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
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Student Seclusion
Before the information superhighway, schools were built around massive libraries, like the 400-year-old Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, above, in Britain. Early dorms were imposing, monastic structures meant to separate students from the outside world, providing more privacy for classes and introspection. This concept of the Ivory Tower lasted for decades. "If you look at the dorms of the Harvard Yard, the windows and doors are all on the yard side," says Jonathan Zimmerman, director of the New York University's History of Education Program. "Basically, what you see from the outside is a wall."

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