The Class of 2023 is Headed to a College Campus Near You

The Mindset List® has delighted millions for over a decade about what has “always” or “never” been true for entering college students. It was created at Beloit College in 1998 to reflect the world view of entering first year students, and started with the members of the class of 2002, born in 1980.

What started as a witty way of saying to faculty colleagues “watch your references,” has turned into a globally reported and utilized guide to the intelligent if unprepared adolescent consciousness. It is requested by thousands of readers, reprinted in hundreds of print and electronic publications, and used for a wide variety of purposes. It immediately caught the imagination of the public, and in the ensuing years, has drawn responses from around the world. This site now gets more than a million hits a year.

The Mindset List®, an annual compilation of what has always and never been true for new college freshmen, has changed hands from founder Beloit College to Marist College.

Recently, the Mindset List of the Class of 2023 was released.

This fall’s college class of 2023, now arriving on campuses, learned of the attack on New York’s Twin Towers from parents and grandparents once they were old enough to handle it. Born in 2001, they have lived in a world in which shedding shoes at airport security; capturing news from crawling headlines on the TV screen; flying Jet Blue; and recognizing that blackboards, pens, and watches are sometimes smarter than we are have all been routine occurrences.

The creation of Beloit’s former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief and Emeritus Professor of English 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.

Nief and co-editor Tom McBride, and list co-author Beloit Professor of Sociology Charles Westerberg have been working with Marist during the transition. “This annual list is a cultural touchstone,” noted Marist’s Executive Vice President Geoffrey Brackett. “Every year Ron, Tom, and Charles have done the remarkable work of encapsulating a changing world into a cohesive list. The list has served as a reminder to the wider community of colleges and universities of the importance of understanding the constantly altering landscape outside of higher education. Marist hopes to continue that service by taking on The Mindset List and strategically expanding its capabilities and reach.”

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

  • Like Pearl Harbor for their grandparents, and the Kennedy assassination for their parents, 9/11 is an historical event.
  • The primary use of a phone has always been to take pictures.
  • YouTube has become the video version of Wikipedia.

According to Westerberg,

With half of this generation composed of people of color, they are among the most demographically significant cohorts in American history. American politics today is hard to comprehend without taking account of this major trend since, within a year, their generation will represent 25% of the U.S. population.

Here’s a few more characteristics to whet your appetite:

  • They have grown up with Big Data and ubiquitous algorithms that know what they want before they do.
  • Apple iPods have always been nostalgic.
  • Most of them will rent, not buy, their textbooks.
  • The Tech Big Four – Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google – are to them what the Big Three automakers were to their grandparents.

You can read the whole list here.

“The Mindset List helps put into context the growing interest high school and college students have in social issues,” noted Martin Shaffer, Dean of Marist’s School of Liberal Arts. “We’re seeing a more engaged, more deeply involved student body on campus.”

Even if you’re not a college professor, you need to read the whole list here.

With contributions from parents and academics around the world, the List has tracked cultural change, stimulated intergenerational conversation, and just made older people feel even older.

– Tom McBride and Charles Westerberg

Indeed.

Ready or Not, the Class of 2018 is Here!

It’s August, and most kids are back in school.

At our house, our youngest (of four) is a senior at Johnson and Wales University, where he will finish classwork a semester early. When he graduates next spring, it will be the culmination of a lot of years of school – our oldest started kindergarten in 1986. With four kids, born four years apart, that’s 29 straight years of some form of education: elementary, middle, and high school; undergraduate and graduate school.

Wow – have things changed a lot in those 29 years!

Which brings me to one of my favorite days – and topics – of the year: the release of Beloit College’s Mindset List for this year’s incoming college freshman class, the graduating class of 2018.

courtesy of warningsignshirts.com

courtesy of warningsignshirts.com

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. The creation of Beloit’s former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief and Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride, it was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation.

Mindset List websites at Beloit College, themindsetlist.com, and their Facebook page receive more than a million hits annually.

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

arrive on campuses in the coming weeks, coming with a view of the world quite distinct from their mentors.  Most born in 1996, they have always had The Daily Show to set them straight, always been able to secure immediate approval and endorsement for their ideas through “likes” on their Facebook pages, and have rarely heard the term “bi-partisan agreement.

Please read the whole list here, but these are my Top Ten:

  1. During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
  2. Since they binge-watch their favorite TV shows, they might like to binge-watch the video portions of their courses too.
  3. “Press pound” on the phone is now translated as “hit hashtag.”
  4. Celebrity “selfies” are far cooler than autographs.
  5. FOX News and MSNBC have always been duking it out for the hearts and minds of American viewers.
  6. There has always been “TV” designed to be watched exclusively on the web.
  7. While the number of Americans living with HIV has always been going up, American deaths from AIDS have always been going down.
  8. Two-term presidents are routine, but none of them ever won in a landslide.
  9. “Good feedback” means getting 30 likes on your last Facebook post in a single afternoon.
  10. Since Toys R Us created a toy registry for kids, visits to Santa are just a formality.

Behind the light humor of the Mindset List there are always some serious issues about the future of the class and their role in the future of the nation,” notes the List’s editors Ron Nief and Tom McBride. “The digital technology that affords them privacy from their parents robs them of their privacy amid the “big data” of the NSA and Google. How will the absence of instant online approval impact their performance in the classroom and work-place?

If you’re more visually-minded, here is a brief interview with the authors.

Enjoy!