Current Students

Pathways to Excellence Guide

* * * The following information is for Summer 2023 P2E. For Summer 2024, enrolling in classes is NOT necessary.

Visit the P2E website to sign up for FREE P2E this summer. * * *

This is a tutorial only. No login is required. 


CSUN’s Pathways to Excellence Program (formerly Early Start) provides eligible first-time freshmen from California with an opportunity to build skills in college-level course work, learn about university resources and meet CSUN faculty, staff and students the summer before their first fall semester.

Eligible incoming freshmen from California will be invited to participate in Pathways to Excellence (P2E) by email. Please check your CSUN email account for an invitation and instructions in May and after. If you are a first-time freshman, this guide explains how to navigate to the Pathways to Excellence Page and:

  • Check your eligibility for the P2E financial aid fee waiver. Please refer to Is Pathways to Excellence free?
  • Enroll in one of the following summer 2023 program options:
    • Math and First-Year Connections (four weeks, two courses)
    • Math Connections (three weeks, one course)

Learn more about the Pathways to Excellence Program.

Step 1

Go to the CSUN home page at and:

  • From the MyCSUN drop-down menu in the main navigation, select the CSUN Portal link.
  • Log in with your CSUN user ID and password.

MyCSUN menu on new home page with CSUN Portal login link

Step 2

Your CSUN Portal home page displays.

In the Top Tools section, select the Student Center backpack icon.

CSUN Portal home page with Top Tools section and backpack link to Student Center

Step 3

The SOLAR Student Center displays three main sections — Academics, Finances and Personal Information. 

In the "Academics" section, select the Pathways to Excellence link.

Note: If you are not eligible to participate, the Pathways to Excellence link will not display. But enjoy exploring the Student Center!

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

Step 4

The Pathways to Excellence page displays.

Pathways to Excellence was previously called “Early Start.” The older name still displays in the black banner. Don’t worry – you’re in the right place!

Review the Pathways to Excellence page for:

  1. A link to accommodations from CSUN’s Disability Resources and Educational Services if desired.
  2. Your eligibility to participate in the Pathways to Excellence program.*
  3. Your eligibility for a fee waiver is based on your financial aid FAFSA or CADAA application. Learn more at Is Pathways to Excellence free?

*Note: Please ignore the headings for Written Communication and Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning boxes as well as the inactive Opt Out box.

You are eligible to participate in Pathways to Excellence if:

  • You read “eligible to participate” in either or both boxes on this page.
  • You received an invitation in your CSUN email box from the Pathways to Excellence team.
  • You see Early Start Math as a subject option on the Enter Search Criteria page (refer to Step 9 below).

Once it’s time to register, select the Enroll in Pathways to Excellence button. Note that the Math and First-Year Connections and Math Connections options each have a different registration period. Classes for each option will only display during the registration period for that option.

Pathways to Excellence landing page showing eligibility and fee waiver status

Step 5

The Student Fee Payment Notice displays important disclosures, acknowledgements of financial responsibility, IRS Form 1098-T information, and where to find your account charges and payment deadlines.

IMPORTANT: If you are not eligible for the Pathways to Excellence fee waiver, your fees are due online within 24 hours of your enrollment.

To continue:

  • Select the “yes” or “no” check box for electronic delivery of your IRS Form 1098-T. This form helps students and families determine if they are eligible for an Education Tax Credit. Learn about the 1098-T Disclosure Statement.
  • Read the Statement of Financial Responsibility.
  • If you agree, select the button "I have read and understand the above statement."

Payment Notice, Statement of Financial Responsibility and 1098-T info

Step 6

A pop-up window confirms your Pathways to Excellence financial aid fee waiver status. (Both "eligible" and "not eligible" messages are shown here as examples.)

  • If you are eligible for the waiver, you are not required to pay fees when you enroll in a Pathways to Excellence course and you can disregard the 24-hour payment message at the time of your enrollment.
  • If you are not eligible for the waiver, you are reminded to pay for Pathways to Excellence classes within 24 hours of enrolling. Please refer to the steps at the end of this guide.
  • Learn more at Is Pathways to Excellence free?

Select OK to proceed.

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

Step 7

The Select Term page displays.

  • Select the Summer Term radio button.
  • Select Continue.

By the way, you can return to the Student Center from any page at any time by selecting it from the drop-down menu. Be sure to select the “go” button.

Select Term page with Summer Term radio button

Step 8

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

  • Verify that you have selected Summer Term.
  • Select the Search button to look up Pathways to Excellence classes.

Add Classes page with empty enrollment shopping cart and Class Search button

Step 9

The Enter Search Criteria page displays. Open the Subject drop-down menu.

If you are eligible to take Math and First-Year Connections (four weeks, two courses) and the registration period is open, you’ll see two Subjects in the drop-down menu:

  • Early Start Math (ESM 196P – Math Diagnostic)
  • University (UNIV 100 – Freshman Seminar)

Important notes:

  • If only “University” displays in the Subject menu but not “Early Start Math,” you might not be eligible for Pathways to Excellence. To confirm, please contact
  • If you will only sign up for Math Connections (three weeks, one course), you should wait to enroll during the Math Connections registration period.

Let’s start with the ESM 196P course that's part of Math and First-Year Connections:

  1. From the Subject drop-down menu, choose Early Start Math.
  2. Select the Search button. 

Subject search drop-down menu with Early Start Math and University selections

Step 10

The Search Results display for ESM 196P, Math Diagnostic (1 unit). The table columns provide the following information:

  • Five-digit class number
  • Section number
  • Days and times (Monday through Thursday, 11:40 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
  • Room number (Bayramian Hall, third floor)
  • Instructor’s name
  • Course start and end dates
  • Open or closed status (seats available or not)


  • The enrollment system will display only the ESM 196P class section(s) that match your major.
  • If your major is Exploratory, you’ll see all available sections, as shown below.

