What is Early Start?

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Early Start is an enrollment requirement for many First-time Freshmen (FTF). Test scores determine whether a student is required to participate in Early Start.  

The CSU wants to help first-time freshmen applicants get an “Early Start” toward their preparation for college level work. New freshmen who need extra preparation to be ready for college-level English and/or math must start that process no later than the summer before their first term.

If your test scores determine that you need extra coursework to be ready for college level courses in English, math or both, you must enroll in Early Start courses the summer before your first term at Sacramento State or at another CSU.

You will be notified throughout the application, admission, and registration process about this requirement. Admissions decisions are typically made by March, giving you several months to choose from a variety of Early Start options prior to starting courses in the fall. Once you have applied, you can find out if you need to participate in Early Start via the Student Center accessed through My Sac State. Review the “I have applied” webpage to create your SacLink account and access My Sac State if you have not already done so.

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Am I required to participate in Early Start?

If you took the English Placement Test (EPT) and the Entry Level Mathematics Test (ELM) and your scores are in the following ranges, you need to participate in the Early Start Program for English, Math, or both:

  • English Placement Test (EPT):    146 or less
  • Entry Level Math Test (ELM):      49 or less

If you are required to complete Early Start courses, you must sign up for them prior to beginning your regular semester classes.  Deadline to Register is July 1, 2014

If you do not complete your Early Start required course(s) or receive an approved participation waiver, you could be placed on administrative probation and/or be prevented from registering for classes.  If you need to know more about the EPT and ELM tests, see below.

Exemptions

The following students are exempt from Early Start, and will not be required to participate in Early Start:

  • Students who received qualifying scores in the appropriate areas of the EAP, SAT, SAT Subject, ACT, or AP exams
  • Students who took an approved college-level English course and earned a C- or better—these students are also exempt from the English Placement Test (EPT)
  • Students who took an approved college-level math course and earned a C- or better—these students are also exempt from the Entry Level Math exam (ELM)
  • International students and residents of states other than California (non-residents)
  • Students participating in the Sacramento State Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Summer Bridge Program

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How do I complete Early Start?

The Early Start requirement can be completed in 2 simple steps.

Step 1: Register and pay your fees for the Early Start courses you are required to complete by July 1, 2014  -  visit http://earlystart.csusuccess.org/csu_campus/csu-early-start-course-search for this summer's ONLINE and IN CLASSROOM sessions.

Step 2: Complete your required Early Start courses

Click here for instructions on how to register for Early Start courses.

Sacramento State's Schedule of Summer Sessions are available at http://earlystart.csusuccess.org/csu_campus/csu-early-start-course-search - select Sacramento State from the drop down menu. 

Summer session courses will be offered at all CSU campuses. Early Start requirements can be completed at any CSU. On-line course options are also available. If you opt to complete the Early Start course at a campus other than California State University, Sacramento, you will need to follow the registration instructions provided by that campus AND provide verification of completion of courses to Sacramento State.

Questions from students who plan to enroll at Sac State Early Start can be directed to the Admissions & Outreach Office at (916) 278-7766.

How Much do Early Start Courses Cost?

  • Currently, fees for Early Start courses cost an estimated $182 per unit (subject to change).  Fees are due upon registration and must be paid by the registration deadline.
  • Early Start Programs cost the same at every CSU.
  • The course fee does not include any campus parking fees or the cost of course instruction materials, which vary by class and campus.
  • California residents who apply for financial aid and have an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,000 or less may be eligible for a waiver of the per unit fee.

How Do I Know if I Must Take the ELM and EPT Exams?

Most students need to take the exams, but some students are exempt. Exempt students have scored high on another standardized test, such as the SAT or ACT, or have earned transferrable credits from another college.

For more information on ELM/EPT exam requirements, exemptions, instructions and test schedule, visit the CSU testing site at:  www.ets.org/csu/about.  For test dates and information from the Sacramento State Testing Center, visit: www.csus.edu/testing.  

How do I Register for the EPT and/or ELM?

  • Visit the Educational Testing Website at http://www.ets.org/csu for more information. 
  • Click on “Register for the Tests” and follow the instructions.
  • Take the EPT/ELM seriously and take it early.
  • Study for the tests to score the best you can. Note: you can only take the EPT once and the ELM twice. Registration information can be found here.
  • Consider retaking the ACT or SAT if possible. ACT and SAT tests must be taken no later than December for admission purposes, but can be retaken for Early Start and exemption purposes.

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Does Sacramento State Admissions Staff Have Any Other Advice for Me?

Yes we do—consider the following:

  • Take the EPT/ELM seriously and take it EARLY!
  • Study for the tests to score the best you can. Note: you can only take the EPT once and the ELM twice. Registration information can be found here.
  • Consider retaking the ACT or SAT if possible. ACT and SAT tests must be taken no later than December for admission purposes, but can be retaken for Early Start and exemption purposes.

What other Resources Might Help Me?

Here are some of the resources we mentioned on this page:

Communications Archive

The following links will display the various email messages that have been sent regarding the current Early Start cycle for Fall 2014 admitted students:

Please see the Communications Archive on the Admissions & Outreach web site for other Fall 2014 admissions-related communications.

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