Early Start Program

The CSU system recently enacted a policy requiring a course called "Early Start" that is mandated for incoming students who do not demonstrate readiness for college-level math and/or English to begin remediation during the summer before coming to the CSU. The goals of Early Start are to better prepare students in math and English before their first semester, thereby improving their chances of completing a college degree.

Early Start Program

Early Start Student Participation

Math: All students who have not demonstrated college readiness must participate.

  • ELM score less than 50.
  • EAP, SAT or ACT Conditional Math students that did not meet their conditions (taking higher level math in senior year and passing the course with a C or better each semester)
  • Students that did not earn an exemption based on the EAP, SAT, ACT, AP, IB or completing a college level course that fulfills the requirement in GE Math with a grade of C or better.

English: All students who have not demonstrated college readiness must participate.

  • EPT score of 0 to 147.
  • EAP, SAT or ACT Conditional English students that did not meet their conditions (taking higher level English course that is AP, IB, Honors, or Expository Reading and Writing during the senior year with a C or better each semester)
  • Students that did not earn an exemption based on the EAP, SAT, ACT, AP, IB or completing a college level course that satisfies the requirement of English composition (GE Area A2) with a grade of C or better.

Students requiring remediation in BOTH English and math will be required to begin to address BOTH subject areas in the Early Start Program.


The following students will not be required to participate.

  • International students
  • Residents of other states
  • Admits after August 1st

Do Conditionally  Exempt (EAP/SAT/ACT) students have to take the Early Start Program?

Conditionally Exempt students based on EAP, SAT or ACT, are only required to complete the Early Start Program if they do not meet their condition with successful completion of a full-year CSU approved course or activity during your senior year with a grade of “C” or higher.

What if my ELM or EPT scores are not yet available, how do I know if I am supposed to enroll in the Early Start Program?

When EPT/ELM values are not present, your SAT/ACT score values will be used to do the initial determination of your participate in the Early Start Program. Using your SAT/ACT scores does not exempt you from taking the EPT/ELM for the fall term. Furthermore, taking the EPT/ELM test early may in fact exempt you from the Early Start Program. We strongly encourage all students to take the EPT/ELM test in April, but no later than May.

Program Deadlines and Session Dates

Early Start Key Deadlines
Fall 2017 Deadlines

Last Day to submit SSU Enrollment Deposit

May 1, 2017

After submitting the Enrollment Deposit, eligible students may begin to log on to access the Early Start Smart Page and declare where Early Start will be completed.

May 8, 2017

Registration opens for Early Start Program

May 8, 2017

Last day to take EPT/ELM tests for Fall 2017 enrollment

May 27, 2017

Deadline to decalre where Eartly Start will be completed on the Early Start Page

June 16, 2017

First SSU Early Start English Composition online courses begin

June 14, 2017

First SSU Early Start Mathematics courses begin

July 5, 2017

Deadline to complete Early Start Program activities

Varies by session


SSU Early Start English (ESE 10) Session Dates
All classes are exclusively online
Course Start Date End Date Last Day to Enroll Last Pay Date Drop Date

Session 1

June 14

June 20

June 10

June 11

June 13

Session 2

June 21

June 27

June 17

June 18

June 20

Session 3

July 12

July 18

July 8

July 9

July 11

Session 4

July 19

July 25

July 15

July 16

July 18

Session 5

July 26

Aug 1

July 22

July 23

July 25

Session 6

Aug 2

Aug 8

July 29

July 30

Aug 1


SSU Early Start Math (ESM) Session Dates
All classes are exclusively online
Course Start Date End Date Last Day to Enroll Last Pay Date Drop Date

Session 1

July 5

August 2

June 29

June 30

July 4

Session 2

July 12

August 2

July 6

July 7

July 11

Session 3

July 19

August 2

July 13

July 14

July 18


Registration Instructions

The Smart Page is where:

  • Students will be able to view their current ELM/EPT status.

  • If required, admitted SSU students who have accepted their offer will be able to change where they intend to fulfill their Early Start requirement.

To Access the SSU Smart Page:

  1. Login to SSU's Online Services portal.
  2. Click on MySSU.
  3. Select Application Status.
  4. Under Application Status, click on Early Start Program link .
  5. If you change your ESP campus location from SSU to another CSU, you will need to click “confirm Early Start selection.”
  6. Once an ESP campus is changed you will need to wait 24-48 hours prior to registering.

Early Start Program Registration Instructions

To register for your Early Start Program courses at Sonoma State University, you must first select SSU for Math and/or English on your Early Start Program Smart Page.

  1. Login to SSU's Online Services portal.
  2. Click on MySSU.
  3. Select the Student Center.
    If this is your first time logging in, you will get a voter registration message.
  4. Under Student Center, click on Enroll in Early Start link.
    A Financial Aid message will pop up notifying you if you qualify for an ESP course fee waiver
  5. Select summer term and click continue.
  6. Click Search to view the course list (make sure the class search button is marked).
  7. You must enter two search criteria
    • Click on Course Subject drop-down and choose “Early Start Math (ESM) or Early Start English (ESE)”
    • Click the Course Career drop-down and choose “Extended Education”
  8. Click Search.
  9. You will see the list of available courses. Click on the "Select Class" button for the class you wish to take.
  10. You will see the course description. Click "Next" button.
  11. Click the "Proceed to step 2 of 3" button.
  12. Click the "Finishing Enrolling" button to complete the registration.
  13. Click on the Student Center link on the top navigation to display your schedule.
  14. Click on Account Inquiry link to view course fees.
  15. Click on Make Online Paymnent

Note: If you are eligible for an ESP fee waiver, you will be notified by a pop-up message during the registration process.

