20 Facts About The World of College Freshmen

Last Updated Aug 17, 2010 5:44 PM EDT

What do college freshman know and what don't they know?Starbucks Coffee store in Manhattan
Every year, Beloit College takes a stab at generalizing the life experiences -- about 18 years worth -- of the latest crop of freshmen. This year's freshmen, for instance, rarely use email -- it's too slow. Few of them know how to write in cursive.

I am particularly interested in the mindset of the class of 2014 because my son is freshman. He happens to attend Beloit College and I dropped him off this past weekend.

I've got to warn parents who read Beloit College's Mindset List that it's going to make you feel decrepit. It only seems like yesterday that I was agonizing about whether to choose cloth diapers or disposables.

Here are 20 freshmen facts that I particularly liked:

  1. "Caramel macchiato" and "venti half-caf vanilla latte" have always been street corner lingo.
  2. DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.
  3. Freshmen have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.
  4. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.
  5. John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.
  6. Second-hand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.
  7. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.
  8. Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.
  9. Computers have always had a CD-ROM disk drive.
  10. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.
  11. Freshmen have never pointed to their wrists to request the time.
  12. Reggie Jackson has always been enshrined in Cooperstown.
  13. Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.
  14. "Viewer Discretion" has always been an available warning on TV shows.
  15. Freshmen never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
  16. Czechoslovakia has never existed.
  17. Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
  18. Toothpaste tubes have always stood up on their caps.
  19. The Post Office has always been going broke.
  20. Silicone-gel breast implants have always been regulated.
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also write a college blog for TheCollegeSolutionBlog.

Freshmen image by Ed Yourdon. CC 2.0.