Early Start Program

Cal State LA's Early Start Program

The CSU Early Start Program is designed to prepare students for the first semester of college and to help them improve their skills in quantitative reasoning (Math) and written communication (English).  

  • The program takes place the summer before their freshmen year.
  • Upon admission, CSU campuses will inform students who are not exempt, how and where to sign up for Early Start.
  • Early Start Math and English courses will be available at every CSU campus and online.
  • Financial aid will be available for those who demonstrate need.

This webpage provides additional information for students who will be participating in Cal State LA’s Early Start Program.

1. How are students placed into Early Start?

2. Where should students complete their Early Start Program?

3. Fees and Financial aid

4. Cal State LA Early Start Course Descriptions

5. Early Start Session Dates

6. How to Declare for Early Start

7. How to Register for Early Start


When students are admitted to Cal State LA, the university looks at a variety of measures to determine their Math and English placement category. These multiple measures include high school Math and English courses, high school grade point averages (GPA); and exams scores from the ACT, SAT, SAT Subject test, or the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). CSU places students into 4 categories in Math and English.

GE Requirement Completed (Category 1): Students have already fulfilled the General Education requirement in Math or English. Most of the students in Category 1 received a passing score on the AP or IB exam, and received credit for the college course. Category 1 students are exempt from Early Start.

Academic support course not needed with GE course (Category 2):  Students are ready to take the freshmen-level GE course in Math and/or English. Category 2 students are exempt from Early Start.

Academic support course recommended with GE course (Category 3): Students will begin their college-level English and/or Math in their first semester and will be placed into a co-requisite support course (Math) and/or into a two-semester freshmen “Stretch” composition course. Category 3 students are not required to take Early Start.

Academic support course required with GE course (Category 4):  Students will begin their college-level English and/or Math in their first semester, and will be placed into a co-requisite support course (Math) and/or into a two-semester freshmen “Stretch” composition course. Category 4 students are required to take Early Start.

Students required to participate in the summer 2018 Early Start Program will receive an email from the Admission Office of the CSU campus you plan to attend, with instructions on how to complete the declaration and registration process.

Exemptions - The following students will not be required to participate in Early Start:

  • International students and residents of other states
  • Students participating in the Cal State LA’s EOP Summer Bridge Program

Students may appeal if circumstances beyond their control prevent them from participation. Early Start Appeals should be submitted with supporting documentation by email to earlystart@calstatela.edu no later than June 25, 2018.


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Early Start Math and English courses will be available at every CSU campus and online. Incoming freshmen are encouraged to complete their Early Start Program at the campus they are planning to attend. This will afford them an opportunity to get to know faculty, staff, students and to familiarize themselves with campus resources.

Students who pass an Early Start Math course at another CSU campus, and are approved to enter first-year math without supported instruction, will also be able to do so at Cal State LA.

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Early Start programs offered at any of the CSU campuses will have a common fee. The current fee estimate is $182 per unit plus a $2 student fee and is subject to change based on approved fee increases. Campus parking and course instruction materials may also be charged.

California residents who apply for financial aid and have an Estimated Family Contribution of $5,000 or less will be eligible for a waiver of the per unit fee.

The CSU makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum. Fees listed in published schedules or student accounts may need to be increased when public funding is inadequate. Therefore, CSU must reserve the right, even after initial fee payments are made, to increase or modify any listed fees, without notice, until the date when instruction for a particular semester or quarter has begun. All CSU listed fees should be regarded as estimates that are subject to change upon approval by The Board of Trustees.

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Early Start Composition - ESC 210: Early Start Composition (3 weeks)
This online course offers students an opportunity to develop their skills in college-level reading and writing.

Course Credit: This 1-unit pre-baccalaureate credit course does not count toward a college degree.

How to access the Early Start Program English Composition (ESC 210)

Beginning on the first day of the class, you may access the online ESC 210 class using Moodle. To learn more about Moodle, visit MyCalStateLA Moodle.

To login to Moodle, please complete the following steps:

  1. If you have not done so already, activate your myCalStateLA ID.
    You will need your Cal State L.A. CIN (Campus Identification Number) and PIN
    • If you do not know your CIN or PIN, please contact the GET Help Line at 323-343-7438.
    • If you are having problems activating your myCalStateLA ID, please contact the ITS Help Desk at 323-343-6170.
  2. After activating your myCalStateLA ID, login to the myCalStateLA Portal.
  3. Once you have logged into myCalStateLA ID, you can access Moodle by clicking on the Moodle icon under the ‘Quick Launch Menu,’ which is located in the upper left hand portion of the web page.

