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The 2021 Marist Mindset List for the Class of 2025

The Mindset List, aka the “always/never” list, is a compilation of key points about incoming college students. Created at Beloit College in 1998 to reflect the world view of entering first year students—and to help faculty understand incoming classes—the list started with the members of the class of 2002, born in 1980. In 2019, the list moved to Marist, becoming the Marist Mindset List. The list is widely considered a cultural touchstone.

 

Timeline of the Mindset List

Jul 31, 1998

First Mindset List for the college class of 2002 is released.

Read the list

Nov 04, 2007

The New York Times article on the Mindset List, "Yes, You Are Old."

Read the article

Jul 01, 2011

The Mindset List of American History is published.

See the book

Jul 29, 2016

The Millennial Promise: 40 Tips from the Mindset List published.

See the book

Oct 25, 2018

The Mindset List moves to Marist.

Read the article

Aug 21, 2019

The first Marist Mindset List is released.

Read the list

Sep 09, 2020

The Mindset List for the Class of 2024 is released.

Read the list

Sep 07, 2021

The Mindset List for the Class of 2025 is released.

Read the List

Image of the Marist Mindset List team.

Under the direction of Associate Professor of English Tommy Zurhellen, Assistant Professor of Art and Digital Media Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, and Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Vanessa Lynn, the list for the Class of 2025 will be the second iteration fully compiled by Marist. The team has established the list as “a cultural compass that tracks the challenges and celebrates the accomplishments of each incoming college class.”

Under the direction of Associate Professor of English Tommy Zurhellen, Assistant Professor of Art and Digital Media Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, and Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Vanessa Lynn, the list for the Class of 2025 will be the second iteration fully compiled by Marist. The team has established the list as “a cultural compass that tracks the challenges and celebrates the accomplishments of each incoming college class.”

Under the direction of Marist faculty, this year’s list is comprised of 10 items. Led by Associate Professor of English Tommy Zurhellen, the goal of the Marist Mindset List is to inspire thoughtful conversation. Each list item on the list for the Class of 2025 was the result of research and discussion, and links to the background sources are included here to encourage delving into the topic areas.

The Class of 2025 is...

Incoming students were inspired by Amanda Gorman’s reading of her poem, “The Hill We Climb” at the Presidential Inauguration to rediscover the power of poetry in their own lives, and on their own terms.

Featured Article:
"How Amanda Gorman became the voice of a new American era"


Incoming students were inspired by Amanda Gorman’s reading of her poem, “The Hill We Climb” at the Presidential Inauguration to rediscover the power of poetry in their own lives, and on their own terms.

Featured Article:
"How Amanda Gorman became the voice of a new American era"


Although less than 5% of the Class of 2025 will be veterans, most colleges and universities are focusing more campus resources on supporting student veterans on campus.

Featured Article:
"Commentary: Institutions of higher learning must double down support for student veterans"


Although less than 5% of the Class of 2025 will be veterans, most colleges and universities are focusing more campus resources on supporting student veterans on campus.

Featured Article:
"Commentary: Institutions of higher learning must double down support for student veterans"


Incoming students and their professors are among the first to adjust to a new reality of digital learning, which has changed the face of higher education for years to come.

Featured Article:
"When the Pandemic Ends, Will School Change Forever?"


Incoming students and their professors are among the first to adjust to a new reality of digital learning, which has changed the face of higher education for years to come.

Featured Article:
"When the Pandemic Ends, Will School Change Forever?"


Depending on where their college or university is located, students in the class of 2025 are experiencing vast differences in COVID-19 regulations on campus, leading to a disparity in educational quality.

Featured Article:
"These Colleges Won’t Mandate a Covid-19 Vaccine. Instead, They’ll Try to Entice."


Depending on where their college or university is located, students in the class of 2025 are experiencing vast differences in COVID-19 regulations on campus, leading to a disparity in educational quality.

Featured Article:
"These Colleges Won’t Mandate a Covid-19 Vaccine. Instead, They’ll Try to Entice."


Incoming students are expressing themselves creatively and patronizing the arts through non-fungible tokens (NFT). What are NFTs? Non-fungible tokens are the provenance of digital assets bought and sold on the cryptocurrency blockchain.

Featured Source:
Dazhon Miller, Marist Art & Digital Media major and football player, who minted an NFT for his capping project.
See the NFT


Incoming students are expressing themselves creatively and patronizing the arts through non-fungible tokens (NFT). What are NFTs? Non-fungible tokens are the provenance of digital assets bought and sold on the cryptocurrency blockchain.

Featured Source:
Dazhon Miller, Marist Art & Digital Media major and football player, who minted an NFT for his capping project.
See the NFT


As part of Generation Z, the Class of 2025 expects to find empowering online shopping experiences from the new “internet of behavior.”

Featured Article:
"Are you reframing your future or is the future reframing you?"


As part of Generation Z, the Class of 2025 expects to find empowering online shopping experiences from the new “internet of behavior.”

Featured Article:
"Are you reframing your future or is the future reframing you?"


First-year students are demanding fashion brands that offer dignity and justice to employees throughout the global value chain, as retail sales lag from the ongoing pandemic.

Featured Article:
“What Is Going On With China, Cotton and All of These Clothing Brands?”


First-year students are demanding fashion brands that offer dignity and justice to employees throughout the global value chain, as retail sales lag from the ongoing pandemic.

Featured Article:
“What Is Going On With China, Cotton and All of These Clothing Brands?”


Incoming students are less likely to support the death penalty in America than earlier generations. The Class of 2025 is more diverse in thought and demographics than previous cohorts.

Featured Website:
"U.S. Support for Death Penalty Holds Above Majority Level"


Incoming students are less likely to support the death penalty in America than earlier generations. The Class of 2025 is more diverse in thought and demographics than previous cohorts.

Featured Website:
"U.S. Support for Death Penalty Holds Above Majority Level"


Incoming students now live in a country where Oregon decriminalized drug use, drug possession, and low-level drug sales, as Portugal did 20 years ago. These policies have shown that using a public health approach reduces drug overdose, HIV infections, and decreases incarceration for drug-related offenses.

Featured Article:
"Drug Decriminalization," The Drug Policy Alliance


Incoming students now live in a country where Oregon decriminalized drug use, drug possession, and low-level drug sales, as Portugal did 20 years ago. These policies have shown that using a public health approach reduces drug overdose, HIV infections, and decreases incarceration for drug-related offenses.

Featured Article:
"Drug Decriminalization," The Drug Policy Alliance


Incoming students live in an era where a primary threat of terrorism to Americans comes from domestic white supremacists, rather than from abroad. This is the first incoming college class in United States history to have witnessed the confederate flag displayed in the Capitol.

Featured Article:
Inside Higher Ed
"Condemnations of Capitol Rioting (and Trump) Continue"


Incoming students live in an era where a primary threat of terrorism to Americans comes from domestic white supremacists, rather than from abroad. This is the first incoming college class in United States history to have witnessed the confederate flag displayed in the Capitol.

Featured Article:
Inside Higher Ed
"Condemnations of Capitol Rioting (and Trump) Continue"


Image of Mindset List founders

Created by Tom McBride and Ron Nief at Beloit College in 1998, the list was meant to reflect the world view of entering first year students—and to help faculty understand incoming classes—the list started with the members of the class of 2002, born in 1980. In the 20 years since, The Mindset List has been a valuable marker of social, economic, and cultural change for successive generations as they have progressed through American institutions of higher education.

Read More

Created by Tom McBride and Ron Nief at Beloit College in 1998, the list was meant to reflect the world view of entering first year students—and to help faculty understand incoming classes—the list started with the members of the class of 2002, born in 1980. In the 20 years since, The Mindset List has been a valuable marker of social, economic, and cultural change for successive generations as they have progressed through American institutions of higher education.

Read More

Read the Marist Mindset List for the College Class of 2024

Marked by 9/11 and COVID-19, this class is unique in every way.

Read the Marist Mindset List for the College Class of 2024 >

Read the Marist Mindset List for the College Class of 2023

Born in 2001 the incoming class of college students never shared the earth with Joey Ramone, George Harrison, Timothy McVeigh, or Ken Kesey.

Among their classmates could be Billie Eilish, Sasha Obama, or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s daughter Simone.

