8.9 out of 10

Mills College

37.780420738925 -122.181684645174
Great for
  • Childcare
  • Clean & Green
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Parks & Recreation
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Cost of Living
  • Eating Out
  • Parking
  • Shopping Options
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters
  • Students


5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5

"Berkeley's Older Sister"

Like UC Berkeley, Mills College is one of the oldest schools in all of the Bay Area. Founded in 1852, the college is an all women’s college at the undergraduate level, although it has both male and female graduate students and faculty. Mills is a small college with only a total of about 1600 students, but it is one of the best regarded schools on the West Coast. One of the benefits of this smaller campus is that students get small classes with the student-instructor ratio of 11:1. When you compare this to a huge campus like UC Berkeley where the English Department alone has twice as many students and the typical lecture course has 60 students, you get a sense of the difference.

The fact that this is an all women’s school with such a long history also adds to the quality of the education at Mills. Discussing your typical feminist text in a classroom where everyone is female both allows the nuances of feminist positions to be explored while creating a generally more open discussion. (On the other hand, the lack of a male perspective from the undergraduate level may also limit certain perspectives, but this is the cost-benefit of this kind of a setting.) Of course, it is not all about feminism here—they have a graduate business program and a computer science major as well.

The campus itself is much like the Berkeley Campus. It has a number of older buildings slowly added onto the campus over time and in some ways expressing the history of campus itself. Unlike Berkeley, there is a stronger sense of theme amongst the buildings, with the Mission style predominating. The campus was a seminary when it was bought by the Mills’.

The area surrounding the campus is not the safest area in Oakland. Gang violence is an unfortunate fact of life in most of the surrounding neighborhoods. However, the campus does have its own security and night guards and there have not been any notable incidents on campus.

The campus has an art gallery; athletics facility that includes pools, tennis courts, etc.; botanic garden (the dorms have fragrant narcissi in front as I recall); a children’s school run by the teachers and graduate students from the graduate education program; a library, and multiple theaters including a Greek outdoor amphitheatre often used by the theater performance program.

On a personal note, I have personally known some of the women from Mills and I have found them to be committed and caring agents of change. A really wonderful, intimate campus.
  • Great Sisterly Environment
  • Great Facilities
  • Excellent Education
  • Expensive Tuition
  • Old Dorms
  • Dangerous Surrounding Neighborhoods
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters
  • Students

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