ASU Barrett has obtained a significant funding from the Barrett family sometime ago and Dean Jacobs has been very active in bringing the Honors College into one of best in the country. They will move into their new facility this coming fall. A lot of effort was spent by ASU in building up this nice honors college on campus. UA indeed has a nice honors college but is lacking in funding and focus compare to ASU.
I always read responses from students in the ASU Barrett's Honor's college about all the positive qualities, but never seem to find any U. of A. student's comments on their honors' program experiences.
Barrett has a better rep than U of A honors college, but many of my friends who are straight -A students chose U of A. Many graduates from Barrett get into ivy grad schools. Overall, Barrett runs more smoothly than u of a, at least in my opinion but is a pain because you have to create "contracts" with your professors.
The reason you don't hear about UA honors college is simply because there is not much to hear. Basically all you get is a special room in a special building. Quite frankly, UA has let their honors program get really run down.
ASU on the other hand, went to Swarthmore (one of the top Liberal Arts Schools in the country) and hired their dean from there. Then, the Barrett family and ASU put $109 million dollars into building a 9-acre residential honors campus within ASU. I visited there this week for orientation. It's absolutely incredible. The dorms are gorgeous. It has its own fitness center and 15 eating centers. And it's all only for honors students. Moreover, the class of 2013 is the first class to move in!!
The professors are top-notch, and the Human Event course might be one of the best you will take in college. You get to know the professors really well. Their recommendations will serve you well for grad school.
Graduates attend the likes of Harvard and work at the Mayo Clinic. Readers Digest ranked Barrett Honors College as the Best honors college in the nation.
Finally, ASU as a whole (and especially Barrett) have recently made the campus a "dry campus." As with all campuses, if you want to find a party, you can and will. But the consequences are quite hefty. The stigma of a party school remains, but those who take the time to visit and research the school will find much different.
As my username suggests, I have applied to a couple ivies. I have been accepted to the Honors college at ASU (BHC), and even if I get into one or both of the ivies I applied to, the choice would still be difficult for me. I would recommend to anyone closely looking into applying to ASU and BHC. It has the quality of an ivy or private school at a fraction of the cost.
My son is in the UA Honors college. He participated in a one-unit seminar class during his first semester that he enjoyed. He also was in a very small (15-20 students) honors English class to finish fulfilling the English requirement, and found it to be a stimulating group of students and a motivating professor. Other than that, the honors classes he has taken have been part of much larger lecture-type classes, where he has done additional/alternate projects and presentations to earn honors credits. He really has not participated in the Honors College other than that, although he lived in Yuma (an honors dorm) last year.