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The Mindset List

Welcome to the Beloit College Mindset List for this year’s entering college class of 2018

intromindsetThe College class of 2018, starting their first year on campus this fall, arrives with a grasp of their surroundings quite distinct from that of their mentors. Born in 1996, they have always had The Daily Show to set them straight, always been able to secure immediate approval and endorsement for their ideas through “likes” on their Facebook page, and have rarely heard the term “bi-partisan agreement.”

Each August since 1998, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones and experiences that have shaped the worldview of students entering colleges and universities in the fall.

Behind the light humor of the Mindset List there are always some serious issues about the future of the class and their role in the future of the nation. The digital technology that affords them privacy from their parents, robs them of their privacy amid the “big data” of the NSA and Google. How will the absence of instant on-line approval impact their performance in the classroom and work place? Will this generation continue to seek reliance on prescription medications to address challenges and adjust reality?

Between the medications and the social media this generation is able to do what, once upon a time, only celebrities could do: advertise their self-designed personalities. Will that keep them from ever finding their authentic selves, or will they go through life with a “virtual” identity.

The Mindset List is assembled each year by Ron Nief and Tom McBride at Beloit College. It was initially created as a reminder to faculty to be wary of dated references and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing perception of each new generation as they make an important transition. It is requested by thousands of readers, reprinted in hundreds of print and electronic publications internationally, and used for a wide variety of purposes. It has caught the imagination of the public and draws responses from around the world and a million visitors to the website each year.

Visit and The Mindset List on Facebook for more lists and commentaries and guides for use as well as information on Tom and Ron’s books: The Mindset List of the Obscure: 74 Famously Fogotten Icons From A-Z (Sourcebooks, 2014) and The Mindset Lists of American History: From Typewriters to Text Messages, What Ten Generations of Americans Think is Normal (John Wiley and Sons, 2011).

See the Mindset List for the Class of 2018

Check out the Sonic Foundry Beloit College Mindset List webcast.

About the Authors: Tom McBride and Ron Nief are co-authors of numerous articles and books, They speak around the country each year to business, library, history, and education groups. Charles Westerberg joined the Mindset List authors beginning with the Class of 2019 List, released in August 2015.

Tom McBride is professor of English emeritus at Beloit College. A graduate of Baylor University and the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign, he teaches Milton, Shakespeare, and critical theory for more than 40 years. He was a co-founder of the program in Rhetoric and Discourse in the English department and for many years headed the college’s First-Year Initiatives seminar program. He has published critical essays and creative non-fiction in journals as diverse as Texas Studies in Language and Literature, The Baker Street Journal, and Two Cities, and on and open He has been a commentator on language for Wisconsin Public Radio.

Ron Nief is director of public affairs emeritus at Beloit College. He has been communicating the work of higher education for more than four decades, starting with his alma mater, Boston College in the 1960s and including Brandeis and Clark universities, and Middlebury College. He has written for numerous publications including the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Christian Science Monitor. The recipient of a Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America, he also received a Distinguished Service Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He created the Mindset List in 1998.

Charles Westerberg is the Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology at College, as well as Associate Dean of the College and Director of the Liberal Arts in Practice Center. Charles Westerberg graduated from Beloit College in 1994 with majors in Sociology and Government. He went on to get his M.A. (1997) and Ph.D. (2001) in Sociology from the University of Missouri in Columbia. He has devoted his scholarly work to the study of the privatization movement in corrections and the increasing actuarial focus of the criminal justice system. He joined the Beloit College faculty in the spring of 2000.

Mindset List 









Left to right, Tom McBride, Charles Westerberg and Ron Nief.

For information, please contact:

Ron Nief - Email:

Phone: 608-770-2625

Tom McBride - Email:

Phone: 608-363-2307

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