Azusa Pacific University

“After being homeschooled for six years,” says Homeschooling Teen columnist Catherine Munoz, “My next step is to attend nursing school at Azusa Pacific University.”

She reports, “Azusa Pacific University is considered a homeschooler-friendly private Christian college. I LOVE it: took a tour of the school with my mom and my boyfriend. It is really exciting: this next chapter of education– attending a university will be different from my current homeschool approach. Now, I will be talking to professors, interacting with fellow students, taking tests, learning new study techniques and– best of all– come closer to realizing my dream of earning my nursing degree.”

Azusa Pacific University (APU) is one of the top Christian colleges in the nation and it was the first Bible college on the West Coast. The main campus is situated in the San Gabriel Valley, 26 miles northeast of Los Angeles, near Pasadena. The university also maintains seven off-site regional centers in Southern California and offers online degrees. Ranked as one of the nation’s best colleges by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review, APU holds regional accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The college was founded in 1899 as the Training School for Christian Workers, with classes starting on March 3, 1900 in Whittier, California. In 1939 the Training School became Pacific Bible College and began offering four-year degrees. In 1956, the name was changed to Azusa College. Azusa College merged in 1965 with Los Angeles Pacific College and became Azusa Pacific College, and Azusa Pacific College merged with Arlington College three years later. Upon its achievement of university status in 1981, the college changed its name to Azusa Pacific University.

During the 1990s, APU began offering not only undergraduate but also graduate degrees, and during that decade the university’s first three doctoral programs were awarded. Student enrollment doubled, and graduate programs quadrupled throughout the decade. In addition, the school began offering accelerated degree programs and non-degree granting training for working professionals. The university currently offers 53 undergraduate majors, 37 master’s degrees, 14 certificates, 21 credentials, and 8 doctoral programs.

The schools and colleges at APU are well-known for excellence in higher education among top Christian colleges and universities. 74% of full-time faculty holds doctorate, first professional, or other terminal degrees in their field. With over 5,000 students, APU’s undergraduate student body is the largest in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (although Indiana Wesleyan University has a larger total student body) and the second largest evangelical undergraduate student body in the U.S., behind only Liberty University. APU’s total student population is nearly 10,000 and yet the university still provides a low student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1.

APU emphasizes a commitment to partner with the local community, so a service-learning component is included in many courses where students are sent outside the classroom. The Neighborhood Wellness Center, for example, is a university-run clinic that brings student nursing services to the public, and the Azusa Reads Program enlists students to teach local children how to read. A unique off-campus academic alternative, the High Sierra Semester (formerly Great Works) lets students study classic Western art, music, and thought in the scenic setting of the Sierra Nevada mountains. APU also offers the Los Angeles Term, Azusa Oxford Program, the South Africa Semester, and more than 40 other national and international study opportunities.

On campus, APU students have the opportunity to form new relationships through common interests by joining various clubs and organizations. There are social clubs, service clubs, academic clubs, athletic clubs, intramural sports, music ensembles, theater productions, student publications, ethnic organizations, and ministry opportunities. In addition, an Outdoor Adventures program provides participants with recreational day trips, weekend trips, and special events that include rock climbing, hiking, bike tours, beachcombing, skiing, kayaking, canyoneering, geocaching, and canoeing.

APU is for students with a strong Christian faith and a dedication to spreading their faith once they graduate. The school’s mission statement reads: “Azusa Pacific University is an evangelical Christian community of disciples and scholars who seek to advance the work of God in the world through academic excellence in liberal arts and professional programs of higher education that encourage students to develop a Christian perspective of truth and life.” A strong, clear, unswervingly evangelical Christian worldview permeates the university and guides its activities. Applicants must show evidence of sympathetic appreciation for the standards and spirit of the university, and exhibit moral character in harmony with its purpose.

Newly-enrolled student Catherine Munoz says, “APU is generally known for being a relatively easy school to be accepted into [and] is actually very lenient in regards to homeschooled applicants.” According to the official APU website, admission for homeschool students is based on the completed application with emphasis on the student’s SAT or ACT scores. Homeschool graduates who don’t have an official high school transcript are not required to take a GED test or the California High School Proficiency Examination. If no transcript is available, the student will be sent a transcript evaluation form to be completed by the primary teacher. The transcript evaluation and academic reference may be completed by a parent if that individual was the primary teacher. In assessing the applicant’s potential for success, his or her academic capabilities as well as involvement in church, school, and community activities will be reviewed.

For more information about how Azusa Pacific University can help you reach your goals, go to

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