Early Start Math - ESM 1082 and ESM 82 Early Start PreCalculus: Functions (8 weeks)

ESM 1082 and ESM 82 are for incoming freshmen who are in majors that require PreCalculus or Calculus. This includes most STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) majors. The content of ESM 1082 is that of a standard PreCalculus Functions class (functions, exponential and logarithmic functions; polynomials and rational functions; systems of linear equations and matrices; sequences and series including arithmetic and geometric series).  Students in ESM 1082 must also enroll in 82, a co-requisite support course designed to provide students with additional support.

Course Credit: Passing ESM 1082 will confer 3 units of college credit and fulfill the GE Block B4 requirement. ESM 82 does not carry college credit or count towards the degree.

Early Start Math - ESM 309 Algebra Foundation for Statistics and Quantitative Reasoning (2 weeks)

ESM 309 is for incoming freshmen who are in non-STEM majors that do not require Precalculus or Calculus. ESM 309 is designed to refresh students’ knowledge of basic concepts covered in algebra, including the following: solving linear equations, functions, and system of equations.

Course Credit: This course meets the Early Start Requirement for Quantitative Reasoning. Students who complete ESM 309 will have a head start on subject matter covered in their first-year Math class. (ESM 309 confers 1 unit of pre-baccalaureate credit that does not count towards the degree).

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ESP 2018 Important dates

April 25th

Smart Page opens for declaration

May 1st

Enrollment confirmation deposit due

May 28th Memorial Day; Campus closed

June 1st

Deadline to declare where Early Start will be completed

June 2nd

Deadline to register for orientation

June 13

Deadline to register for the 1st Session

June 18th- June 29th

ESM 309 (1st session)

June 18th- July 6th

ESC 210 (1st session)

June 18th- August 10th

ESM 1082

July 4th  Deadline to Register for the 2nd Session 

July 4th

Independence Day; Campus closed

July 9th- July 20th

ESM 309 (2nd session)

July 9th- July 27th

ESC 210 (2nd session)

July 15th

Deadline to submit high school transcripts

August 20th

Fall term begins

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Ready to declare? Here are your next steps:

  1. Log-in to your MyCalStateLA portal to access the GET Self Service page, and use the Early Start link in the admission section of the Student Center to declare where you will complete Early Start. The Early Start page will let you know whether you must compete Early Start in English or Math and will allow you to select the campus where you will participate.Complete this step as soon as possible, but no later than June 1. After declaring your plans, you will receive additional information about how to enroll in Early Start Program classes in early May. Please regularly check your Cal State LA email.
  2. If you are unable to complete Early Start at Cal State LA this summer, you may complete this requirement at another campus. Keep in mind that other CSU campuses may offer online courses. See the CSU Success website for more information.
  3. After you declare, you will be able to register for the specific Math and/or English courses you are required to take. Beginning in early May, we will email registration instructions to those who selected to participate in Early Start at Cal State LA. It will be send to your Cal State LA email address, approximately one week after you declare.
  4. Complete the designated Early Start course(s) this summer!

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Early Start students will be sent a detailed communication message when it is time to register for the courses. Here are the essential steps for Early Start registration:

  1. Review the information regarding your course requirements/options.
  2. Go to MyCalStateLA and log in using your myCalStateLA ID and Password
  3. Click on the ‘GET’ icon under ‘Quick Launch’ menu.
  4. The menu page will come up. Click on the ‘Self Service’ link. Then, click on ‘Student Center’ link at the top of the ‘Academic Planning’.
  5. A voter registration message might come up. Review it, and click OK to continue.
  6. The Student Center page comes up. Click on the 'Enroll in Early Start' link. A Financial Aid Waiver message will come up informing you whether you’re eligible to receive financial aid for the Early Start Program.
  7. The page to add classes will come up. At the bottom of the page, make sure the ‘Class Search’ is selected then click on the ‘Green Search box’ to continue.
  8. In the subject box enter the appropriate subject you need to add, ESC for English or ESM for math. Then, in the Course Number box, enter the appropriate Course Number. For example, ESC 210. You can find this information on the Early Start webpage under Cal State LA Early Start Course Descriptions.’
  9. Once you’ve entered the number, click Search. On results page, a list of classes will appear showing a green circle which indicates they’re open. Make the selection that best fits your schedule and click on the 'Select' button.
  10. On the next page, you will review your selection and click on 'Next' to continue.  Review your selection and click 'Proceed to Step 2 of 3'. To confirm and finally add the course, click on 'Finish Enrolling' A financial aid message may come up again. Review it and click okay to continue to add your course.
  11. To see your schedule, click on the blue button that indicates 'My Class Schedule'. 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.

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Students requesting accommodations please visit OSD Registration ​ or contact the Office for Students with Disabilities (323) 343-3140.



We are located in Library South, Palmer Wing, Room 2098

Phone #: (323) 343-6860 / Email: ​EarlyStart@calstatela.edu

Office Hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm