^I think this is about right - the reputation stems basically from it being all-female. And, frankly, old-school snobishness.
I don't think it's easier to get in if you apply to Hildas - the admissions system should ensure that. (Well, it shouldnt be easier to get into the university. But if you apllied to Hildas you might be more likley to get into your college of choice than if you applied to somewhere more oversubscribed.)
I don't think we have a particuarly atypical ratio of private/state school people. But Ive spent approximately no time in other colleges, so I can't really compare.
Ive never quite understood the preoccupation with how far the colleges are from the centre. Hildas is one of the furthest out colleges, and its still only 15-20minutes walk to the Physics department, which is probably one of the farthest away. On bike, I imagine its more like 5 minutes. The town centre isnt that big - not as big as it looks on a map.
Besides, there are a few advantages to the location, apart from it being really pretty. Theres loads of useful shops nearby on Cowley road. Theres a new small sainsburys opening up on the roundabout, which will be dead handy. We don't have to worry about tourists, or too much noise. Most people when they have to live out (unless they're loaded and can afford north oxford) live out near Hildas in the Cowley road area. Im my year out, I found it really useful that College was a 5-10minute walk away, rather than the 20minutes+ walk it would have been if it was in the centre.
I really like it here. ( I won't go into jabering on about why, because Ive done it in loads of other posts and places, and I should be working, haha.)
Feel free to ask if yo uhave any specific questions