What College Students Don't Know

We can learn a lot from how the past saw the future--and imagining how the future will see us

David McNew / Getty

Every fall the professors at Beloit College publish their Mindset List, a dictionary of all the deeply ingrained cultural references that will make no sense to the bright-eyed students of the incoming class. It's a kind of time travel, to remind us how far we've come. This year's freshmen were typically born in 1991. That means, the authors explain, they have never used a card catalog to find a book; salsa has always outsold ketchup; women have always outnumbered men in college. There has always been blue Jell-O.

In 1991 we were fighting a war in Iraq, and still are; health...

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