What Shapes the Mind of Today’s Freshman…the Beloit Mindset List of the Class of 2016 is Out

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall.

Today, the Mindset List of the Class of 2016 was released.

The creation of Beloit’s former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief and Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride, authors of The Mindset Lists of American History: From Typewriters to Text Messages, What Ten Generations of Americans Think Is Normal, it was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references. It quickly became an internationally monitored catalog of the changing worldview of each new college generation.

Leaders – of all ages – need to understand what has shaped the lives of today’s entering college freshman class, those 18 year olds who:

  • Were born into cyberspace and therefore measure their output in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds
  • Came to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America’s future
  • Have never needed an actual airline “ticket”
  • Are the most tribal generation in history, and they despise being separated from contact with their friends

For those who cannot comprehend that it has been 18 years since this year’s entering college students were born, they should recognize that the next four years will go even faster, confirming the authors’ belief that “generation gaps have always needed glue.”

Here are a few nuggets from this year’s Mindset Class for the Class of 2016. You must read the entire list here!

For this generation of entering college students, born in 1994, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon, and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.

  • They should keep their eyes open for Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning at freshman orientation.
  • They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”
  • Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.
  • There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.
  • A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.
  • Star Wars has always been just a film, not a defense strategy.
  • They were too young to enjoy the 1994 World Series, but then no one else got to enjoy it either.
  • They know many established film stars by their voices on computer-animated blockbusters.
  • History has always had its own channel.
  • Point and shoot cameras are sooooo last millennium.

You can find the rest of the list here.

Read it now.


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