Questions common for incoming students

Note that these FAQs have not yet been updated with the policy changes for 2018-19.  Please contact Andrew Brosnan at abrosnan@sfsu.edu with concerns or questions.
For FAQs just on our summer Early Start Program, please see our FAQ tab underneath our Early Start Section.





How do I make sure I am college-ready in English and math?

See our EAP page.

How do I know if I have to take California State University's EPT/ELM placement tests?

See our EAP page.

What do I do if I miss the last ELM/EPT test?

If you experienced extenuating circumstances, complete the appeals form and email it to Andrew Brosnan at abrosnan@sfsu.edu with an explanation of why you missed the deadline and with proof you have signed up for the next available ELM/EPT. Appeals are granted on a case-by-case basis.

Accessiblity can be provided on demand. Contact staff at develops@sfsu.edu with requests for accessible documents.

Who takes SF State's Directed Self Placement (DSP) in English and when?

Every SF State student who has not earned college credit for ENG 114 must take the DSP. Students who are taking ESE 99 as part of their Early Start requirement do the DSP within that course.  All other students should complete it before their new student orientation date, or, if not attending orientation, before the date to sign up for courses.

How do I know if I need to take Early Start?

California residents who have not demonstrated college readiness with SAT, ACT or other scores AND who have earned 48 or below on the ELM or 146 or below on the EPT, are required to take Early Start courses.

How do I know which Early Start course to sign up for?

See the grid within the Developmental Coursework section of this website.

How do I sign up for Early Start Courses?

See the Early Start Sign up page of this website.

Why should I attend New Student Orientation?

In addition to being introduced to school resources and policies, students receive an earlier registration date than the general freshmen population--as well as assistance in registering.  This means orientation students have more choice of courses and times--and are more likely to sign up for the right courses as advisors are there in person to help. See New Student Programs page for more info.

What should I bring to New Student Orientation?

  • Unofficial copy of high school transcript
  • Unofficial copy of any college transcript (if took college courses)
  • Vaccination records if not already submitted
  • Any other item requested by your "To Do" list or other department

What if I can't make it to New Student Orientation?

Questions common for continuing students

Why do I need to take developmental math if I covered the topics in high school Algebra 2/Math 3?

To be as consistent as possible, the CSU mainly uses test scores (high school CAASPP/SBAC, SAT, ACT, AP, IB, and CSU's ELM) for placement.  There are multiple opportunities to demonstrate college readiness in math--students only need to perform at college-level on one of those tests.  Scoring below college ready on multiple tests suggests that students do not currently have the mastery of the material necessary to succeed in quantitative reasoning courses at the CSU.

Why is my math course so heavy on group work?

SF State wants to help students move beyond memorization of formulas.  Solving problems in groups helps students develop the reasoning skills that will benefit them not only in future math courses, but any courses that require systematic problem-solving.  We realize it may be a new style of learning, so be sure to ask instructors, tutors (carp.sfsu.edu), and our department for advice.

How do I sign up for tutoring?

Visit either the Learning Assistance Center (general daytime hours) or the Campus Academic Resource Center (afternoon to evening hours).  They are next door to each other at HSS 348 and HSS 344.

I am having life challenges. How do I get advising or referrals?

Email us at develops@sfsu.edu to ask questions or make an appointment.  (We are in ADM 211.)

What happens if I don't complete my developmental math and/or English courses within my first two semesters?

You must meet with an advisor to discuss the appeals process. Students who entered Fall 2016 should contact us for updates to this policty. (Accessiblity can be provided on demand. Contact staff at develops@sfsu.edu with requests for accessible documents.)

What if my appeal is denied or, if while on appeal, I fail to complete the course(s)?

Students then immediately have two consecutive semesters to leave SF State and complete the requirment elsewhere using this process for planned time away from campus.  Students who do not complete within two semesters must go earn 60 units elsewhere and apply as a junior transfer student in order to return to SF State.  (Accessiblity can be provided on demand. Contact staff at develops@sfsu.edu with requests for accessible documents.)

Questions common for international students

When do I take the ELM/EPT?

In general, international students living abroad take the ELM/EPT during international student orientation in August.  Please see the ELM/EPT website to schedule an out of state test or test in California should you be in the area before August.

Why do I have to take the EPT, DSP, and CMSPT?

The EPT is a California State English test for all students attending a CSU.

The DSP is a specific guidance system that helps students know which English to take their first year: accelerated, stretch or multilingual.

The CMSPT helps students who choose the multi-lingual track to know which multilingual English course to begin with.  (Mutlilingual English courses are not ESL courses, but instead college-level composition courses that support speakers of other languages.)

Questions common for US citizens and permanent residents living abroad

How do I take the EPT/ELM placement tests outside of the US?

Please see the ELM/EPT website to schedule an out of state test or test in California should you be in the area before August.  If you are living abroad, contact both New Student Programs at nsp@sfsu.edu and Developmental Studies at develops@sfsu.edu to ask to attend the international student orientation in August, when you can take your placement tests.

What if I still have questions?

Contact us at develops@sfsu.edu.