Marist Mindset List for the Class of 2025: Continuing to Examine What Defines First-Year College Students


Marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, this class is unique in every way.

September 7, 2021 — After successfully completing their senior year of high school, they began their college journey during a worldwide pandemic. For this year’s incoming group of first-year college students, going to college has required students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they’ve provided a medical or religious exemption.

"We're so thrilled about the second Marist Mindset List because it builds on the new direction we chose last year, but also digs deeper into the real issues that incoming students truly care about. It's a great touchstone to spark meaningful conversations between students, their professors, and even their parents," Tommy Zurhellen, Associate Professor of English, said.

The Class of 2025 has experienced multiple history-making world events, some of which have directly impacted their lives.

This year’s Marist Mindset List is a more concise and concentrated version of previous lists, focusing on the real issues incoming students truly care about, with a streamlined “top ten” motif. Moving from Beloit College to Marist, the list went through a transitional phase two years ago with the founding team from Beloit leading the effort on development with the support of Marist staff and faculty. Under the direction of Zurhellen, the list was a collaborative effort with Marist faculty from different disciplines with diverse backgrounds. Returning Mindset Collaborator Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, Assistant Professor of Art and Digital Media and newcomer, Dr. Vanessa Lynn, Assistant Professor Criminal Justice Department, who assisted with the development of the list last year, complete the Marist Mindset team.

"I am truly honored to be part of the Marist Mindset team," Lynn said. "Working on the list was a unique way to get to know incoming freshmen and understand the world they live in."

Lee echoes the Mindset’s sentiment on the incoming Freshman class’s struggle amid a global pandemic and the process of collecting and communicating this year's list. “The continuing global pandemic and virtual life online create a unique situation for the incoming Freshman class, and it was stimulating to represent their context in this year’s Mindset list.” Lee said.

This year’s list examines the meaning of poetry, veteran awareness, the COVID-19 pandemic, student success, the global impact of Gen Z, and more. All supporting materials are available at Marist Mindset List website

The Marist Mindset List For the Class of 2025

  1. 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.
  2. Although less than five percent of the Class of 2025 will be veterans, most colleges and universities are focusing more campus resources on supporting student veterans on campus.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Incoming students are expressing themselves creatively and patronizing the arts through non-fungible tokens (NFT).
  6. As part of Generation Z, the Class of 2025 expects to find empowering online shopping experiences from the new “internet of behavior.”
  7. 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.
  8. 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 demographically than previous cohorts.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

About the Mindset List

The Mindset List was created at Beloit College in 1998 to reflect the world view of entering first year students. Developed by Ron Nief, Director Emeritus of Public Affairs at Beloit College, and Beloit Professor Tom McBride, who later collaborated with Beloit Professor of Sociology Charles Westerberg, the list has garnered national and international media attention. In 2019, the list moved to Marist and became the Marist Mindset List. Read more here.

About Marist

Located on the banks of the historic Hudson River and at its Florence, Italy campus, Marist College is a comprehensive, independent institution grounded in the liberal arts. Its mission is to “help students develop the intellect, character, and skills required for enlightened, ethical, and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century.” Marist educates approximately 5,000 traditional-age undergraduate students and 1,200 adult and graduate students in 53 undergraduate majors and numerous graduate programs, including fully online MBA, MPA, MS, and MA degrees, and also Doctor of Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant programs. Marist is consistently ranked among the best colleges and universities in America by The Princeton Review (Colleges That Create Futures and The Best 386 Colleges), U.S. News & World Report (3rd Most Innovative School/North), Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (“Best College Values”), and others. Marist’s study abroad program is ranked #3 in the nation by the U.S. State Department and includes unique first-year programs in Florence and Dublin. Its 30-year Joint Study partnership with IBM has brought the College the kind of world-class technology platform typically found at leading research institutions. Marist’s academic centers of excellence include the nationally-known Marist Poll, Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership, Hudson River Valley Institute, Center for Sports Communication, and Institute for Data Center Professionals. The College also hosts the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library’s digital archives, making it one of only six colleges or universities in the nation affiliated with a presidential library.

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