Exploring the “Pre-College Schooling” Attribute of Tinto’s College Persistence Model through Public vs. Private Education

Student Author(s)

Kirstin Anderson

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Virginia Beard

Document Type


Event Date



Vincent Tinto’s 1975 model of collegiate persistence is considered nearly a paradigm in the body of research devoted to graduation from higher education. Though it has been revised over time by the empirical research of other leaders in the field, the base structure and underlying logic behind Tinto’s model has remained important and valid. Tinto’s model begins with certain pre-existing conditions for students entering college; these include family background, individual attributes, and pre-college schooling. Existing research has paid some attention to the conditions of family background and individual attributes, but most importantly, researchers consider pre-college schooling to mean simply high school GPA or class rank. Largely ignored have been Tinto’s words in his influential 1975 work, which read, “The characteristics of the high school are also important because they directly and indirectly affect the individual’s aspirations, expectations, and motivations for college education.” This project serves to explore characteristics by examining what effects a public high school education versus a private high school education may have on the way students progress through Tinto’s model of college persistence.

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