Dartmouth professor Janice McCabe claims that there are three types of friendships that college students make.

Her most recent paper, “Friends with Academic Benefits,” was recently published in Context, an academic journal published by the American Sociological Association, and was recently summarized in an article by Quartz. McCabe conducted a study of 67 students on a college campus in the Midwest that revealed “three distinct models of friendship.”

The first model, the “tight-knitter,” is a student who has one dense group of friends who all know each other. McCabe illustrates this model with a complicated web network that closely resembles a ball of yarn. Her second model, the “sampler,” is a bit pickier. This type of student makes many one-on-one friendships rather than a large group.

The third and final model contains pieces of the two previous models. The “compartmentalizer” has a number of small groups of friends who do not necessarily know each other. This model potentially represents a large number of Penn students, especially those who form social groups through extracurriculars or housing.

McCabe concludes her journal by stating that it is important to acknowledge that all models of friendship can be “incredible resources as well as liabilities,” and that this data can help us better understand how friendships help or hinder a student’s academic performance.

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