Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center. Page: 7
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a lack of effective mentors. This list does not touch on the issues of cultural barriers or English-
language skills that might exist for minority students, Latino students in particular.
Characteristics of Graduate Student Success
Out of the ashes, the phoenix rises, and out of the barriers to higher education, successful
minority graduate students do emerge. People define success in a variety of ways, but almost all
of these definitions have to do with attaining a goal. So for many people, success equals
persistence. Several studies have looked at the essential ingredients for graduate school success,
and several graduate students have penned books, articles, and helpful Websites detailing what
they did that led to their graduate success (Alire, 1997; Enright & Gitomer, 1989; Greene, 2002;
Pace, 1980; Padilla, n.d.; Tinto, 1998). This section will review a few of these characteristics
very generally, leaving in-depth analysis for chapter 2.
Some of the characteristics known as obstacles or barriers to college student success can
be turned inside out to account for the reasons a particular student might succeed. Research
shows that succeeding in college, or completing a college degree, is a complex mix of
institutional, societal, and personal characteristics. Some of those include family background,
economics, pre-college educational attainment, student motivation, and quality and amount of
effort exerted while pursuing a degree (Pace, 1980; Tinto, 1993). Tinto (1998) argued that
students must be integrated into the academy both academically and socially to be successful.
According to Padilla (n.d.), successful college students are "those who are academically talented,
are supported in their quest for a college degree, exhibit a high level of motivation and
commitment to their educational goals, exert a quality effort in their studies, and make
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Colley, Kay Lynne. Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center., dissertation, May 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3687/m1/17/: accessed February 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .