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Early Start Program

Quick Navigation - Early Start Program

Overview

The Early Start Program is offered by the California State University (CSU) system for admitted first-time freshmen who need additional academic support and skills development in mathematics/quantitative reasoning and/or written communication based on CSU system-wide placement standards.

The goals of Early Start are to better prepare students for college and improve their opportunity to successfully complete their college degree. Therefore:

  • Participation in the Early Start Program is required for students needing skills development in written communication and/or math/quantitative reasoning.
  • Students who are required to take Early Start will be expected to enroll in a written communication course or a math/quantitative reasoning course (but not both unless they choose to do so) during the summer before the start of the fall term.
  • For other students, participation in the Early Start Program is strongly encouraged/recommended. 

A visit to the Early Start Program Page will tell you if you are exempt from, strongly encouraged/recommended or required to participate in the Early Start Program. You’ll find a link to the Early Start Program Page in the student Web portal of the CSU campus that admitted you. If admitted to California State University, Northridge (CSUN), please see How to Enroll on this page. 

If the Early Start Program Page indicates that Early Start is required or recommended in both written communication and math/quantitative reasoning, you should select the class option that will best prepare you for your academic career at CSUN. Students planning to major in any of the following STEM-based disciplines should seriously consider enrolling in Early Start Math (ESM):

  • Business and economics - These majors are not strictly STEM, but ESM is recommended.
  • Environmental and occupational health
  • Kinesiology exercise science
  • Science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) disciplines
  • Exploratory major if students are interested in any of the majors listed above

CSUN's Early Start math/quantitative reasoning (ESM) and written communication (ESW) courses provide students with an opportunity to improve their placement in the General Education Basic Skills section of GE Plan E, which may reduce time to degree completion.

Fall 2019 CSUN first-time freshmen who are required to participate based on the Early Start Program Page must enroll in Early Start Math (ESM) or Early Start Writing (ESW) and the corresponding "UNIV" supplemental instruction course section that is listed in Early Start Class Search. Please see Key Dates.

More information in addition to this page: 

Program Participation

Participation in Early Start is determined through multiple measures of your academic readiness for college-level General Education (GE) written communication and math/quantitative reasoning courses. Multiple measures include, but are not limited to, high school course work, GPA, and/or test scores (AP, IB, EAP/CAASPP, SAT, ACT).

To find out if you need to take CSU Early Start, log into the "Early Start Program Page," as explained at How to Enroll in Early Start. CSUN's Early Start Program Page will be available starting May 6, 2019. If absolutely necessary, CSUN students may choose another CSU campus to take an Early Start class through June 15, 11:59 pm. 

Students attending CSUN this fall who need an Early Start class must enroll in ESW by June 9 and ESM by June 16, no later than the day before the class begins. Students attending another CSU campus this fall must enroll in CSUN's ESM 196P + UNIV 60Z classes no later than June 23. See additional dates below.

Early Start Exemptions

The following first-time freshmen will not be required to participate in the CSUN Early Start Program:

  • Students who have already fulfilled college-level written communication and/or mathematics/quantitative reasoning requirements
  • Students who are deemed ready for college-level written communication and/or mathematics/quantitative reasoning without additional academic support
  • Students who are deemed conditionally ready for college-level courses based on EAP/CAASPP, SAT or ACT. Though not required, Early Start participation is strongly encouraged.
  • 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 MARC/MBRS Math and Language Arts Summer Enrichment Program
  • Students enrolled in CSUN's Student Athlete Summer Success Program
  • Students admitted to CSUN after May 31, 2019.

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

RESOURCES

Fees, Financial Aid & Refunds

Early Start courses offered at any of the CSU campuses will have the same fee rate. The current fee estimate is $191 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, 2019 and have an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,500 or less may be eligible for a fee waiver for any course meeting Early Start Program requirements. View your fee-waiver status on the Early Start Program Page.

Financial Aid
2019-2020 Federal & California Financial Aid application (FAFSA) period beginsOctober 1, 2018
Priority consideration given to those who file FAFSA byMarch 2, 2019
Document deadline for on-time Fall 2019 financial aidApril 29, 2019 

Find more CSUN Financial Aid Information and Urgent Dates.

Important: Students are expected to verify placement and exemptions on the Early Start Program Page before class(es) start. Refunds will not be granted for withdrawal from Early Start classes once they begin unless the student becomes exempt before May 20, 2019. In all other cases, summer session refund policies will apply. Please contact the Tseng College of Extended Learning with payment or refund questions.

Courses

Where to take Early Start:  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 more smoothly to your fall-term math and writing courses. 

If necessary, students may participate in the Early Start program offered at any other CSU campus. This may be appropriate for non-local students. Some CSU campuses are offering online course options as well.

Mode of Instruction:  All CSUN Early Start courses require in-person attendance; none are fully online. CSUN has found that students do better in fall classes when they take a 3-unit, face-to-face course with supplemental instruction. If face-to-face instruction is impossible, you will need to choose another CSU campus before June 15, 2019. 

Supplemental Instruction:  Each CSUN Early Start course requires concurrent enrollment in a 1-unit UNIV 60 or 61 Supplemental Instruction (SI) class. SI is a peer-facilitated study group class designed to help students master the challenging content material in their written communication or math/quantitative reasoning course. Check the class notes in Early Start Class Search to find out which section of UNIV 60 or 61 to enroll in. Helpful: Enroll in Early Start Classes Guide

CSUN freshmen can choose an Early Start course for "home" students based on their intended major:

  • If you are planning to major in a STEM-based field, you should take Early Start Math, ESM 196S + UNIV 60Z, Supplemental Instruction. The STEM-based majors are:
    • Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Kinesiology - Exercise Science option only
    • All other science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) majors
  • If you are a Business and Economics major who is required to take ESW and ESM, seriously consider taking ESM 196QR + UNIV 60Z. 
  • Students in Exploratory majors considering a STEM major should take ESM 196S + UNIV 60Z.
  • If you are majoring in a non-STEM field and need Early Start Math, enroll in the math/quantitative reasoning course ESM 196QR + UNIV 60Z, Supplemental Instruction.
  • If you need Early Start written communication, enroll in ESW 113A + UNIV 61ESW.

Freshmen admitted to another CSU campus this fall may enroll in "host" student classes at CSUN:

  • ESM 196P + UNIV 60Z hybrid class pairing that is offered approximately half online and half in person. (CSUN students may not enroll.)
  • ESW 113A + UNIV 61ESW face-to-face class pairing. (Home and host students may enroll.)

CSUN’s Early Start courses are listed below. Multiple sections of each course are offered. For detailed course descriptions, navigate as follows:

Math Courses

Title
ESM 196QR + UNIV 60Z
Dates
Jun 17 - Jul 29
Mode
Face-to-Face
Duration
3 hrs/day
Days
M-Th
Description
Only for those attending CSUN this fall who are not majoring in STEM-based fields (see list). Exploratory majors may enroll.
Units: 3 + 1
Fees: $766*
Title
ESM 196S + UNIV 60Z
Dates
Jun 17 - Jul 29
Mode
Face-to-Face
Duration
3 hrs/day
Days
M-Th
Description
Only for those attending CSUN this fall who are majoring in STEM-based fields (see list). Exploratory majors may enroll.
Units: 3 + 1
Fees: $766*
Title
ESM 196P + UNIV 60Z
Dates
Jun 24 - Aug 2
Mode
Hybrid
Duration
2 hrs once/week
Days
Monday
Description
Only for those attending another CSU campus this fall. All majors may enroll. Half online and half face-to-face instruction.
Units: 1 + 1
Fees: $384*

*The current fee estimate is $191 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. This estimate does not include the cost of campus parking and course instruction materials if any. Some students may qualify for a waiver of the per-semester-unit fee based on FAFSA.

Writing Courses

Title
ESW 113A + UNIV 61ESW
Dates
Jun 10 - Aug 2
Mode
Face-to-Face
Duration
2 hrs/day
Days
M, Tu & Th
Description
For those attending CSUN or any other CSU this fall. Enroll in the UNIV 61ESW section listed for the ESW 113A section you choose.
Units: 3 + 1
Fees: $766*

*The current fee estimate is $191 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. This estimate does not include the cost of campus parking and course instruction materials if any. Some students may qualify for a waiver of the per-semester-unit fee based on FAFSA.

How to Enroll in Early Start

To enroll in the CSU Early Start Program:

  1. Go to the Early Start Program Page link, located in the student Web Portal of the CSU campus that admitted you. If you've been admitted to CSUN, log into myNorthridge at www.csun.edu. On the "Home" tab, select the SOLAR Student Center icon in the Quick Links box, and then click the "Early Start Program" link.
  2. Review your Early Start Program Page to:
    —Find out if you need to participate in Early Start writing and/or math
    —Find out if you qualify for an Early Start fee waiver based on your FAFSA information
  3. Students admitted to CSUN:
    —Your location to take Early Start classes will default to CSUN on the Early Start Program Page. 
    —The "Enroll in Early Start Classes" button also displays. Enroll in CSUN Early Start classes starting May 6, 2019, but no later than June 9 for ESW classes or June 16 for ESM classes.
  4. Students admitted to another CSU campus:
    • Go to the Early Start Program Page in your home CSU campus student portal. You are strongly encouraged to take Early Start classes with your home CSU campus you will attend in the fall term.
    • If you cannot take Early Start math and/or writing classes classes at your home campus, select and confirm a different CSU campus where you will take Early Start classes. This action will initiate your access to enrollment in Early Start classes at the "host" campus.
    • Once you've selected and confirmed the host CSU campus, you will receive Early Start course enrollment information via email from the CSU campus you selected. Do not enroll in Early Start classes until you hear from the campus you selected.
    • If you selected CSUN, you will receive an "Activate Your CSUN Account" email and enrollment instructions 24 hours after completing the Early Start Program Page.
    • You may enroll in CSUN Early Start classes starting May 6, 2019. The last day to enroll is the day before the class begins (i.e., June 9 for ESW and June 23 for ESM).

FOR HELP, see How to Enroll in "Early Start" Classes at CSUN.

Key Dates

The chart below lists important dates for the Summer 2019 CSU Early Start Program at CSU, Northridge (CSUN) and for enrollment in the Fall 2019 semester.

Summer and Fall 2019 at CSUN
Last day to file Intent to Register for Fall 2019May 1, 2019
Earliest possible date to log into the Early Start Program PageMay 6
Earliest possible date to enroll in CSUN Early Start coursesMay 6
Last day to enroll in CSUN Early Start Writing coursesJune 9
CSUN Early Start Writing courses beginJune 10
Earliest possible date to register for Fall 2019 classes with your advisor *June 10
Last day to select the CSU campus location for your Early Start classJune 15
Last day to enroll in CSUN Early Start Math courses for "home" studentsJune 16
CSUN Early Start Math (ESM) courses for "home" students beginJune 17
Last day to enroll in CSUN Early Start Math (ESM) courses for "host" studentsJune 23
CSUN Early Start Math (ESM) courses for visiting "host" students beginJune 24
Send final official high school transcripts to CSUN for receipt byJuly 15
Deadline to complete CSUN Early Start coursesAugust 2

*Starting May 28, 2019, watch for an email from one of CSUN's academic advisement centers asking you to schedule an appointment for a freshman registration workshop with an advisor. Find contact information at Academic Advisement.