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The cover of the Spring 2007 SF State Magazine features two penguins, heads bent together as they view their offspring on the ground below.

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Two computers, a handheld device, a phone -- and fun desk toys -- surround a smiling Voltaire Villanueva as he fields admissions questions electronically. Photo by Rena Buchgraber

Instant Answers from SF State

Five days a week, from 4 to 7 p.m., Voltaire Villanueva (B.A., '94) fields dozens of questions that flash across his computer screen. How hard is it to get into the nursing program? Why do I have to take the ELT but my friend doesn't? Did the University receive my transcripts? The fast-typing admissions counselor has answers at the ready.

Would-be students send messages by clicking a button on the University's new page on In the fall Villanueva led SF State in joining a small but growing number of colleges and universities that have an official presence on the popular social networking Web site. The pilot project is the latest way for prospective students to receive answers to most any SF State-related question -- instantly.

Unlike sending an e-mail or leaving a voice-mail message, instant messaging through the MySpace page provides immediate confirmation that a query has been received. In addition to Villanueva, three student employees who have a presence on the page also field questions and post blogs about campus life. The SF State MySpace page also includes a link to housing information.

E-mail may have been the most effective way to reach students five years ago, but Villanueva, who also works as a counselor at Cappuccino High School, finds that students' parents are the ones who use e-mail today. "Young people are much more likely to be found instant messaging on their computers and cell phones," he says. "Students may come from a family with economic hardships, but they still have iPods and cell phones -- and they're always using them."

To keep up with the changes in technology, SF State has also posted a free podcast version of its campus tour on iTunes, making a tour possible most anytime.

More than half of all Internet users ages 12 to 17 spend time on social networking Web sites, according to a new national survey of teenagers conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. This pattern may explain the positive response Villanueva receives when he visits local high schools. "When I tell them we have a MySpace page, they clap," he says.

To visit the University's MySpace page, go to


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Last modified June 19, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs and Publications