As American universities compete to recruit and retain academically high-achieving students to their campuses, many have created special programs to serve the needs of such students. According to the National Collegiate Honors Council, there are currently over 1000 honors programs in the United States, including 65 formally recognized honors colleges. Their purpose is two-fold: to attract top students who will contribute to the institution's national rankings and reputation, and to enrich the academic experience of such students and provide the support they need to reach their goals. Though the number of programs has grown rapidly in recent years, there has not been concurrent growth in research examining their role in student development. This study examines the perspectives of students and administrators of Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, to construct a descriptive analysis of honors college practice and how it is experienced by the students. Data collection included textual analysis of honors college materials, an online survey of students, observation of honors college welcome events, and interviews with eight students and five administrators and faculty members. The results were evaluated through the lens of action research to construct an espoused theory of action for the honors college organization, and observed theories-in-use as experienced by the students. The results of the study indicate that the Barrett organization has established a policy of recognizing the potential in its students, and then creating opportunities for them to realize that potential in their own unique way. Overall, students indicated through the survey and in interviews that their experience met their expectations, and that it had been intellectually and socially valuable. There are two areas, however,---honors advising and honors contracts---in which Barrett's theories-in-use are not consistent with their espoused theory, and both of these areas are sources of concern for the students. By encouraging student engagement and creativity in both arenas, the college may align its policy more closely with its espoused theory.