  1. Like Pearl Harbor for their grandparents, and the Kennedy assassination for their parents, 9/11 is an historical event. 
  2. Thumb, jump, and USB flash drives have always pushed floppy disks further into history.
  3. The primary use of a phone has always been to take pictures.
  4. The nation’s mantra has always been: “If you see something, say something.”
  5. The Tech Big Four--Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google -- are to them what the Big Three automakers were to their grandparents.
  6. Their smart pens may write and record faster than they can think.
  7. Nearly half of their generation is composed of people of color.
  8. When they pulled themselves up off the floor for the first time, they may have been hanging onto the folks’ brand-new Xbox.
  9. There have always been indecisive quadrennial debates regarding the future of the Electoral College.
  10. Oklahoma City has always had a national memorial at its center.
  11. Self-contained, battery-powered artificial hearts have always been ticking away.
  12. Because of Richard Reid’s explosive footwear at 30,000 feet, passengers have always had to take off their shoes to slide through security on the ground. 
  13. They are as non-judgmental about sexual orientation as their parents were about smoking pot. 
  14. They have outlived iTunes.
  15. Heinous, sexually-based offenses have always been investigated by the Special Victims Unit on Law and Order.
  16. The Mars Odyssey has always been checking out the water supply for their future visits to Mars.
  17. Snapchat has become their social media app of choice, thus relieving them of the dilemma of whether or not to friend Mom.    
  18. In an unprecedented move, European nations via NATO have always helped to defend the U.S. militarily.
  19. They may well not have a younger sibling, as the birth rate in the U.S. has been dropping since they were in grammar school.
  20. PayPal has always been an online option for purchasers.
  21. They have witnessed two African-American Secretaries of State, the election of a black President, Disney’s first black Princess, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
  22. As they crawled on the floor, TV headlines began crawling at the bottom of the TV screen. 
  23. “Pink slime” has always been a food additive.
  24. With flyovers, honor guards, and “God Bless America,” sporting events have always been marked by emphatic patriotism. 
  25. Only two-thirds of this generation identify as exclusively heterosexual.
  26. Segways have always been trying to revolutionize the way people move. 
  27. YouTube has become the video version of Wikipedia.
  28. There has always been an International Criminal Court, and the U.S. has never been a signatory.
  29. Newfoundland and Labrador has always been, officially, Newfoundland-and-Labrador.
  30. There has always been an American Taliban.
  31. By their sophomore year, their generation will constitute one-quarter of the U.S. population.
  32. Apple iPods have always been nostalgic.
  33. They have always been able to fly Jet Blue, but never Ted and Song.
  34. Quarterback Troy Aikman has always called the plays live from the press booth.
  35. It has always been illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving in New York State.
  36. Except for when he celebrated Jeopardy’s 35th anniversary, Alex Trebek has never had a moustache.
  37. Face recognition technology has always been used at public events
  38. Skilled DJs have transitioned into turntablists.
  39. The Apple Power Mac Cube has always been in a museum. 
  40. The year they were born, the top NBA draft pick came directly out of high school for the first time.
  41. They have always been concerned about catching the West Nile virus.
  42. There has always been a DisneySea in Tokyo.
  43. They have grown up with Big Data and ubiquitous algorithms that know what they want before they do.
  44. Most of them will rent, not buy, their textbooks. 
  45. They have probably all been “gaslighted” or “ghosted.”
  46. There have always been “smartwatches.”
  47. Their grandparents’ classic comics have evolved into graphic novels.
  48. They have grown up with a Patriot Act that has dramatically increased state surveillance to prevent terrorism.
  49. Defibrillators have always been so simple to use that they can be installed at home.
  50. Pittsburgh’s Steelers and Pirates have never played at Three Rivers Stadium.
  51. Congress has always banned human cloning completely and threatened arrest for offenders.
  52. At least one of the murderers of the four school girls in Birmingham, Ala. in 1963 has always been in prison.
  53. Monica and Chandler have always been married on Friends.
  54. Blackboards have never been dumb.
  55. A Catholic Pope has always visited a mosque.
  56. Cal Ripken, Jr., has always been retired.
  57. The U.S. has always been withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
  58. Euthanasia has always been legal in the Netherlands.
  59. Teams have always been engaged in an Amazing Race around the world.  
  60. Coke and Pepsi have always been competing in the sports hydration science marketplace.

Press Coverage

National Association of Plan Advisors

"The Class of 2024", September 15, 2020

University Business

"‘Marist Mindset’: 10 key issues shaping students’ worldview," September 9, 2020

Inside Higher Ed

"Mindset List Takes New Form," September 9, 2020

Chicago Tribune

"Column: Something to cry about: The rise of the surveillance state after 9/11," September 12, 2019

Spectrum News 1

"Marist College Mindset List reveals the world of Class of 2023," August 26, 2019

The Chronicle of Higher Education

"The ‘Mind-Set List,’ a Whimsical Reminder of Generational Change on Campuses, Gets a New Home," August 21, 2019

Inside Higher Ed

"Mind-Set List Moves to Marist," October 26, 2018

Mindset List Contributors

Andrew Alongi, Director of Marketing

Geoff Brackett, Executive Vice President

Elizabeth Clarke, Associate Librarian

Julia Fishman, Director of Media Relations

Moira Fitzgibbons, Professor of English

Sean Kaylor, Vice President, Enrollment, Marketing & Communication

Zion Klos, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science

Vanessa Lyn, Assistant Professor of Education

Tom McBride, Emeritus Professor of English, Beloit College, and Mindset List co-founder

Ron Nief, Emeritus Director of Public Relations, Beloit College, and Mindset List co-founder

Juris Pupcenoks, Associate Professor of Political Science

Leander Schaerlaeckens, Professional Lecturer

Martin Shaffer, Dean, School of Liberal Arts

Caitlin Weiner, Assistant Director, Marketing

Charles Westerberg, Professor of Sociology, Beloit College

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Want to leave us a comment on this year's Marist Mindset List, or suggest an item for next year's List? Send us an email at mindset@marist.edu.