Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Beloit College list of the characteristics of incoming freshmen

The latest version of the Beloit College Mindset list of characteristics of freshman students just came out. 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.

A few of my favorites -- regarding technology, US society, and the cold war -- from the list of 60 characteristics are:
  • Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.
  • GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
  • Personal privacy has always been threatened.
  • Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.
  • Michael Millken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.
  • There have always been gay rabbis.
  • Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
  • Muscovites have always been able to buy Big Macs.
  • The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.

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