The Evolution of the College Dorm

The Evolution of the College Dorm From the monastic rooms of the 1950s to today's luxury residence halls, TIME examines the ever-changing ways that students live
Sal Dimarco Jr. / Time Life Pictures / Getty

Old Meets New
The cinder-block dorms of the 1950s were ill-equipped to handle the computer revolution of the 1980s. Re-wiring buildings became an expensive and drawn-out task, as did equipping their residents. Of today's college students, writer Nicholas Carr says, "Facebook is the dorm; Wikipedia is the library; and Craigslist is the mall." Here, a freshman at Drexel University shows off a gift from her alma mater; in 1985, the school issued each incoming student a new Microsoft computer. In 2004, Duke University spent half a million to greet its freshmen with iPods. Many schools now require students to purchase computers or laptops before the school year begins.

Get the Latest Photos from
Get TIME photos and pictures of the week delivered directly to your inbox.