Someone told me a few weeks ago that the average 16 year old was born the year I graduated high school. Then, I got a Facebook invitation reminding me that I have been out of graduate school for ten years. Wow! Where has all the time gone? And how do I keep up with today’s youth, and the chasm of years between myself and them continues to grow?

One great tool is the Beloit College Mindset List

The list has published annually since 1998. It’s audience is college faculty, and it’s intention is to acclimate instructors and staff about the worldview of the incoming freshmen class, who will, presumably, graduate college in 2012. The list is a series of generalizations that may not apply to every student. Generally, it does a good job of listing common experiences, landmark events, and shifts in viewpoint that may help us to understand young people

It seems to me that anything “true” for incoming freshmen applies to the teens you are serving today. Thus, the List is a good reality check for people who work with teens – maybe even for staff that find teens a challenge to understand

Some gems from this year’s list:

  • Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
  • WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
  • Clarence Thomas has always been on the Supreme Court.
  • They could have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
  • Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.

Check out the entire series of Mind Set lists at

About Beth Gallaway

Beth Gallaway was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2006 for her work in advocating for videogames in libraries. She is an independent library trainer/consultant specializing in gaming, technology, and youth services, and is a YALSA certified Serving the Underserved (SUS) trainer.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation