Latino success stories in higher education: A qualitative study of recent graduates from a health science center. Page: 21
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a more positive perspective as well. Harrington and Boardman's (1997) seminal study on
successful individuals takes this tactic. Harrington and Boardman (1997) suggest that a strong
sense of inner direction, long-term planning, and a reward orientation are important for
pathmakers, i.e., people who originate from both humble and privileged backgrounds but blaze a
successful path that other people would like to follow. This idea of inner-direction or motivation
is a vital part of most studies on success.
Models or theories of success are practically non-existent at the graduate level, especially
when specific study of Latino graduate students is undertaken. However, models or theories of
persistence at the undergraduate level have been developed, with Tinto's theory of college
student departure serving as the predominant schema for student retention and student attrition
(Tinto, 1987). Tinto's theory of college student departure (1987), based on a longitudinal study
from 1975 to 1987, seeks to explain student attrition among undergraduate college students.
Tinto (1987) theorized that students enter college with a variety of personal, family, and
academic patterns. Based on these predetermined differences, students are more likely to be
motivated to attend class and are more likely to have varying personal goals. Students alter these
predetermined differences based on interactions with people or systems within the institution.
Positive experiences further integrate the student into the system and lead to retention and
persistence toward graduation. Negative experiences reduce integration with the system,
distancing the student from the institution, leading to marginality and ultimately withdrawal
(Tinto, 1987). Since this theory is based on undergraduate attrition and persistence, its
applicability to graduate students, particularly those at a health science center, is questionable.
Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) question the applicability of this and other theories or models for
higher education based on the changing face of higher education's clientele with increased
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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/m1/31/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .