Current Students

Early Start Guide

* * * Summer Early Start 2021 * * *

The Summer 2021 Early Start Program for first-time freshmen admitted to the Fall 2021 semester will be offered this year. Please check your CSUN email account for updates in coming weeks and months. If you haven’t already, activate your CSUN email and myNorthridge Portal account following the steps at CSUN User ID and Password.

 This is a tutorial only. No log in is required.


The California State University (CSU) Early Start Program is for 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.

Incoming freshmen who are required to take Early Start are expected to enroll in a math/quantitative reasoning course or a written communication course (but not both unless they choose to do so) during the summer before their first fall term. For some students, participation in the Early Start Program is strongly recommended. Others may be exempt.

If you are a first-time freshman, use this guide to learn how to navigate to the 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
  • Enroll in Early Start classes at CSUN

For dates, fees, exemptions and more, visit CSUN Early Start Program Overview.

If you are a first-time freshman, take these steps:

  1. Find out if you are required, recommended or not required to participate in the Early Start Program by logging into the student Web portal of the campus you will attend in the fall and reviewing the Early Start Program Page, where you will also learn if you are eligible for an Early Start fee waiver.
  2. If your participation is required or recommended, note the location where you will take Early Start classes. If possible, choose the campus you'll attend this fall. If you will attend CSUN, the Early Start location defaults to CSUN.
  3. If Early Start is required, register for at least one Early Start class with the campus you have chosen.
  4. If you selected CSUN and are not eligible for a fee waiver, pay fees for CSUN Early Start classes online within two (2) hours of registration.

Step 1

First, find out if you need to participate in Early Start and, if so, whether you're eligible for a fee waiver.

Go to the CSUN home page at and:

If you will attend another CSU campus in the fall term, log into the student portal of that campus to locate the Early Start Program Page.

CSUN home page with portal login box open

Step 2

Your myNorthridge Portal "Applicant" page displays.

  1. Select the Home tab. 
  2. In the Quick Links box, select the SOLAR Student Center icon.

 Portal Home tab, Quick Links box and Student Center link

Step 3

The SOLAR Student Center displays. 

In the "Academics" section, select the Early Start Program link.

Student Center has 3 sections: Academics, Finances, and Personal Information

Step 4

The Early Start Program Page displays. On this page:

  1. Find out if you are required to participate in Early Start Math (ESM), Early Start Writing (ESW), or both. Click the links in each box for an overview of CSUN's Early Start classes.
    • If you need both ESM and ESW and you will take just one class, you may opt out of ESW only.
    • To take ESM only, check the ESW Opt Out box.
  1. Review the school location to take Early Start class(es). CSUN is pre-selected for you.
    • If you must change the location (not recommended), choose a different CSU campus from the School drop-down menu. Click the first link on the page to view Early Start courses offered at all CSU campuses. Please read "Location Notes" below.
  1. Note whether you qualify for a course fee waiver based on your Financial Aid (FAFSA) application. 

Important:  The last day to change your Early Start location selections is June 15, 2019.


Students admitted to CSUN:

  • CSUN is your Early Start location by default. You may enroll in CSUN Early Start class(es) immediately!  Click the Enroll in Early Start Program button.  Skip to Step 7 below.
  • If you opted out of ESW or changed the school location, click the Confirm Early Start Selection(s) button. Continue to Step 5 below.

Students admitted to another CSU campus: On the Early Start Program Page in your home-campus student portal, select the location where you will take Early Start class(es) if not your home campus. Then click the Confirm Early Start Selection(s) button. The campus you selected will email enrollment instructions to you. If you selected CSUN, skip to Step 6 below.

Early Start Program Page showing student status and selections

Step 5

Note: Steps 5 and 6 are required only if you are opting out of Early Start Writing (ESW) at CSUN and/or changing the location of your Early Start class from CSUN to another CSU campus (not recommended).

  1. The Confirm Selections page verifies the location you selected to participate in Early Start.
  2. Review the information. Click Cancel to go back or Confirm Early Start Selection(s) to proceed.

Your selections are restated in the English and Math sections

Step 6

The Final Confirmation page repeats your selections and reminds you to watch for an email with Early Start enrollment information.

  • If you will take Early Start at CSUN but not attend our campus this fall, watch for an "Activate Your CSUN Account" email that includes your user ID and instructions to set your password to log into myNorthridge Portal. You will receive the email 24 hours after completing your Early Start Program Page.
  • If you chose a different CSU for Early Start, that campus will contact you with enrollment instructions.
  • For accommodations for students with disabilities taking Early Start at CSUN, select the "click here" link.

Print the "final confirmation" page for your records.  

Select the Return to Early Start Program Page button to find the Enroll in Early Start Classes button.

 The final confirmation page provides instructions

Step 7

On the Early Start Program Page, select the Enroll in Early Start Program button.

NOTE: You may enroll in an Early Start class as soon as you see the “Enroll in Early Start” button.

  • CSUN students will see the button immediately.
  • Students from other CSU campuses will see the button after they activate their CSUN account, log into myNorthridge Portal, and navigate to the Early Start Program Page (see Steps 1-3 above).

The Enroll in Early Start button is at the bottom of the page

Step 8

The Student Fee Payment Notice displays.

  • To continue, read and accept the Statement of Financial Responsibility.
  • If you are not eligible for the Early Start fee waiver, your Early Start fees are due within two (2) hours of your enrollment in classes.
  • If you agree, click the button "I have read and understand the above statement."

Please direct questions about Early Start fee payment to the CSUN Tseng College (extension).

Student Payment Notice and Statement of Financial Responsibility

Step 9

A pop-up window confirms whether you are eligible for a fee waiver based on your financial aid application. (Both "eligible" and "not eligible" messages are shown below as examples.)

If you are not eligible, you are reminded to pay for Early Start classes within 2 hours of enrolling.

Click OK to proceed. 

A pop-up window confirms eligibility for the financial aid waiver or not

Step 10

The Select Term page displays.

  • Select the Summer Term radio bullet.
  • Click Continue.

Summer Term 2019 radio bullet is selected

Step 11

The Select Classes to Add page displays, including your summer term enrollment shopping cart.

There are two options to search for Early Start classes:

  • Look up a single class section by its 5-digit class number
  • Look up all sections of a course with Class search

Click the class Search button.

Enrollment shopping cart and class search button

Step 12

The Enter Search Criteria page displays.

  1. From the “Subject” drop-down menu, select Early Start Math (ESM) or Early Start Writing (ESW). (You’ll pick up the University class later.)
  2. Make sure the “Show Open Classes Only” box is checked.


  • If you are required and/or recommended to take ESM and ESW, both options will display in the drop-down menu. Select the subject you wish to take.
  • If you are exempt from or not required to take ESM or ESW, the subject will not display.

Let's select Early Start Math (ESM). Click the Search button.

Class Search subject drop-down menu shows ESM, ESW and University options

Step 13

The Search Results page displays all open sections of ESM 196QR – Stretch Quantitative Reasoning.

  • Review the class meeting days and times to find a section that fits into your schedule, section 01 for example.
  • Note the 5-digit class number of the section you have selected, in this example 10975.

Click the Select button for section 01, class number 10975.

Note:  Early Start Class Search only displays ESM/ESW classes that match your academic placement category, your major (STEM or non-STEM*), and your student group (i.e., students who will attend CSUN this fall or another CSU campus).  

*STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering or Math majors

 Nine sections of ESM 196QR with meeting days, times, dates, and room

Step 14

The Enrollment Preferences page for ESM 196QR-01 displays.

Important!  Review the details on this page carefully.

  • Enrollment Information:  ESM 196QR is for students majoring in “non-STEM” fields who will attend CSUN this fall (“DEST" = destination).
  • Class Notes: 
    • The concurrent enrollment note explains that you must enroll in ESM 196QR section 01, class number 10975 and UNIV 60Z, section 01, class number 11015 at the same time. They are corequisites. 
    • The University (UNIV) 60Z Supplemental Instruction (SI) note describes this group-study lab course and provides contact information for the Learning Resource Center (LRC).
  1. Write down the UNIV 60Z section 01 class number 11015. You'll need it later.
  2. Click the Next button.

Class Notes identify the 5-digit class number for corequisite UNIV 60Z section

Step 15

The Select Classes to Add page displays again. 

Congratulations! You’ve placed ESM 196QR (10975) into your shopping cart.  But…you must also add the corequisite UNIV 60Z (11015) to your cart before you can finish enrolling.

  1. In the Enter Class Nbr box, type the class number “11015.”
  2. Click the Enter button.

Search for UNIV 60Z by its 5-digit class number

Step 16

The Enrollment Preferences page for UNIV 60Z section 01 (11015) displays.

Review the Class Notes to confirm that you have the right pairing of ESM 196QR (10975) + UNIV 60Z (11015).

If satisfied, click the Next button.

UNIV 60Z Class Notes confirm the matching ESM 196QR 5-digit section number

Step 17

Back on the Select Classes to Add page, UNIV 60Z-01 (11015) has been added to your cart. With both corequisite classes in your cart, you can finish enrolling.

Click Proceed to Step 2 of 3.

Both ESM 196QR and UNIV 60Z appear in your shopping cart

Step 18

The Confirm Classes page displays. Review your selections.

  • To exit without adding, click Cancel
  • To return to your shopping cart, click Previous.
  • To process your enrollment request, click Finish Enrolling.

Review selections and submit your cart to finish enrolling

Step 19

A pop-up window reminds you of your eligibility for the financial aid fee waiver (shown in Step 9 above), followed by another pop-up that alerts you to the 2-hour time limit to pay for your Early Start classes.

  • If you did not apply for financial aid and/or you do not qualify for the Early Start fee waiver, you may be disenrolled* from some or all of your classes if you do not pay on time.
  • If you are eligible for the Early Start fee waiver, you can take the classes at no cost to you. You are still responsible for purchasing course instruction materials and parking if any.

*Disenrollment means that your class enrollments are cancelled. Contact the Tseng College (extension) for assistance.

Click the OK button.

Pop-up window with 2-hour time limit highlighted

Step 20

The View Results page displays errors (red X) or confirms success (green check mark) for your enrollment request.

If errors are found:

  1. Review the error message. In this example, ESM 196QR cannot be added because the student might not have put the corequisite class UNIV 60Z into their shopping cart before enrolling.
  2. Print or take a screen shot of the error message (optional) to discuss with faculty or staff.
  3. To go back and add UNIV 60Z to your cart, click Add Another Class.

Example results showing an enrollment error (red X)

If successful:

  1. Read results and print any messages you want to discuss with faculty or staff.
  2. Click Make a Payment.

Example results showing enrollment success (green check mark)

Step 21

The Student Account Information page displays a table of your total charges outstanding, the amount of anticipated financial aid (if any), future charges, and your current balance outstanding, and payment due date(s).

Unless you are eligible for the financial aid fee waiver, fees for Early Start classes are due within 2 hours of Early Start class enrollment.

  1. To make an online payment with credit card or electronic check, click the Tseng College Payment button. Please contact the Tseng College (extension) with payment questions.
  2. To view your Early Start class schedule:
    • From the drop-down menu in the upper right corner, select Student Center.
    • Click the "go" icon.

Student Account Info page with amount owed (zero or $766) and due date

Step 22

The SOLAR Student Center displays.

  • Return at any time to view your summer Early Start class schedule and classroom location(s).
  • Under the Finances heading, select the Account Information link to view your outstanding charges, account balance, and financial aid if any.

To return to myNorthridge home, select Back to Portal. If done, remember to Log Out (upper right corner).

SOLAR Student Center with your Early Start class schedule and logout button