Back-to-School: Who are our new college freshman?


We’re running a Back to School extravaganza right now, but one thing that I don’t know if we really addressed is: Who exactly is going back to school? Or, more accurately, who is going to college for the first time in a few weeks? (That’s who these Back to School things are usually for, freshman. If you’re going back odds are you know exactly what you need and what to expect.) What have today’s 18-year-olds experienced in the world, what are they about, and what do they expect from technology?

Beloit College puts together these little lists of “college mindsets,” and it answers many of the questions we just raised.

Some tech-related ones that stand out:

• They have never used a card catalog to find a book.

• They have been preparing for the arrival of HDTV all their lives.

• Cable television systems have always offered telephone service and vice versa.

• There has always been a Cartoon Network.

• They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen. (Note: Not if the Authors Guild has it their way, JKJK!)

• Amateur radio operators have never needed to know Morse code.

• There have always been flat screen televisions.

• CDs have never been sold in cardboard packaging.

• Migration of once independent media like radio, TV, videos and compact discs to the computer has never amazed them.

And by far the most fascinating thing:

• Salsa has always outsold ketchup.

Thankfully, this has already been addressed.