Grab your crystal ball and let’s take a peek into your future. You breeze through elementary and middle school. Your four years of high school are the time of your life. But what’s next?

Maybe you’ve prepared yourself for a journey to a college or university after you graduate from high school. You will be much older and independent, ready to move away from home to continue your education.

You pack up all your stuff and head off to a new city. It might even be really far away from your hometown. It will be an all-new adventure for you. Colleges and universities offer so many exciting opportunities for those ready to pursue them.

But you may be wondering about one small little detail. Where are you going to live? You’ve lived your whole life with your parents at home up until now. But now what? Where do you live at college?

Of course, colleges and universities are located in a wide variety of different types and sizes of cities and towns. There may be many different housing options available to you. If you’re like many first-year college students, though, you’ll be living with hundreds of other college students in a large building. What are we talking about? A dormitory, of course!

A dormitory — also called a residence hall or simply a “dorm” — is a large building divided up into many rooms where college students live, often with a roommate or two. Dorm rooms are usually small, with just enough room for a couple of beds, a couple of desks and maybe a few small pieces of furniture.

Unlike hotel rooms, most dorm rooms don’t have their own bathrooms (although some dorm rooms, called “suites,” may share a bathroom with another adjoining room). Each floor in a dorm will usually have one or two bathrooms that all the people living on that floor share.

Unlike apartments, most dorm rooms don’t have kitchens. Dorm residents usually eat together in a large cafeteria area in the building or another building nearby. You may find small appliances, such as toasters or microwave ovens, in dorm rooms, so that students can fix snacks without leaving their rooms.

College students who live in dorms often become close friends with the other people who live in the rooms close to them. Most dorms have common rooms on each floor where residents can gather together to chat, watch television or play games.

College students aren’t the only people who live in dormitories, though. Dorms are often used for short-term housing in many other situations. In the military, for example, personnel often stay in dorms during initial training at military bases.

Some large companies also house workers in dorms during initial training sessions. Younger students may also stay in dorms if they attend camps and programs at a college or university during the summer.

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    • We are so very glad you’re here, Manny! We bet you’ve had a great time at summer school, too! Even though today is your last day of summer school, we hope you’ll continue to Wonder with us all summer long! You can visit http://www.Wonderopolis.org/camp for lots of fun throughout the summer, which includes cool activities and ideas for using your awesome imagination! :)

  1. This is my last, but not least time to visit Wonderopolis. I think that Wonderopolis gives many good stuff, that I don’t even know. Thank You very much for sharing all kinds of stuff to the world. BTW I think this wonder of the day is cool, awesome.

    • WOOHOO, we’re so excited for you, Nira! We know you’ll come back to visit us here at Wonderopolis. We’ve had a great time WONDERing and learning with you, thanks for sharing your super comments! We hope to see you again soon, remember you can Wonder from anywhere! Visit us at http://www.wonderopolis.org/camp this summer for even more fantastic fun! :-)

    • It sure is interesting, Wonder Friend Abduboriy! We hope you’ll talk to some of your family members or neighbors who have attended college, or perhaps some of them are in college now! You can learn about their experience in the dormitory, how the food tastes, and what kinds of classes and activities they attend. We think it’s lots of fun to Wonder about what it will be like in the future, when you head off to college! :)

    • You’ve got it, Wonder Friend Eldin! We’re so happy to Wonder and learn with you! What has been your favorite Wonder so far? :)

  2. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Today is our last day to enjoy the wonders as a group. Summer School will culminate tomorrow with a field day. Our class has really enjoyed the different Wonders of the Day. Hopefully, my students will continue to read, watch and respond to the wonders occasionally this summer.

    Today’s wonder of the day helped spark some interesting conversation as I told my students about my adventures in the dorms at the University of Missouri- Columbia, MIZ…..

    We also discussed my son’s upcoming trek to college and all the experiences he will surely have there.

    Thanks for the fun summer!

    Mrs. Nixon and class

    • We’ve really enjoyed WONDERing with you and your class, Mrs. Nixon! It’s so great that summer school has allowed us to spend so much time together! We’ve really enjoyed reading your comments and learning cool new things with you. We are so proud of all of you!

      We hope you have a SUPER time at your field day tomorrow, too. You can always come back to visit us, we’ll be here all summer long! We’ve even got a virtual summer camp filled with fun activities and videos: http://www.wonderopolis.org/camp :-)

      We think today’s Wonder is perfect for you and your son! We hope he has a great dorm next school year! :)

    • Nice work, Ahmed! Thanks for sharing what you liked most about today’s Wonder! Do you know anyone who has stayed in a dorm room before? We Wonder what dorm rooms will look like when you attend college, Ahmed! :)

  3. Hi, well today is my last day on wonderopolis and I wanted to say goodbye. And when I grow up I’m going to go to college.

