrett’s institutional values.

Some examples of strong guiding messages:

  • Prompt #1: “Barrett’s emphasis on critical thinking will prepare me not only for the workplace but also for my future as an engaged citizen.”
  • Prompt #2: “I believe that the meaning of life lies in relationships. One of my greatest strengths is my ability to foster connections among others.”

If you start with a strong guiding message, the rest of your Barrett Honors College application will fall into place. Happy writing!


Click here for our guide to writing the Common App Essay



Prompt’s Essay Specialists reviewed 13,000 admissions essays in 2018, helping thousands of students submit their applications with confidence.

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