Beloit College “Mind-Set List” for Class of 2012

Each year Beloit College publishes what it calls a “Mind-Set List” for the entering college class.  According to Beloit, it is composed of “observations that help to identify the experiences that have shaped the lives–and formed the mindset—of students starting their post-secondary education this fall.” They continue:”The Mindset List is not a chronological listing of things that happened in 1990, the year they were born. It is instead an effort to identify the worldview of 18 year-olds in the fall of 2008. Of course, our students come from many backgrounds and different traditions and these generalizations may not apply to all. The list identifies the experiences and event horizons of students and is not meant to reflect on their preparatory education.

“This month, almost 2 million first-year students will head off to college campuses around the country. Most of them will be about 18 years old, born in 1990 when headlines sounded oddly familiar to those of today: Rising fuel costs were causing airlines to cut staff and flight schedules; Big Three car companies were facing declining sales and profits; and a president named Bush was increasing the number of troops in the Middle East in the hopes of securing peace. However, the mindset of this new generation of college students is quite different from that of the faculty about to prepare them to become the leaders of tomorrow.

“Each August for the past 11 years, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Public Affairs Director Ron Nief. The List is shared with faculty and with thousands who request it each year as the school year begins, as a reminder of the rapidly changing frame of reference for this new generation.

“The class of 2012 has grown up in an era where computers and rapid communication are the norm, and colleges no longer trumpet the fact that residence halls are “wired” and equipped with the latest hardware. These students will hardly recognize the availability of telephones in their rooms since they have seldom utilized landlines during their adolescence. They will continue to live on their cell phones and communicate via texting. Roommates, few of whom have ever shared a bedroom, have already checked out each other on Facebook where they have shared their most personal thoughts with the whole world.

“It is a multicultural, politically correct and “green” generation that has hardly noticed the threats to their privacy and has never feared the Russians and the Warsaw Pact.”

Some examples:

#28. IBM has never made typewriters.

#32. There has always been Pearl Jam.

#37. Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.

The full list is available at: http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2012.php

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