    • Thanks for stopping by to say hello (and goodbye), Jake! We are glad you have been WONDERing with us today and throughout summer school! Don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere this summer, so you can continue to visit us whenever you’d like! We are so excited that you are thinking about what college will be like when you grow up! What would you like to study in college? :)

  4. I have enjoyed what the wonder that you have gave me I am going to remember this website forever thanks for all the wonders of the day, goodbye have a safe summer.

  5. So today is our last day and I just wanted to say that I think it would be really fun to live in a dorm with some friends. But thanks for all of the interesting wonders and articles you have brought us and I am going to post the video up this Saturday on our way to Friday hopefully if my Internet isn’t down.

    • You are quite welcome, Alexis! We are so glad to have super Wonder Friends, including you! You have learned a lot from all our Wonders and we love your comments! Keep up the great work, have fun creating your video this weekend, and come back to visit us! We’ll be here all summer long! :)

  6. Goodbye I loved all of the wonders. I had great times learning more stuff. And I have a question why do you always put the same face when you reply?

    • Hi there, Oscar, thanks for your awesome comment! We sure have had fun WONDERing with you, too! What is your favorite fun fact you have learned at Wonderopolis?

      We like to end our comment with a smiley face– since we can’t see you, we want you to know we’re smiling at you, Wonder Friend! :)

  7. This is my last day of summer school and and I am so happy. I will still come to wonderopolis and this is Jon I just changed my name and I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about what is inside or body.

    • WOOHOO, thanks for sharing your comment, Robin! We are so glad that you’ll be visiting us again– we’ll be here all summer with lots of fun to share! Visit us at Camp What-A-Wonder at http://www.wonderopolis.org/camp!

      Thanks for sharing your prediction, too, Robin! It will be a journey through a part of our body! :)

  8. Hello and good-bye wonderopolis I enjoyed all the wonders you posted but this is the last day I’ll be visiting your site:( but I also enjoyed this wonder. :)

    • Hey there, Abduboriy! We hope you’ll come back to visit us when you hop on the computer, Wonder Friend! We have lots of fun things in store all summer long! :)

    • WOOHOO, we love your enthusiasm, Danny! Thanks for WONDERing with us and sharing your super comments! We look forward to WONDERing with you again soon! :)

  9. It is the last day of wonderopolis. My family has been to college for a long time. Maybe I will go to college someday.

    • Hi there, Brandon! We have had so much fun WONDERing with you this summer. We hope you’ll come back to visit us throughout the summer- we’ll be here with awesome Wonders to share!

      We are so glad you are thinking about college in the future- we Wonder what you’d like to study when you go to college? :)

  10. Where did dorms get there name and why? By the way this will possibly be the last time I look at wonderopolis. Have a good summer.

    • Great question, Rai man! We hope you’ll do some more WONDERing of your own about the origin of the word “dormitory”! Perhaps you and your family can Wonder about this together!

      Have a great summer, Wonder Friend, and come back to visit us! We have lots of fun in store all summer long! :)

  11. Sadly, I am not old enough to go to college. I have 7 more years till I’m there, but my mom is happy if I’m not in college yet, she will miss me.

    • That’s okay, Carlos, you’ve got lots of fun things to experience before you head to college! In 7 years you can do a whole lot, including learning cool new things and spending time with your family! We know how much your mom loves you and we know she will miss you lots when you leave for college. However, with technology, you can stay in touch with the help of phones and computers! In 7 years, there will be lots of cool technological advancements! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is a dormitory?
  • Who lives in dormitories?
  • Would you like to live in a dorm one day?

Wonder Gallery

Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Would you want to live in a dorm someday? Maybe you’ll get the chance! In the meantime, try out one or more of the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • Want to explore what dorms have looked like through the ages? Grab a friend or family member and jump online to browse through the photographs in Time’s feature called The Evolution of the College Dorm. Which dorm rooms appeal to you? Why? Do you look forward to living in a dorm one day? What are some of the pros and cons of dorm life?
  • If you have a college or university nearby, take a field trip to see a dorm up close. If you know a student there, you might even be able to get a tour of the inside of a dorm. Getting a taste of the college life now might give you all the inspiration you need to set a goal of going to college!
  • Up for a challenge? Design the dorm of the future! Put pencil to paper — and use a ruler if you have to! — and draw interior and exterior designs of what you think dormitories should look like in the future. For inspiration, think about what you like and what you would change about your current bedroom. Imagine what the people who live in dormitories would change if they could. Would they like more space? More privacy? A bathroom? A kitchen? Have fun coming up with an inventive new design for the dormitory of the future! 

Still Wondering

In EconEdLink’s You’re Going to College lesson, children will explore the costs and the benefits of going to college. They participate in a three-part game designed to help them understand the decisions associated with attending college and the benefits available to college graduates.

Test Your Knowledge

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day will take you on a trip through your veins and arteries!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.