Vincent Tinto is a professor at Syracuse University. He’s well known for his theories on students’ persistence through higher education. His research produced what’s known as the “Model of Institutional Departure.”
Tinto’s model informs us that, above all else, college is a transition from one community to another. Our success in college depends on how well we integrate ourselves into that new community.
What happens if we go home every weekend to visit high-school friends and sweethearts instead of making friends in our new community? We don’t integrate. We don’t get help from new friends going through the same issues or receive academic advice from new mentors. Instead, we tend to drop out.
Tinto’s model has proven incredibly useful in improving how we educate not just undergraduates but people enrolled in remote learning programs and continuing-education classes. And it can be extended far past education to help us understand how people persist.