Here is how Marilee Jones, then director of admissions at MIT, described MIT students in 2001. Her last paragraph about ethics is ironic, considering that she was forced to resign in 2007 for having faked degrees on her resume. The part about "not as likely to study subjects for the pure pleasure of it" because they are so busy is troubling.
New Kids on the Block: Observations on the Newest Generation of MIT Students
by Marilee Jones
MIT Faculty Newsletter
September 2001


They are idealistically pragmatic.
Combining the idealism of their Boomer
parents and the pragmatism of the Gen
Xers, these students really want to make
the world a better place and, most
importantly, they have a plan.

• They are group centered. As the
population with the highest percentage
of members in day care from an early
age, they have learned good group skills,
how to lead and follow as circumstances
demand. They spend more time in groups
and group activities than their

• They have no problem with
authority. These students have been raised
in relative affluence in peacetime by
Boomer parents. Most of their free time is
spent in adult-supervised activities. They
have little urge to push back against adults.
In fact, they actually like adults. This is
shocking to both Boomers and Gen Xers
who still regard authority figures with
suspicion, but Matures find a certain
resonance with them.

• They are attracted to large social
movements, very much like their
Boomer parents, but look for ways to
make their contributions on a local level,
more like the Gen Xers. They are
expected (even required) to volunteer in
their communities, working side by side
with adults who teach them competence
and effectiveness. Consequently, they
know how to work the system and they
always have a Plan B. Many of our
students have already made significant
contributions to their communities while
still in high school.

• They are not as likely to study
subjects for the pure pleasure of it, not
as likely to focus on one thing, because
they are the busiest students in US
history. The majority of my audiences
this age seem to carry upwards from
eight ECAs in high school, in addition to
a stiff course load. (I wonder when these
teens actually sleep.) They have
essentially been trained to be generalists.
Consider the tension created when MIT
Mature, Boomer and Gen X faculty, who
are living their passion, teach Millennials,
who want to learn the material just well
enough to get a good grade so they can
move on to the other 17 activities they
have to master that day. This has the
makings of a classic generation gap.

• They desire instant gratification.
A member of the Financial Services
staff remarked recently that these kids
“have never heard a busy signal.” They
are used to surfing the Web and they
prefer Instant Messaging to the phone
for the sake of efficiency. (Why have a
conversation with just one friend when
you can speak with 8 simultaneously?)
With Boomer parents who demand top
service and strive to meet their childrens’
every need, these kids expect what they
want when they want it from all of the
adults in their lives.

• They may not see or accept the
consequences of their behavior. Adults
are always saving these kids. I see that
top high school students who fail exams
or miss deadlines due to outside
commitments are regularly protected by
their teachers and school personnel.
Excuses are made, adults blame
themselves rather than allow the student
to accept the painful consequences that
previous generations knew all too well.
Parents do most of the negotiating with
admissions offices now, regularly
weighing in on every piece of the process
on behalf of their busy children, taking
on an almost eerie quality of parent-as-applicant.
No surprise that students cheat
more often, drop activities if they can’t
win, cut corners. Their time is all carved
up, given away to multiple and
competing demands that please adults
while the adults in their lives race to
protect them from failure.


An article from the MIT student newspaper describes her commitment to "diversity and equity".
Marilee Jones Leaves Behind Complicated Legacy
By Marissa Vogt
February 5, 2008


Jones had worked in the Admissions Office since 1979 and became dean of admissions on Jan. 1, 1998. During her 28 years at MIT, admission to the Institute became increasingly more competitive and the incoming classes became more diverse. As the associate director of admissions, Jones was tasked with increasing the percentage of female students, which grew from 28 percent in 1985 to 42 percent in 1996.

Michael C. Behnke, director of admissions during that time, said in an e-mail that although Jones was his point person on female recruitment, the increase was the result of a team effort by the Admissions Office and was supported by MIT administrators, including then-President Paul E. Gray ’54. “Marilee has obviously brought some discredit on herself, and I would hate to see any of that reflected on the increase in female enrollment that happened while she was there,” Behnke said.

When Behnke left MIT to take a position at the University of Chicago, Jones was named interim director of admissions and a national search began to find Behnke’s replacement. “By conducting a serious national search, we wanted to ensure that any internal candidates would be measured against the highest standards,” Professor Rosalind H. Williams, dean of students and undergraduate education from 1995 to 2000, said in an e-mail.

The search committee, which included then-Chancellor Lawrence S. Bacow ’72 and other MIT administrators, eventually chose Jones for the job based on her familiarity with MIT and the admissions process and her commitment to diversity and equity, Williams said.