California State University, Fullerton

A-Z Index

CSUF Home   »   INSIDE

Early Start Program Instituted

California State University Aims to Help Students Better Prepare Before Coming to Campus

March 23, 2010

From the CSU Chancellor's Office

The California State University Board of Trustees March 17 adopted an early start policy to help students be better prepared in mathematics and English when they enter a CSU as incoming freshmen.

Beginning in their senior year of high school, students will learn from their results on the Early Assessment Program about whether they are “CSU ready” in math and English. This information will help them choose from a variety of options to help them to become proficient in these subjects, and allow them to start immediately toward getting ready to start as freshmen.

“The Early Start program will help students address any deficiencies in these areas before they come to the CSU,” said Jeri Echeverria, CSU executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. “Students will have their entire year of high school and the summer to get up to speed.

“The goal is that more of our students will be completely prepared for college coursework or they will at least have begun working toward full proficiency,” continued Echeverria. “Even if students have not made up all of their deficiencies in mathematics or English, they will be admitted. Early Start does not mean we will delay admissions. It means we want students to address deficiencies earlier.”

The CSU plans to utilize its Early Assessment Program test that provides high school juniors with an early signal as to whether they are ready for college-level math and English. Last spring, 369,465 high school students voluntarily took the EAP, which requires a written essay and 15 additional questions in both the English and math sections of the California State Standards tests. Students admitted to the CSU as first-time freshmen must demonstrate they are ready for college English and mathematics by showing proficiency on the EAP test, passing the CSU’s placement test or by obtaining a qualifying score on the SAT or ACT test.

About 60 percent of first-time freshmen enrolling at the CSU each year do not show entry-level proficiency in these assessments, even though they have earned at least a B average in the required college preparatory curriculum. As a result, many students must attend remedial classes, which do not count for college credit and add cost and time to earning a degree.

Several CSU campuses already offer programs to help boost incoming student skills, including math intensive “summer bridge” programs and partnerships with local community colleges to teach such courses on a CSU campus. The Early Start initiative will incorporate best practices on a larger scale systemwide.

“Under Early Start, students will get a jump on preparing themselves for college-level math and English, and ultimately will make faster progress toward earning their college diploma,” said Echeverria.

CSU financial aid offices also will focus on communicating to high school students about the availability of financial aid during the summer preceding their CSU freshmen year, which will be provided as a supplement to aid provided during the regular academic year.

Back to Top