What’s (Not) on the Mind of the Class of 2015?

August 23, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – We’re all products of the times we live in, and Beloit College’s annual “Mindset List” provides a perspective on those who will be entering the workforce in just a couple of years.


This year’s entering college class of 2015 was born just as the Internet took everyone onto the information highway and as Amazon began its relentless flow of books (and now it seems everything else) into their lives (though its those much-cheaper text books that will likely draw the class of 2015’s near-term interest).  Members of this year’s freshman class, most born in 1993, are the first generation to grow up taking the word “online” for granted (they’ve always had an information ramp onto the information highway), and for whom crossing the digital divide has redefined research, original sources and access to information, changing the central experiences and methods in their lives. 

The parents of this year’s entering class would be peers of none other than Ferris Bueller, while their kids have only known O.J. Simpson as a person of dubious accomplishments.  They’ve long “been there, done that, gotten the t-shirt,” shortened boring conversations with “yadda, yadda, yadda,” and are likely to identify LBJ as a reference to LeBron James.

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.  It was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references.

Having just dropped off a member of this 2015 class at college, some of my favorites from the list are:

Video games have always had ratings.

Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.

The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.

There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.

“Don’t touch that dial!”….what dial?

We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.

Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.

Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.

Public schools have always made space available for advertising.

They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who?

Kim Jong-il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.

Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild card entry in the playoffs.

McDonalds coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.

The New York Times and the Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.


Here’s the rest of the Mindset List for the Class of 2015

 Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.

Their classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern's daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.

 There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.

States and Velcro parents have always been requiring that they wear their bike helmets.

They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.

As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.

Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.

American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.

More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.

Amazon has never been just a river in South America.

Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you're talking about LeBron James.

All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring “I Will Always Love You.”

O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

Women have never been too old to have children.

Japan has always been importing rice.

Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.

Life has always been like a box of chocolates.

They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.


John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.

There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia.

“Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.

Chicken soup has always been soul food.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.

Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.

Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.

Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!

Women have always been kissing women on television.

Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.

Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones.

They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.”

The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little whacko.

Music has always been available via free downloads.

Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.

Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.

The United States has always been shedding fur.

Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.

No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest growing states in the Union.


They’re the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.

They pressured their parents to take them to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.

Russian courts have always had juries.

No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day.

While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.

Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.

Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.

Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.

Charter schools have always been an alternative.

They’ve grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.

More information is available at http://mindsetmoment.com/