5 Ways College Has Changed Since You Were In School

Tue, Aug 14, 2012

Home, Leisure, Lifestyle, Money, Technology

The “good old days” were certainly different than today. For better or worse, there have been many changes in culture and social organization and expectation. There is no better example of this than the differences in college life today and when you were in school. Here are five interesting ways it has changed.

Fashion and Dress Code

Although college students of the 1960s, ‘70s and early ‘80s were beginning to break away from traditional college dress codes, their definition “dressed down” is nowhere near what it is today. Bellbottoms, miniskirts and jersey knits may have seemed relaxed and unprofessional then, but those styles would be considered “dressed up” on today’s college campuses. Style is often sacrificed for comfort, and the most popular choice of outfit is a collegiate t-shirt paired with boot cut jeans or sweatpants. Some students are even guilty of wearing their PJs to class.


Today’s college campuses are growing and expanding in reaction to a larger enrolled student population. Campuses that used to be very independent from the towns where they are located are now situated right next to city streets and buildings. This has changed a lot of things, including student meal choices. In the past, students were usually limited to eating in the school cafeteria. Now, they can walk or ride their bikes down the street to a café or food franchise, like McDonald’s. Many universities also now partner with food chains and provide restaurant space on campus (for example, a fully-operating Starbucks cafe in the college library).


In the past, students were required to live in dormitories; girls in one dormitory, boys in another. Today, many college campuses house all students in the same building, and even allow two students of the opposite sex to share a room. Even more popular, though, is living off campus. Several college towns accommodate the needs of their student population by building student apartment communities near campus (and on the campus bus line) and by renting homes to larger groups of students. This provides more freedom and can help cut down on housing costs.

Textbooks and Supplies

Textbooks have been the most common tool for education for years. However, there are several new technologies now that are now eclipsing this heavy, expensive college staple. Online classes now give students the opportunity to read class material on their computers and complete assignment, quizzes and tests via computer software, without pencil and paper. A few textbook companies are beginning to provide material via digital textbook, which can be read in class with an e-reader, a computer tablet or a laptop. Although pencil, pen and paper are still used for note-taking (some students use their laptops for this, though), all reports and projects are usually completed on a computer. Handwritten papers are certainly a thing of the past.


Because students in the past often lived on campus, they rarely needed a car or other means of transportation. They could walk to class and never had a reason to leave campus, unless it was a holiday. As stated above, today’s college student often lives (and works) off campus. This means that many have their own vehicles to drive to and from different destinations. Some students utilize public transportation to get to school but still use their own car for other things. In fact, so many students drive their own cars to class; many universities have to set up a lottery for parking passes, because spaces are limited.

All of these changes have their respective benefits and drawbacks. There is one thing for sure, though; no matter what the generation, college is one of the most memorable moments of life and should be enjoyed and cherished forever.

A freelance writer and blogging extraordinaire for seven years, Alvina Lopez now mainly contributes her expertise about online colleges to accreditedonlinecolleges.com. Her ultimate goal is to help future students discover their potential by enrolling in the right program for them. She also writes about trends in education, personal finance and sustainable living. She loves getting feedback from her readers at alvina.lopez@gmail.com.


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