If you have questions or problems registering for your Early Start Program classes, please call Extended Education at (707) 664-2394.

Fees and Financial Aid

Early Start courses offered at any of the CSU campuses will consist of the same fee rate. The current fee estimate is $182 per unit and is subject to change based on approved fee increases. Campus parking and course books may also be required for purchase.

Early Start Program student

How do I pay for the class?

To ensure your seat in your course(s), we request you pay all fees within 24 hours after enrolling. If your fees are not paid by the Friday before the start of your course(s), you will be dropped.

Online via MySSU:

After enrolling in the appropriate Early Start classes online,  login to MySSU via the Online Services portal to pay your fees.


In-person payments may only be paid by credit card or check in the School of Extended & International Education Monday through Friday 8am-4:30pm.

By Phone:

Credit card payments will be accepted via phone in Customer Service, School of Extended & International Education, Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm at 707-664-2394.

What is the refund policy?

A full refund will be honored if you withdraw from the course prior to the first day of class.  You will need to log in to your MYSSU account to drop the course.  Please be advised that no refunds will be issued and you will not be able to withdraw from the course on the first day of class or after.  If you have additional questions please contact Adrianne Price at adrianne.price@sonoma.edu.

Early Start fee waivers will be available for those demonstrating need. California residents who apply for financial aid and have an Estimated Family Contribution of $5,000 or less will be eligible for a waiver for any course meeting Early Start Program requirements.

CSU Early Start Course Options

  • SSU freshmen are encouraged to complete their Early Start program activities at SSU, if at all possible. SSU’s Early Start program consists of one a unit course in English and math. This one unit course offers students an online learning experience and will fulfill the Early Start requirement. Courses will be scheduled from mid-June until early August.
  • Students may also participate in Early Start program offered at any other CSU campus.
  • Students may wish to take an approved course at their local community college. Be aware that space in traditional English and math developmental courses may be very limited at many community colleges and require a community college placement test.

Early Start Math Course Update

Our online Early Start Math course, will allow students to meet their remediation via the completion of the following criteria, regardless of their ELM score:

You can use ESM10 at SSU to complete your math remediation by completing all class requirements:

  • Spend the required 45 hours working through online assignments in the program ALEKS; and
  • Complete and receive passing scores on 4 writing assignments that are part of the course; and
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the subject material of the course through online assessments in all subject areas (i.e. Complete your ALEKS "pie" and score above 90% on a "Goal Completion Assessment")

Once students successfully meet this criteria via our summer course, they will then be ready for college level math/GE Mathematics in the fall.

I've registered for the online Early Start English/Math class(es). How do I access it?

Those students attending SSU in Fall will have your Seawolf username and password. For those students attending another CSU in Fall, you will need to create your username and password 24 hours after you select your campus location, login to MySSU via the Online Services portal.

Early Start English:

The English Early Start course is taught via Moodle. On the first day of class, you will be able to login and access your Moodle course. Your instructor will contact you 1-2 days prior to class with instructions on how to begin the course. For Moodle instructions, go to the Moodle Instructions Page

Early Start Math:

The Early Start Math course (ESM10) is a fully online course using the web-based ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces). All of the relevant course information, including the access code for logging into ALEKS, will be posted on the course Moodle page for ESM10. The Moodle page will be activated 1-2 days before the first scheduled day of the course.

What services are available for students with disabilities?

Students requiring reasonable accommodations to take part in the Early Start Program need to contact the office providing services to students with disabilities at the CSU campus they will attend in Fall 2017. Students will be required to establish their eligibility for reasonable accommodations by providing appropriate disability documentation from a qualified treatment provider. Disability documentation must clearly describe the student's present functional limitations. Reasonable accommodations for the Early Start Program will be prescribed from the CSU campus from which the student will be attending.

ESP Contact Information

If you have questions about the ESP, please email admissions@sonoma.edu or call 707-664-2778

Registration questions about ESP, please email extendeded@sonoma.edu

ESP grades are received electronically from all CSU campuses.

What if I do not participate in the Early Start Program?

If you do not complete your Early Start Program requirements during the summer, you may be jeopardizing your ability to register for Fall classes.

What if I am required to attend the Early Start Program, but cannot?

Students who are unable to participate in Early Start over the summer must submit an appeal to the Admission office as soon as possible but no later than four weeks prior to the start of the Fall term. To submit your appeal, please email compliance.coordinator@sonoma.edu . Appeals must include supporting documentation  (e.g. doctor's statement, death certificate, disability issues, etc.).to support the extenuating reason they are unable to take the online SSU ESP course(s). Appeal decisions are final.