The Class of 2018

Dr. James Emery White | Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary | Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Class of 2018

Every fall, since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List.  It provides a list of “cultural touchstones and experiences that have shaped the worldview of students” entering colleges and universities in the fall.

The latest list highlights the College Class of 2018.  “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.’”

Among those who have never been alive during their lifetime?  Tupac Shakur, JonBenet Ramsey, Carl Sagan and Tiny Tim.  Most alarming to other parents would be the possibility of Madonna showing up on Parent’s Weekend to see her daughter Lourdes. 

The good folk at Beloit listed fifty-five interesting tidbits (see the full list through the link at the end).  Here are my favorites for students entering college this fall in the Class of 2018:

1. During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.

4. When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.

5. “Press pound” on the phone is now translated as “hit hashtag.”

6. Celebrity “selfies” are far cooler than autographs.

7. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has always been the only news program that really “gets it right.”

10. They never sat glued to Saturday morning cartoon shows but have been hooked on FOX’s Sunday night “Animation Domination.”

17. Courts have always been overturning bans on same-sex marriages.

26. Hell has always been associated less with torment and more with nothingness.

30. There has always been “TV” designed to be watched exclusively on the web.

35. Yet another blessing of digital technology: They have never had to hide their dirty magazines under the bed.

37. Bill Gates has always been the richest man in the U.S.

40. They have no memory of George Stephanopoulos as a senior White House advisor.

45. One route to pregnancy has always been through frozen eggs.

46. They have probably never used Netscape as their web browser.

47. Everybody has always Loved Raymond.

53. “Good feedback” means getting 30 likes on your last Facebook post in a single afternoon.

55. Since Toys R Us created a toy registry for kids, visits to Santa are just a formality.

Welcome to the next generation.

James Emery White


Click here for the full Beloit College Mindset List.

Editor’s Note

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is now available on Amazon.  To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world.  Follow Dr. White on Twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

The Class of 2018