As parents of traditional college age children, we know that our children live in a different world than we did. Intellectually, we know that the world changes — ever faster — and that our children have grown up with many different experiences. Sometimes, however, we forget — or just plain don’t realize — how different that world truly is.
Each year Beloit College releases The Beloit College Mindset List. Since the list was first published in 1998, in addition to providing college professors a chuckle, it has also proved to be an eye-opening look at ”the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college” that year. The list was originated by Beloit professor Tom McBride and Public Affairs Director Ron Nief as a reminder to faculty members that many references used in class might be outdated, but it has become a much more comprehensive look at the worldview of current college students.
We include here, for your consideration, amusement and possible consternation, a few of the items that are true for current college students. These are taken from the last two Mindset lists. So if your student was born in 1997 or 1998, consider some of the following. (You may view the entire lists, by year, at www.beloit.edu/mindset.)
If you sometimes wonder why you feel as though you don’t know your college-age student, read on.
For those students who will graduate from college in 2019-2020 . . .
Among the people who have never been alive in these students’ lifetimes: Princess Diana, Jacques Cousteau, Mother Teresa, Frank Sinatra, Matthew Shepard, Sonny Bono.
- There has always been a digital swap meet called eBay.
- The United States has always been at war.
- Serena Williams has always been winning Grand Slam singles titles.
- SpongeBob SquarePantshas always lived at Bikini Bottom.
- The Ali/Frazier boxing match for their generation was between the daughters of Muhammad and Joe.
- They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.
- If you want to reach them, you’d better send a text—emails are oft ignored.
- They disagree with their parents as to which was the ”first” Star Wars
- ”Nanny cams” have always been available to check up on the babysitter.
- Bada Bing— Tony and Carmela Soprano and the gang have always been part of American culture.
- Books have always been read to you on audible.com.
- Citizens have always been able to register to vote when they get their driver’s license.
- Bluetooth has always been keeping us wireless and synchronized.
- A Bush and a Clinton have always been campaigning for something big.
- Snowboarding has always been an Olympic sport.
- DreamWorks has always been making animated creatures heroic and loveable.
- They have never seen billboard ads for cigarettes.
- Airline tickets have always been purchased online.
- There have always been iMacs on desks.
- Vladimir Putin has always been calling the shots at the Kremlin.
- Hybrid automobiles have always been mass produced.
- Google has always been there, in its founding words, ”to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”
- They have grown up treating Wi-Fi as an entitlement.
- They have avidly joined Harry Potter, Ron, and Hermione as they built their reading skills through all seven volumes.
- TheLion King has always been on Broadway.
- TV has always been in such high definition that they could see the pores of actors and the grimaces of quarterbacks.
Your College Student’s Worldview: The Beloit Mindset List (2011-2014 grads)