College admissions is a competitive business with colleges competing for the smartest, richest, and otherwise most desirable frosh each year.  Administrators have come to realize that “extras” —  e.g., the quality of the gym, the luxuriousness of the living quarters, and the availability of extra-curriculars — now heavily influence the decision making of prospective students.  Among academics and administrators, this is called the “amenities arms race.”  A set of representative images can be found at a slide show about college dorms sent in by Dmitriy T.M. They nicely illustrate the proliferation.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.