To identify the sections for STEM or non-STEM majors, select a five-digit class number from the far-left column.

Search Results page listing available sections of Early Start Math ESM 196P

Step 11

The Class Details page displays for the ESM 196P section you selected, #11005.

In the Notes box under Class Notes, we learn that:

  • UNIV 100 and ESM 196P must be taken together (i.e., concurrently).
  • To enroll in ESM 196P section #11005, you must also enroll in UNIV 100 section #10995 at the same time.
  • Section ESM 196P, #11005, is limited to STEM majors or Exploratory majors who are interested in STEM fields.

To proceed:

  1. If your major is Exploratory and you don’t want the STEM section, select the View Search Results button to return to the previous page and explore the other ESM 196P sections.
  2. If you want to enroll in this ESM 196P section for STEM majors, choose Select Class.

Let's choose Select Class.

Class Details page with Class Notes for majors and the linked UNIV 100 class

Step 12

The Enrollment Preferences page for ESM 196P, #11005, displays.

Some of the information on the Class Details page in Step 11 above is repeated on this page. In other words, you can bypass the Class Detail page if you already know which ESM 196P section to take.
Be sure to:

  • Review Class Notes. ESM 196P, #11005 and UNIV 100, #10995, are corequisites. You must place both sections into your enrollment shopping cart before you finish enrolling.
  • Write down the UNIV 100 section number #10995. You will need it later on to add the class to your cart.

Select the Next button.

Enrollment Preferences page and Class Notes for majors and linked UNIV 100 class

Step 13

Back on the Select Classes to Add page, your enrollment shopping cart displays.

ESM 196P, class section #11005, appears in your cart. Congratulations! But…you are not yet enrolled in classes!

If you are taking Math and First-Year Connections, you must also add the corequisite section of UNIV 100 to your cart before you finish enrolling.

Select the Search button again.

Select classes to add page with ESM 196P, section #11005, in shopping cart

 Step 14

The Enter Search Criteria page again displays.

  1. From the Subject drop-down menu, choose University.
  2. Then select Search.
  3. On the Search Results page, locate UNIV 100, #10995 and choose the Select button.

Search for corequisite University 100 sections and results (composite image)

Step 15

The UNIV 100 Enrollment Preferences page displays.

Review Class Notes to ensure you are enrolling in the correct pair of UNIV 100 and ESM 196P corequisite sections.

  • If you’ve made an error, select Cancel.
  • If satisfied, select Next.

Enrollment Preferences page for University 100 and linked ESM 196P section

Step 16

Once you have placed ESM 196P, section #11005, and UNIV 100, section #10995, into your enrollment cart, you are ready to finish enrolling.

Note: If you accidentally put the wrong section of either class in your cart, select the trash can icon to remove it. Then search again for the correct corequisite class section.

If satisfied, select Proceed to Step 2 of 3.

 Shopping cart with ESM 196P and University 100 ready to submit

The Confirm Classes page displays. Review your selections.

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

Confirm Classes page with Finish Enrolling button

Step 17

A pop-up window again reminds you of your eligibility (or not) for the financial aid fee waiver, followed by another pop-up that alerts you to the 24-hour time limit to pay for your Pathways to Excellence classes.

  • If you did not apply for financial aid and/or you do not qualify for the Pathways to Excellence 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 waiver, you can take the classes at no cost to you and disregard the 24-hour payment message. 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.

Select the OK button to close each pop-up window.

Two pop-up reminders for fee waiver eligibility and payment due in 24 hours

Step 18

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.
  2. Print or take a screen shot of the error message (optional) to discuss with faculty or staff in Records and Registration.
  3. To go back and fix the error, select Add Another Class. Results show enrollment errors (red X) because corequisite course is missing

If successful:

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

Note: If you find it necessary to drop a class after enrolling in it, select the "Drop" tab at the top of the page (not shown) and follow the prompts.

Results show enrollment success (green check marks)

 Step 19

When you select Make a Payment, the Student Account Information page displays a table of your total charges outstanding, the amount of anticipated financial aid (if any), future charges, your current balance outstanding, and payment due dates.

  • With the Pathways to Excellence (P2E) financial aid fee waiver, your current balance outstanding will be zero, $0.00.
  • Without the financial aid fee waiver, P2E course fees are due within 24 hours of enrollment. P2E fees are $191 per unit* plus the $2 campus fee. The total cost per program option is:
    • Math and First-Year Connections: $766.
    • Math Connections: $193.

*Fees are subject to change based on approved fee increases. Read more about Pathways to Excellence course fees and the P2E fee waiver.

  1. If you don’t have the waiver, select the Tseng College Payment button to make an online payment by credit card or electronic check. Please contact the Tseng College (extension) with payment questions.
  2. When ready, view your Pathways to Excellence class schedule:
    • From the drop-down menu in the upper right corner, select Student Center.
    • Select the Go button.

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

Step 20

The SOLAR Student Center displays.

  • Return at any time to view your summer Pathways to Excellence class schedule in the Academics section. (Discover another way to View Your Class Schedule.)
  • In the Finances section, select Account Information to view your outstanding charges, account balance, and financial aid if any.

If finished in the Student Center, close that tab in your web browser.

To return to the CSUN Portal, select the CSUN Student tab in your browser.

To end your portal session, tap the user icon to sign out (upper right corner of portal home page; not shown here).

Congratulations on enrolling in Pathways to Excellence. Have a great summer!

Student Center with P2E class schedule, account summary, and web browser tabs