Virtual School Meanderings

August 24, 2017

Beloit College Releases The Mindset List For This Year’s Entering Class Of First-Year College Students, The Class Of 2021

An annual item…

Author contacts:

   Ron Nief


Tom McBride


Charles Westerberg



Beloit College Releases the Mindset List for This Year’s Entering Class of First-Year College Students, The Class of 2021

Beloit, Wis. —This year’s entering college class of 2021 doesn’t remember when a “phone” wasn’t a video game and a research library. Mostly born in 1999, they’ve always been searching for Pokemon. They’ve never read a Peanuts strip that wasn’t a repeat and they never had the privilege of a Montgomery Ward catalogue as a booster seat. They have persevered in a world without Joe Dimaggio and rife with emojis. If you ask them about the whine of a dial-up modem, expect a blank stare.

 These are among the items in this year’s Beloit College Mindset List, the 20th such release since the list was first compiled in 1998. The List’s current subjects are the last class to be born in the 1900s – the last of the Millennials.

 The Beloit College Mindset List is created by Ron Nief, Director Emeritus of Beloit College Public Affairs; Tom McBride, Professor Emeritus of English; and Charles Westerberg, Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology.

 “Members of this class have generally borrowed a lot of money to go to college, so expect them to think of themselves as consumers and not just as students,” said Westerberg, former director of Beloit’s Liberal Arts in Practice Center. “And they will also be concerned not just with what they need to learn but also who they are and to what group they genuinely belong.”

Additional items on the list as well as commentaries and guides are found at and Regular updates and discussions are on Facebook and Twitter.

The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2021

Students heading into their first year of college this year are mostly 18 and were born in 1999.

Among the iconic figures who have never been alive in their lifetimes are Joe DiMaggio, John F. Kennedy Jr., Walter Payton, and Dusty Springfield.


  1. Their classmates could include Eddie Murphy’s Zola and Mel Gibson’s Tommy, or Jackie Evancho singing down the hall.

  2. They are the last class to be born in the 1900s, the last of the Millennials —  enter next year, on cue, Generation Z!

  3. They are the first generation for whom a “phone” has been primarily a video game, direction finder, electronic telegraph, and research library.

  4. Electronic signatures have always been as legally binding as the pen-on-paper kind.

  5. In college, they will often think of themselves as consumers, who’ve borrowed a lot of money to be there.

  6. eHarmony has always offered an algorithm for happiness.

  7. Peanuts comic strips have always been repeats.

  8. They have largely grown up in a floppy-less world.

  9. They have never found Mutual Broadcasting or Westinghouse Group W on the radio dial, but XM has always offered radio programming for a fee.

  10. There have always been emojis to cheer us up.

  11. The Panama Canal has always belonged to Panama and Macau has been part of China.

  12. It is doubtful that they have ever used or heard the high-pitched whine of a dial-up modem.

  13. They were never able to use a Montgomery Ward catalogue as a booster seat.

  14. Donald Trump has always been a political figure, as a Democrat, an Independent, and a Republican.

  15. Zappos has always meant shoes on the Internet.

  16. They are the first generation to grow up with Watson outperforming Sherlock.

  17. Amazon has always invited consumers to follow the arrow from A to Z.

  18. Their folks have always been able to get reward points by paying their taxes to the IRS on plastic.

  19. In their lifetimes, Blackberry has gone from being a wild fruit to being a communications device to becoming a wild fruit again.

  20. They have always been searching for Pokemon.

  21. They may choose to submit a listicle in lieu of an admissions essay.

  22. Dora the Explorer and her pet monkey Boots helped to set them on the course of discovery.

  23. The seat of Germany’s government has always been back in Berlin.

  24. Jet Blue has always been a favorite travel option but the Concorde has been permanently grounded.

  25. By the time they entered school, laptops were outselling desktops.

  26. There has never been a Coliseum in New York, but there has always been a London Eye on the Thames.

  27. Once on campus, they will find that college syllabi, replete with policies about disability, non-discrimination, and learning goals, might be longer than some of their reading assignments.

  28. As toddlers they may have dined on some of that canned food hoarded in case of Y2K.

  29. An ophthalmologist named Bashar al-Assad has always provided vision for the Syrian military.

  30. Whatever the subject, there’s always been a blog for it.

  31. U.S. Supreme Court decisions have always been available at its website.

  32. Globalization has always been both a powerful fact of life and a source of incessant protest.

  33. One out of four major league baseball players has always been born outside the United States.

  34. Carl Sagan has always had his own crater on Mars.

  35. A movie scene longer than two minutes has always seemed like an eternity.

…AND THERE ARE 25 MORE…see the complete list and additional information and guides at and at


Copyright© 2017 Beloit College

Mindset List is a registered trademark

Disclaimer: This email was sent to
Beloit College, 700 College St., Beloit, WI, 53511, United States

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