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Early Start Program

The Early Start Program is intended to give incoming freshmen the opportunity to enroll in English and/or Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning classes, with instructional support, prior to the term for which they have been admitted. This program is designed to better prepare students for the first semester of college and to help them improve their skills in English/Written Communication and/or Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning.

The Early Start Program takes place the summer before the freshman year and courses will be available at all CSU campuses with additional options to take courses online. Financial Aid will be available for those who have demonstrated need (see below for details).


Fall Admission, Testing and Registration Key Dates


Event Description Date
Application Deadline  November 30, 2021
Take SAT/ACT (Not required for Fall 2022) No Later Than December 2021
CSULB Admission Notifications Begin  Early February 2022
All CSULB Freshmen Admissions Decisions Sent  April 1, 2022
Begin Declaring Where Early Start Will Be Completed  May 3, 2022
Deadline to Accept CSULB Offer of Admission May 1, 2022
Begin Registration for Early Start Courses May 12, 2022
Deadline to Declare Where Early Start Will Be Completed  June 1, 2022
Deadline to Complete Early Start Activities  August 7, 2022

Who must participate in the Early Start Program?

  • Math: 
    Students who require additional support based on multiple measures
  • English: 
    Students who require additional support based on multiple measures
  • Exemptions - The following students will not be required to participate in Early Start:
    • International students and residents of other states

Students may appeal if circumstances beyond their control prevent participation. Appeals should be submitted in writing including any supporting documentation to the Office of Admission no later than June 1st.

What are my options if I am considered Conditionally Exempt?

Students can be deemed "conditionally exempt" (also known as “conditionally ready”) by a CAASPP EAP status of “Standard Met” or the following test scores:

  • English: ACT 19-21 or SAT 510-540 or (old SAT 460-490, taken before March 2016) 
  • Math: ACT 20-22 or SAT 520-560 or (old SAT 490-540, taken before March 2016) 

Students deemed conditionally exempt can:

  • Demonstrate College readiness through the completion of an appropriate senior year course. The qualifying full year course must be completed with a C or better in both semesters.
  • Conditionally exempt students who have not demonstrated college readiness through one of the two means above are recommended to participate in Early Start.

How Can I fulfill the Early Start Program requirement?

  • CSULB freshmen will be encouraged to complete their Early Start Program activities on our campus if at all possible. This will afford them an opportunity to begin to integrate into the campus and will provide the smoothest transition to their fall English or math instruction. CSULB will offer a 1 unit Early Start Mathematics course called ESM 100. CSULB will also offer a 1-unit Early Start English course. Courses are scheduled between mid-June and early August
  • Students may also participate in an Early Start program offered at any other CSU campus. This may be appropriate for non-local students. Some CSU campuses are planning to offer on-line course options as well.

How Much Will it Cost?

  • Early Start Programs offered at any of the CSU campuses will have a common fee. The fee for Summer 2022 is $191 per unit plus $2 in other mandatory fees. Campus parking and course instruction materials may also be charged.
  • California residents who apply for financial aid or the California Dream Act and have an Estimated Family Contribution of $6,000 or less will be eligible for a waiver of the per unit fee.

How Do I Declare Where I will Take Early Start?

Admitted students who have accepted their admission offer will be given access to an Early Start link in the admission section of the Student Center in MyCSULB. This link will indicate whether or not the student is required to participate in Early Start. CSULB strongly recommends completion of this requirement on our campus. If that is not possible, this page provides a link to a detailed list of courses other campuses are offering which will satisfy the requirement. If required to participate, the student must update this page by June 1 indicating where he/she plans to complete the requirement. 

How do I know what Early Start Classes to take?

Your placement is based on multiple measures including, GPA, test scores, number of years completed in subject specific courses, and intended major. In addition, Early Start students will be sent detailed information when it is time to register for these courses.

What courses will CSULB offer that satisfy this requirement?


  • ESM 100 is a one-unit course that meets three times a week  on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for four weeks: both synchronous onlin and in-person, morning and afternoon classes are available. For course options, please visit Summer Schedule of Classes. This course, with additional support via adaptive ALEKS PPL, allows students to brush up on their foundational math skills and get ready for college-level Mathematics courses. Watch this video to hear why former ESM 100 students loved the program. Visit the Early Start Mathematics webpage to learn more about the course and its benefits. Visit the ALEKS Mathematics Placement webpage to learn more about how your ALEKS score can help you skip a mathematics class in the fall. During your Early Start Mathematics course, students who score 60 or above on ALEKS PPL taken as part of ESM will receive 'GE Ready' designation. 

To learn more about your placement in Math, please visit the Mathematics Placement webpage.


  • ESW 1 is 1-unit, one-week course in writing that serves as an introduction to the university. Students in the class will also begin to develop college-level literacy skills and habits of mind. Visit the Early Start Writing website to learn more about the course and its benefits. For course options, please visit Summer Schedule of Classes. Students will receive information about course materials on the first day of class meetings.

Special Note: If you have a disability and require reasonable accommodations for an Early Start course you will be taking at CSULB, please contact the Bob Murphy Access Center Office by email at as early as possible

How Do I Register for Early Start?

Early Start students will be sent a detailed communication when it is time to register for the courses. Students can see the dates and times classes are available by selecting the subject ‘Early Start Writing’ or ‘Early Start Math’ in CSULB’s Summer Schedule of Classes. Here are the essential steps to registration:

  1. Review the information regarding your course requirements/options.
  2. Review our ‘Enrolling in Early Start’ help guide for detailed instructions on how to register via MyCSULB
  3. Go to MyCSULB and log in using your Campus ID and password.
  4. Click on the ‘Student Center’ link under ‘My Menu.’
  5. Click on the ‘Early Start Program’ link at the top in the ‘Academics’ section
  6. Click on the "Search" button below the 'Class Search' option on the left side and then select Early Start Mathematics or Writing and the course number you are looking for based on your CAASPP EAP, SAT, SAT Redesign and ACT - test scores.
  7. Select the section that meets your needs and complete the registration steps.
  8. If you do not qualify for the Early Start Financial Aid Fee Waiver, you must pay your fees within 48 hours. Go to the ‘Finances’ section of the Student Center and select the ‘Make a Payment’ link to complete payment. You can pay via E-check; or you can use MasterCard, Discover, American Express or VISA with the payment of a 2.65% service charge. If you qualified for a financial aid fee waiver, you will see a confirming message during the registration process.
  9. We will send you a detailed message about a week before your class begins with information on parking, course materials, and other details to prepare for your first class meeting.

How and When Do I Pay for Early Start?

If you do not qualify for the Early Start Financial Aid Fee Waiver, you must pay your fees within 48 hours of registration. This should be done online in the Student Center of MyCSULB. Select the "Make a Payment" link to complete payment process. You can pay via E-check; or you can use MasterCard, Discover, American Express or VISA with the payment of a 2.65% service charge. You may elect to pay in person using either cash, check or debit card at the Office of Student Account Services Brotman Hall 148. If you qualified for a financial aid fee waiver, you will see a confirming message during the registration process. You are encouraged to make payment immediately to confirm your registration and avoid possible cancellation of your class.

What Happens After I Register for Early Start?

Here is general information as you prepare for your class:

  • Early Start Class Materials: No textbook and calculator are required for the Early Start Mathematics class; All course materials will be posted on CSULB's learning manafement system, Beachboard. Early Start Writing Instructors will inform you at the first class meeting about the materials that will be assigned for your section. Please be sure to activate your CSULB email account at least one week before the class starts to ensure that you can receive notifications/emails from the instructor.

What Happens If I Cannot Attend Early Start?

It is essential that you drop the class via MyCSULB as soon as you know you cannot attend so that the seat may be offered to other students. The final deadline to drop Early Start classes is the day before the class begins. Remember to sign up for another section to ensure completion of the required program. If you do not drop before the deadline and do not attend the Early Start course, you will be responsible for payment, will receive a grade of NC (No Credit) on your transcript, and will still need to complete an Early Start course. If you have a circumstance beyond your control that prevents you from participating in any Early Start class, you must submit an appeal for exception from the requirement to the Office of Admission including any supporting documentation. Remember, Early Start is a requirement for Fall enrollment!

What Happens After I Complete Early Start?

You will receive a grade of CR or NC (No Credit) for the Early Start Mathematics course and/or Early Start Writing course. The grades of CR indicate that you have satisfied the Early Start Requirement. 

If you are a CSULB student, your academic advisor will contact you if your Fall schedule needs adjustment depending on your ESP grade(s). CSULB students who have completed Early Start and have questions about their math or English placement should contact the Mentoring, Advising and Placement Support (MAPS) office. Visitor students should contact their CSU campus. Students should note that placement scores for courses differ from CSU to CSU. ESP scores will be interpreted based on the criteria determined by the CSU at which the student will enroll in the fall.

Additional Early Start Resources