Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type




First Advisor

Matt Koschmann


In recent years, there has been much debate surrounding the purpose and desirable out comes for higher education. This debate is illustrated in the different metaphors academics use to describe and makes sense of higher education. The goal of this study was to gain more insight into how college students understand higher education, and if their perceptions of the goals and purpose of higher education aligns with the scholarly literature. The study did this by examining metaphors. Further, the study looked to see if any metaphors are associated with specific educational outcomes. Using a mixed‐method approach the study concluded that students do not make sense of higher education in the same way academics do, and that some metaphors are associated with desirable behaviors and outcomes. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings.