Admission - Early Start Program

The goal of the Early Start Program (ESP) is to:

  • Better prepare students in written composition and mathematics/quantitative reasoning before the fall term of freshman year, improving students' chances of successful completion of a baccalaureate degree.
  • If required to participate in ESP, as determined by multiple measures, students will begin in the summer before the start of the freshman year.
  • For general information about ESP including fees and course listings, visit Students are encouraged to visit the campus website for ESP information once admitted.
  • Eligible financial aid applicants with an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) of $5,000 or less will be eligible for waiver of the per unit ESP fee.

For more information on assessments, placements and the Early Start Program, please visit

To facilitate appropriate first-year course placement, the CSU evaluates entering students for academic preparation in two areas: quantitative reasoning and written communication. The evaluation process takes into account several factors, including grade point average, completed high school coursework, transfer-level coursework, and scores on standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, CAASPP/EAP, and Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate examinations.

On the basis of this evaluation, some students who may benefit from additional academic preparation are required to participate in summer skill-building activities through the Early Start Program. The Early Start program provides students with an opportunity to take college level courses in the summer. This will allow the student to begin earning units towards their degree and have an early transition to SJSU. This requirement may be satisfied through live or online Early Start courses offered by any CSU campus. Students with an Early Start requirement will receive information about the program, including specific course options, through MySJSU starting in the first week of May and continuing throughout the summer. Regular financial aid packages may not be applied to Early Start classes; however, fee waivers are automatically given to qualifying students. For more information, go to

Students who need sign language interpreters or other accommodations should contact the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at (408) 924-6000 as soon as possible, or at least two weeks prior to the first day of Early Start classes. For more information about obtaining accommodations through the AEC, go to

Students who fall into one or more of the following categories are excused from the Early Start requirement, regardless of their academic record:

  1. Non-residents of California (See for information on residency.)
  2. International students (F-1 and J-1 visas only)
  3. Students admitted after June 1st

In addition, students who have a serious and compelling reason for not participating in the program may petition for an exception to the requirement. Exceptions are granted only when program participation is impossible or would lead to undue hardship. (Summer vacation plans are not be considered grounds for an exception.) The petition can be found at For a petition to be approved, documentation will be required.

Students who do not satisfy their Early Start requirement may be sanctioned as outlined in the SJSU Early Start Expectations for Completion section of the web site, which can be found at