Press Releases

Mills College Announces New Admission Policy and College Pathway Partnership

Oakland, CA–January 20, 2016 Mills College is excited to announce two new initiatives with a goal to increase campus diversity and broaden access to Oakland high school graduates.

Effective January 1, 2016, Mills no longer requires students to submit Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) scores as part of the application criteria for admission. Mills joins nearly 200 other top-tier schools nationwide that have made standardized test scores optional, including venerable institutions such as Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and Smith College in Massachusetts.

A 2014 study found students enrolling at test-optional colleges who chose not to submit SAT and ACT scores were more likely to be students of color, students with economic need, or the first in their families to attend college. The study, “Defining Promise: Optional Standardized Testing Policies in American College and University Admissions,” looked at 123,000 students nationwide attending 33 universities and colleges. It found no statistical differences in either college grade point average (GPA) or graduation rates between students who submitted test scores and those who did not.

Students applying for enrollment to Mills in the fall of 2016 will have the option to submit test scores, but doing so is not a requirement. Mills will, however, continue a rigorous examination of all applicants. The Admissions Committee will continue to review each applicant’s academic performance as reflected in submitted transcripts, and will also examine other qualities such as intellectual curiosity, leadership, creativity, and civic engagement.

In addition to the new admission policy, Mills will join 11 other Northern California colleges and universities on January 28, 2016, to sign the Oakland Promise College Pathway Partnership. Oakland Promise is a collaboration between Libby Schaaf, mayor of Oakland; Antwan Wilson, superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District; the East Bay College Fund; and local university leaders. Its goal is to ensure that every Oakland child graduates high school with the expectations, resources, and support to complete college and be successful in the career of their choice.

Oakland Promise asks Mills to offer financial aid and mentoring support to help increase the percentage of Oakland high school students who graduate from college. Signatories to the agreement also pledge to collaborate on recruitment, college advising, and college visits, and to address issues related to placement testing.

“Since its founding in 1852, Mills has been committed to diversity and inclusivity,” said Mills College President Alecia DeCoudreaux. “While Mills is doing a good job enrolling students of color (51 percent of the undergraduate student body in the fall of 2015), we believe we can do better. By making standardized test scores optional, and by creating a pathway to college for our hometown high school graduates, we hope to further this proud legacy by making access to higher education more attainable.”

About Mills College
Located in Oakland, California, in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mills College is a nationally renowned independent liberal arts college for women with graduate programs for women and men. Ranked one of the top-tier regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report, Mills is also recognized as one of The Best 380 Colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. Since 1852, we’ve been empowering students to become creative, independent thinkers who take and inspire action. For more information, visit


Last Updated: 8/9/17