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Welcome, Freshmen … and Your Millennial Culture

At colleges across the country, a record 21.8 million students are descending on campuses. The incoming freshmen are easy to spot – they’re the ones with parents dragging into the dorms everything that wasn’t nailed down back home.

Class of 2018What the class of 2018 – most born in 1996 – also brings to campus is a somewhat different worldview from their elders … a.k.a. professors. To help profs avoid “hardening of the references,” Beloit College has released an annual “Mindset List” since 1998. Compiled by authors Ron Nief and Tom McBride, the list offers “a look at the cultural touchstones and experiences” of the incoming class.

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Released today, the list highlights the impact of technology on these digital natives, who grew up tethered to one electronic device or another.


Next week, I will meet the 30 millennials enrolled in my two undergraduate classes. Most are sophomores and juniors, so I decided to check the lists for their classes to keep my references current. Some highlights below, so far as technology:


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And popular culture:


And the “everything old is new again,” category, I can once again use a reference – dropped years ago – when assigning work to my students. Thanks to the Mission Impossible movies (not the TV show), I can say “your mission, should you chose to accept it,” without clueless looks … if I can get them to glance up from their laptops.

Mary W. Quigley’s blog, Mothering21, tackles parenting of emerging adults and beyond.

Photo: elinedesignservices/iStock


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