U.S. college freshmen may know more about technology than their parents but most have never seen a paper airline ticket and the Jackson family, not the Kennedys, are considered American royalty.
USA Today reports Beloit College's annual Mindset List is out, kind of a cheat sheet for professors to avoid making undated references. The lists have created a snapshot of what looks "normal" for students since 1998.
USA Today says for the first time the list includes a companion guide, and list creators Ron Nief and Tom McBride say this year's freshmen are addicted to "electronic narcotics" and "think nothing of texting a friend whom they know is only a block away."
The Washington Post highlights some of the interesting tidbits the researchers at the Wisconsin college discovered, including that Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead. They also now consider former US President Bill Clinton an elder statesman, and many have no memory of his actual 1993-2001 presidency.They also say they can’t imagine anyone actually carrying luggage through an airport rather than rolling it.
The Class of 2016 also have a different view of women's rights. For them, women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles and a woman has been in charge of US International relations as head of the State Department.
USA Today says Nief and McBride stress that they are not judging the students, just trying to figure out what they know and don't know.
But in "Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today's College Student, to be published this fall, USA Today says the authors believe college students today are not prepared for the real world. Arthur Levine and Diane Dean characterize them as coddled, entitled and dependent. Levine says, "This is a generation with an average of 241 social media friends, but they have trouble communicating in person."
The Mindset List is also being used by police, the military and employers and this year it will be featured in a leadership conference at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Program coordinator Gail Williams tells USA Today, "We want everybody to increase their awareness and understanding of what makes generations unique and different, so that we can better work together."