Who are the Millenials?
Millenials are those who were born between 1982 and 2002. (Coomes & DeBard, 2004)
Characteristics of Millenials
- Cooperative, team players
- Accepting of authority
- Tend to follow the rules
- Used to being supervised/watched (curfews, surveillance, coaches, teachers, parents, relatives, etc.)
- They think it’s a good thing to be smart and educated
- They are hopeful of the future
- They are accustomed to being told what the best decision is (instead of being asked to figure out the best decision)
(Howe & Strauss, 2002)
“A mystery to earlier generations, this child-proof age group is self-assured, stressed, and straight. Born into an era of the wanted and watched child, these techno wizards accept authority, follow the rules, crave structure, and are smarter than they might first appear. Eight out of ten think it’s cool to be smart.”
Self-Assured, Stressed, and Straight:
Millenial students and how they got that way
What does all this mean? What challenges do advisors face? How do Millenial characteristics impact advising?
- Students who are used to having others make decisions for them tend to avoid “owning” their decisions. Ultimately, they are responsible (but they often fail to really believe that). Example: My mom said to…
- We want to assist them in making their own decisions, but the students would often rather be told what to do. Example: Could you just pick a major for me and I’ll do it?
- We might tell the student something and the student wants to check with a parent first. Example: Student calls parent on the cell phone to run something by him/her.
- There are a lot of students that I should see for certain issues, but instead, the parent calls to attempt to handle the issue. Example: An advisee of mine may want to withdraw from a class and the decision is made without my consultation (or more importantly, the information that needs to be provided).
How can advisors assist students who may not feel ready to make their own decisions?
- Try providing structure for them. Tell students you want them to try to figure out their schedule on their own and then bring their notes to the next meeting, or that when you meet next, you would like them to be prepared to discuss what majors they have chosen (or are considering) and why.
- When working with Millenials, be sure to encourage them to get involved in something on campus. We know from research that co-curricular activities go hand in hand with classroom learning. Students can learn a lot about themselves and their interests outside the classroom.
From 2005 NACADA National Conference,
Jeannine Kranzow, Ph.D.,
Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, FL