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November 10, 1997

November is 'Internet application month' at UC

Pathways logo from UC Office of the President's Web page

High school seniors and prospective transfer students anywhere in the world can now apply directly over the Internet for admission to the University of California.

Admissions officials estimate that at least 10 percent of the 72,000 applications UC expects to receive during the 30-day filing period that traditionally begins Nov. 1 will be from students who file electronically using Pathways, UC's online undergraduate admission information and application network.

More than 8,000 electronic applications have been started systemwide since the application form was made available on the Pathways Web site in mid-September, said J. Michael Thompson, UCSC's associate vice chancellor for enrollment management and director of admissions. It's unknown at this point how many of the applications are for admission to UCSC, he said. When complete, the application forms are sent to a central processor and won't be released to the campuses until December.

"We're excited to be at the next step in the rollout of the Pathways project," said Thompson. "Although we anticipate that the vast majority of the applications we receive this year will be filed in a traditional manner, via paper, we're excited that this new avenue has been opened up to prospective students around the world."

Pathways is quickly becoming one of UC's most frequently visited Web sites, generating 32,000 "hits" since last June.

Dennis Galligani, UC assistant vice president for student academic services, says Pathways' popularity "demonstrates the willingness of students to embrace new technology and use it for their benefit."

"Pathways provides students access to university information when they want it," he added. "The information is available 24 hours a day so that night-owl or early-morning students can work on their applications and personal essays at their convenience."

Pathways is more than a Web site enabling students to file electronic admission applications. It is a place where students, parents, counselors, and anyone else can make cyberspace visits to each of UC's nine campuses, learn about financial aid, student housing, faculty, courses, even extracurricular activities--the sort of information once available only through campus catalogs and brochures but now conveniently and instantaneously accessed via the World Wide Web.

UCSC's own admissions page is accessible from the Pathways page. At the UCSC site, students and parents can talk via e-mail to staff, students, and alumni in "chat rooms" and "discussion forums," or receive information and advice from UCSC professionals on everything from admissions deadlines to housing options. These tools are part of "High-Tech for High Touch," a Student Affairs campaign launched last year.

"Pathways provides an opportunity for prospective students and their families to join together and work on an application or learn about the campuses," said Thompson.

Coordinated by the UC Office of the President in cooperation with the eight general campuses, Pathways provides a direct link via the Internet between applicants and the university. Through the use of electronic data interchange, Pathways collects grades and test scores, students' essays, and other information used to determine admission. Pathways incorporates the latest security measures to protect the integrity of student information and records.

In addition, receiving information electronically will streamline the university's admissions processes and reduce the paperwork generated by the publication of more than 200,000 application brochures and the filing of nearly 500,000 sheets of paper by students seeking admission each year in the future. Pathways also provides UC with the ability to update if necessary on a daily basis information on admissions and financial aid.

"Because college catalogs are printed many months ahead of the application period, there is bound to be information that is outdated even before it reaches students and counselors," said Carla Ferri, UC director for undergraduate admissions. "That won't happen with Pathways because the materials can be updated and renewed whenever necessary."

Pathways uses client-server technology combined with an easy-to-use interface to assist students, parents, and counselors in managing applications. Under development for the last two years, Pathways was first tested in fall 1995 with students from six high schools and community colleges and was extended in fall 1996 to students from 58 high schools and colleges throughout California before this year's full-scale implementation.

UCSC worked with 40 of these pilot schools last year, providing user support for students and counselors and feedback to UCOP about how Pathways functioned.

Last year 71,996 high school seniors and transfer students applied for UC admission during filing period, 300 of them under the extended test phase of Pathways. Students filing electronically this year will pay the same $40 per campus application fee as students filing on paper and have the option of paying the fee by credit card.

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