In 2003, while attending Drexel University, two students had the idea to create a website that would empower students through a self-organizing community. Today, TCW has evolved into a network of local communities at universities throughout the country.
The most salient aspect of each portal is the forum. At some schools, like Indiana University, Florida State University, and The Ohio State University, the forum on that school's CollegeWeb portal successfully competed against other school forums, and as a result, they have the most active users. At others, like Purdue University, the portal was not promoted well, and there are currently few people active on it.
In December 2004, a new feature was introduced to each portal: national forums. Now, students from any of website could communicate with students from any of the others, as long as they posted in the national forums; the old ones remained, however (now being called "local boards"), but many of the more active users on each of the portals spent most of their time in the national forums, and the local boards became less active.
In 2006, another programmer joined, and changes came to be implemented more quickly. Among them were the ability to create sticky threads (limited to moderators) and the ability for members of any of thecollegeweb portals to Private Message (PM) members of any other portal (up to three other portals plus the home one per PM), rather than just members of their own portals.
In 2006, TheCollegeWeb underwent a major upgrade, with new forum software replacing the aging ASP.NET codebase.
In October 2006, the site known as TheCollegeWeb 2.0 was officially launched. The new site was opened only to students of the University of Delaware and the revised layout ignited criticism from many users of TheCollegeWeb 1.0.
According to the site, the creators plan to expand the TheCollegeWeb 2.0 to other schools in the future.