FPU introduces online application, enhanced Internet admission efforts

Acceptance to Fresno Pacific University can be as close as the click of a mouse.

Applications for the undergraduate, graduate, professional development and language and culture studies are now on the university Web site. "All prospective students can apply and inquire on-line," said Efrain Tovar, electronic admission counselor for the college and manager of the new system.

There is also an academic guide with information on areas of study throughout the university. "Prospective students and alumni can find out more on the programs we offer," Tovar said. Profiles of faculty and staff are being added, and information will be accessible through a search feature on the main page.

The forms and guide are available through "buttons" on the main FPU Web site at www.fresno.edu. Prospective students may also go directly to the applications at www.fresno.edu/apply, the inquiry form at www.fresno.edu/inquire and the academic guide at www.fresno.edu/academicguide. All areas feature secure technology.

Success has come quickly. Within a week of unveiling the on-line application system September 18, a dozen applications were in process, Tovar said. "Obviously people are looking at our Web site because that is the only place we publicized the program for the graduate school and Center for Degree Completion," he said. Information on college applications was included in the most recent Axis magazine, which goes to high school students.

Tovar is quick to note that adding on-line access will not reduce paper publications, face-to-face events and other admission activities to reach those without Internet access. "We are aware of the digital divide," he said. "Especially here in the Central Valley where most of our students come from." All materials are available by calling 1-800-660-6089 or writing to college admissions, Fresno Pacific University, 1717 S. Chestnut Avenue, Fresno, 93702.

Those who apply on-line begin with a common application form, which they can fill out at their own pace. "The nice thing is that the application is broken down into sections. That allows users to take a break," Tovar said. Prospective students use their e-mail addresses as an identification and choose their own password.

Educators and other working professionals registering for continuing education through the Center for Professional Development may submit a credit card number to pay for their courses. They receive an e-mail confirmation of the transaction.

Graduate students are asked to pay by check, money order or credit card. "Then we process it like a regular application," said Vivian Galba, graduate admissions specialist. Letters are sent out if additional application information is needed, all materials are forwarded to the admissions committee and Galba sends letters of acceptance.

At the Center for Degree Completion staff members use information from the forms to follow up personally with students. The center is working to add materials specific to its program to the center's Web site. "We're excited about the change," said Charity Brown, admissions adviser.

On-line application has advantages for prospective students and the university. Research from the Council for Christian College and Universities shows that more and more students prefer to use the Web to search out universities and apply for classes. "Many prospective students today expect to find out about college using an electronic format," said Cary Templeton, FPU associate dean of enrollment services. There is also less room for error in admissions offices since counselors have the prospective students' e-mail address and communication is easier for both counselor and student. "In fact, the research indicated prospective students who communicated with college via e-mail found it to be a highly personal experience," Templeton said.

FPU is using the Web to do more than wait for prospective students to come to its site. The College Admissions Office launched an e-mail to several thousand prospective students. "Our ability to respond the a growing number of students electronically is a necessity in the modern world. Colleges across the country are scrambling to build e-channels that meet the growing demand," Templeton said.

The new system puts FPU at the forefront among similar schools. "We are ahead of the game," Tovar said.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations