Last month, The New York Times listed Mills as one of its “20 Most Overlooked Colleges” in the United States. Mills joined the ranks of such prestigious, though according to the article unnoticed, schools as Whitman College in Washington, Kalamazoo College in Michigan and Santa Clara University. Mills was the only single-sex institution on the list.
The New York Times listed the colleges and universities by region rather than ranking them, picking a few from each area of the United States and writing a short blurb about each one. Rather than focus on traditional college choices such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale or other famous schools, The New York Times chose to highlight the more unknown schools that also give top-tier educations.
“My view is that there is a very modest to zero correlation between general academic prestige and the quality of undergraduate experience available to students,” said Lee S. Schulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the article. “Students seeking a hidden gem are very wise.”
The article stressed that smaller institutions, with a lower student-professor ratio, are more able to assist students as they make their way through college. Rather than attend larger institutions with a well-known name, a smaller, lesser-known college could make all the difference in a student’s life.
“I think that this is an example of Mills being recognized as the fine institution it has always been,” said new director of Student Activities Courtney Young-Law.
Mills was listed as one of three colleges in California to consider attending; Pitzer College and Santa Clara University were the other two California schools mentioned. It was hailed for its diversity of race and age, with a third of undergraduates from minority groups and a quarter over the age of 23.
“As a person coming from a different age group from the average college freshman, Mills seemed like a really tolerant place of everyone’s opinions and that’s why I chose to come here,” said senior and resumer Lynn Burns.
The article also noted the number of “firsts” that Mills is known for, including the first bachelor’s degrees in the West given to women and the first computer science major at a women’s college.
Mills was also number one on the Princeton Review’s list of the “Top 10 Most Politically Liberal Colleges.” According to the article, “A pervasive opinion of Mills students is that if you aren’t a leftist-socialist-Nader voter or at least one of leftist leanings, you are often dismissed as someone of no consequence and possibly a ‘racist, classist, elitist’ by the student body.”