VP of Student Life speaks on millennial generation

April 22, 2013 | 11 a.m.

Faculty delve into the minds of the students in their classrooms

News | Mary Polding for The Clarion

VP of Student Life speaks on millennial generation

Schulze presented findings from "Millennials Go To College," along with her own insights, to about 30 faculty and staff members on March 28. | Photo for The Clarion by Erin Gallagher

Last week Bethel faculty had the pleasure of attending a talk by Edee Schulze, vice president of Student Life, on characteristics of the millennial generation. The talk was aimed at providing insights into the different behaviors of the current student population to better equip faculty and provide stronger understanding. The gasps in the room after Schulze declared that millennials have lived their entire lives without the Soviet Union made it clear just how different the student body may be from the faculty teaching it. 

The following is a brief synopsis of the talk, highlighting the top six characteristics typical of millennials. Please, keep in mind that of course these are not true of every person within the age group, but a representation on a national level.

We are/think we are:


This is the characteristic most often translated into entitlement. As a whole, we grew up with parents who desired for everyone to be winners, creating a different approach to winning and competition. This mindset, combined with the market that we have grown up in, creates a great desire in us for prompt feedback. With new technologies emerging as we have grown up, businesses have sought to grab our attention and figure out how best to target us. We expect more attention and very quick feedback, just like the marketplace has provided.


Over 60 percent of our parents confess that their number one concern for us growing up was safety. We have been surrounded by highly regulated environments, and two-thirds of millennials surveyed express the sentiment that “you can never be too careful.” This aspect does not factor into our desire for self-expression.


We are not only confident in our ability to take on a challenge, but in our future success as well. Nearly 85 percent of millennials believe that the next Bill Gates will come out of their generation, 66 percent believe that they will personally know that person and 24 percent think they will actually be that person. We have optimism like no other, and we don’t think change is out of reach.


This may surprise some, as many have criticized technology and our lifestyles as being highly individualistic. But behind our zoning into various media channels is a desire to be connected. We are constantly seeking interaction – perhaps the reason we are often assigned group projects in class.


According to research presented, this characteristic likely correlates with our safe but optimistic mindset, as we have a high respect for one another. We are the most diverse generation and are proud to not carry some of the scars of those before us, though we have our own mishaps to face. Millennials as a whole are also taking their time to get married – despite the patterns we may see at Bethel.


Millennials may have high expectations of the services around them but rarely cut themselves a break. College students today are considered the busiest age group in the world and spend the least amount of the week in unstructured, free time. There is constantly something to be done, whether that is to continue to meet the need of connection, or to pursue our dreams of success.

Agree or disagree with these results? Send in your feedback!


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