Early Start Program (ESP)

The appeals process for having missed the ELM/EPT and/or Early Start is closed.  Domestic students living in the US who have not taken the ELM/EPT or who have missed Early Start sign-ups can contact us for next steps for enrollment opportunities in future semesters.  We look forward to working with you.





Note: The deadline to take the ELM/EPT has passed for US Citizens living in the US.

Early Start Overview

Students place into first-year developmental math and/or English based on a variety of measures that can include CAASPP/SBAC, SAT, ACT, AP, IB, ELM and/or EPT scores as well as senior-year math coursework. The CSU system supports California residents who place into these developmental courses by requiring them to take summer prep courses. We call this “Early Start.”

Remember, students who have proven college readiness through SAT/ACT/AP/IB scores or SAT/ACT scores plus approved senior-year English and/or math do not take Early Start and are not required to take the EPT and/or ELM. The first links below lead to helpful PowerPoint slides on Early Start.


Please see our FAQs section here.

Early Start English

Early Start English (ESE 99) is a one-unit course available in-person or online. This four-day course has sections starting throughout the summer. In addition to orienting students to college-level reading and writing, this course includes the Directed Self Placement (dsp.sfsu.edu) that guides students in choosing their first-year English course.

Early Start Math

Early Start Math (ESM 40, 60, and 70) has many options. ESM 60 and 70 are in-person eight-week summer courses that, when students earn a C or above, fulfill both Early Start and developmental requirements. ESM 40, a one-unit, self-paced online course, only fulfills Early Start requirements. It opens up July 11th and runs until 5pm, August 9th.  Students must complete the final exam by 5pm on August 9th.  To see a preview of ESM 40, please visit the Westcott Courses webpage on this course.

Course Schedule Info for Summer 2017

Download the Course Schedule for Summer 2017.  Students who wish to receive this information in other formats should contact us at develops@sfsu.edu.


AB 540 Students

AB 540 students/Dream Act students are not required to take Early Start courses.  Those who wish to enroll in Early Start courses voluntarily can sign up by completing the secure AB540 Sign Up Form.  Additionally, students can sign up during new student orientation by going to the Early Start tables after checking in.  Please contact the department (develops@sfsu.edu) with questions.

Out of State and International Students

Early Start is a California State requirement; therefore, out of state students and international students do not need to take these courses.  (These students are still required to take first-year developmental courses should their test scores place them there.)

US Citizens and Permanent Residents Living Abroad

Please contact us at develops@sfsu.edu to discuss the process.  In short, if you are in the area in the summer and can complete all domestic student requirements, do so.  If you are living abroad in the summer, there is a process to join the international students at their orientation and at their test dates.

Students with Documented Disabilities

If you are a student who is seeking accomodations, please contact our Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) at dprc@sfsu.edu or 415-338-2472.

Veterans and Dependents of Veterans

If you are a veteran or a dependent of a veteran, please contact Benjamin Yang, byang@sfsu.edu, SSB 206, Fax 415-338-6707

To explore the fee waiver process:
     Obtain a Cal Vet Fee Waiver letter for 2016/2017 academic year from your local county Veterans Service Office.
     Submit the letter to Benjamin Yang at SFSU’s Veterans Services Center