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Early Start Program

Cal State Northridge Welcomes You to Early Start

The California State University (CSU) system recently enacted a policy known as "Early Start," requiring incoming first-time freshmen who do not demonstrate readiness for college-level math and/or writing to begin remediation during the summer before enrolling in the CSU. The goals of Early Start are to better prepare students in math and writing before their first semester and thereby improve their chances of completing a college degree.

Unless exempt, you must attend the CSU Early Start Program in summer 2014 in order to enroll in fall 2014 classes at your destination campus (i.e., the campus you will attend in the fall term). Learn more about the CSU system-wide program and find a course list at CSU Success.

Program Participation

Your test scores on the English Placement Test (EPT) and/or the Entry Level Mathematics Test (ELM) will determine whether or not you need to participate in the CSU Early Start Program:

  • Writing: You must participate in Early Start if your EPT score is less than 147.
  • Math: You must participate in Early Start if your ELM score is less than 50.

Students needing remediation will be required to address writing or math or both subject areas by enrolling in the Early Start Program (see exemptions below).

If you have been admitted to Cal State Northridge (CSUN), you can view your EPT/ELM test scores by logging into myNorthridge Portal and viewing My Checklist.  Check your CSUN email box regularly for important messages.



To find out if you need to take CSU Early Start, log into the CSU Smart Page as explained at How to Enroll in Early Start. The CSU Smart Page will be available starting April 8, 2014.


Early Start Exemptions

The following students will not be required to participate in the Northridge Early Start Program:

  • Students who are exempt from the EPT/ELM tests
    See EPT exemptions  or  ELM exemptions.
  • Students deemed conditionally exempt in math based on their Early Assessment Program (EAP) are not required to take Early Start Math
  • Students who are participating in the EAP English Conditionally Exempt/Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) pilot are not required to take Early Start Writing
  • International students
  • Residents of other states
  • Students participating in the CSUN EOP Summer Bridge program
  • Students who qualify for admission through the CSUN EOP Program
  • Students enrolled in CSUN's Statway program (Math only)
  • Students enrolled in CSUN's MARC/MBRS Math and Language Arts Summer Enrichment Program
  • Students enrolled in CSUN's Student Athlete Summer Success Program
  • Students admitted to CSUN after July 31, 2014

Services for Students with Disabilities: Students who believe they should be exempted from the Early Start requirement on the basis of a disability need to contact Cal State Northridge Disabilities Resources and Educational Services (DRES) or the National Center on Deafness (NCOD).

Fees and Financial Aid

Early Start courses offered at any of the CSU campuses will have the same fee rate. The current fee estimate is $182 per semester unit and is subject to change based on approved fee increases. An additional campus fee of $2.00 ($1 each for Health Facilities and Student Union) at any CSU campus is also required. Campus parking and course instruction materials may also be charged.

Early Start fee waivers will be available for those demonstrating need. California residents who apply for financial aid by March 2, 2014 and have an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,000 or less may be eligible for a fee waiver for any course meeting Early Start Program requirements.

Financial Aid
2014-2015 Federal and California Financial Aid application period beginsJanuary 1, 2014
Priority consideration given to those who file FAFSA byMarch 2, 2014
Document deadline for on-time Fall 2014 financial aidJune 2, 2014

Find more CSUN Financial Aid Information.


If at all possible, you are strongly encouraged to complete the Early Start Program with the CSU campus you'll attend in the fall. By taking Early Start classes at your destination campus, you'll meet professors and other students, connect to the campus community, and transition smoothly to your fall term math and writing instruction.

  1. CSUN’s Early Start program consists of online writing courses, and online and face-to-face math course options. All writing courses offer a 1-unit, 3-week intensive learning experience. Math options include either a 1-unit course lasting 9, 6 or 3 weeks; or a 3-unit course lasting 6 weeks. The earliest writing and math courses begin June 9, and the last courses end August 1, 2014.

    Look up CSU Early Start courses and dates
  2. Students may also participate in the Early Start program offered at any other CSU campus. This may be appropriate for non-local students. Some CSU campuses are planning to offer online course options as well.

How to Enroll in Early Start

To enroll in the CSU Early Start Program:

  1. Take the EPT/ELM tests no later than the May 3 , 2014 test date. Because demand is heavy and seating is limited, we recommend signing up for an earlier test date. Please see:

    EPT/ELM test dates  AND  EPT/ELM test registration
  2. Go to the CSU Smart Page link, located in the student Web Portal of the CSU campus to which you've been admitted. If you've been admitted to CSUN, log into myNorthridge at, locate My Checklist and select the CSU Smart Page link.
  3. Review your CSU Smart Page to:
    —Find out if you need to participate in Early Start
    —Find out if you qualify for an Early Start fee waiver based on your FAFSA information
    Indicate the location where you will take Early Start math and/or writing classes. You are strongly encouraged to take Early Start classes with the CSU campus you will attend in in the fall term.

    Note: CSUN students must declare their plans to fulfill the Early Start math and/or writing remediation requirements using the CSU Smart Page no later than July 15, 2014.
  4. Once you've completed the CSU Smart Page, you will receive Early Start course enrollment information from the CSU campus you selected. Be sure to complete the CSU Smart Page before enrolling in Early Start classes.
  5. If you plan to take Early Start at CSUN, you may enroll in classes starting May 12, 2014. Please enroll no later than July 9. After July 9, it is unlikely that CSUN will be able to accommodate your enrollment request.

For help, see the How To Guide Enroll in "Early Start" at Cal State Northridge.

Key Dates

The chart below lists important dates for the Summer 2014 CSU Early Start Program at Cal State Northridge (CSUN) and for enrollment in the Fall 2014 semester.

Summer and Fall 2014 at CSUN
Earliest possible date to register in Fall 2014 classes with your advisor.*April 8, 2014
Earliest possible date to log into the CSU Smart PageApril 8
Last day to file Intent to Register for Fall 2014May 1
Last day to take EPT/ELM tests **May 3
Earliest possible date to enroll in CSUN Early Start coursesMay 12
First CSUN Early Start math and writing courses beginJune 9
EPT/ELM scores received by CSUNJune 23
Recommended last day to enroll in Early Start courses at CSUNJuly 9
Deadline to complete the CSU Smart PageJuly 15
Deadline to complete CSUN Early Start coursesAugust 1
Send final official high school transcript to CSUN for receipt byAugust 15

Make an appointment with an academic advisor in the College of your major or ARC/EOP if undecided. See Academic Advisement.

**Because of heavy demand and limited seating, you should sign up for the EPT/ELM tests much earlier than the May deadline. View earlier test dates at English Placement Test (EPT) and Entry Level Math Test (ELM).