Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Early Start Classes: Your Ticket to Success

Recently we talked about being exempted out of the Early Start Program through qualifying test scores, but what happens to students who aren't exempt through testing?  What’s their next step?

Students who do not have a qualifying score on the SAT, ACT, or AP tests and do not pass the Entry Level Math Test (ELM) with a 50 or higher or the English Placement Test (EPT) with a 138 or more have to enroll in an Early Start experience.  Let's look at how Early Start will work:
  • Students who are determined to need Early Start in math and English must register for an Early Start course in each subject.  If students only need Early Start in English, they only have to register for an English course. Likewise, students who only need a math experience, only have to register for a math ESP course. 
  • Every CSU campus is developing Early Start courses and students may take Early Start courses at any CSU campus they choose.  Students will be able to select courses that are held on campus, online or a hybrid of both.
  • Registration for Early Start classes will be done through an online Smart Page to be linked through your University portal.
  • Early Start classes will cost $180 per unit plus material fees. 
  • Fee waivers for Early Start classes will be available for students whose Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is less than $5,000.
  • Students who are required to participate in an Early Start experience, but do not register may be disenrolled or prevented from enrolling in their fall classes.
The best action steps students can take is to watch for communications from their University about Early Start.  Checking University portal and email accounts on a regular basis is great way to stay up to date.  Remember, enrolling in Early Start is your ticket to success. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gone Fishin'

Nicholas Carrico and Matt Wetmore show off their catch at this year's National Guard FLW College Fish even at Clear Lake. (Photo by David A. Brown)
 Did you know that Chico State boasts an award winning Bass Fishing Team?  That's right!  Check out the fun-filled story of Bryce Hayes' experience.  Chico State really has something for everybody! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Starting Smart

It’s a truth universally acknowledged, that the early bird catches the worm and this especially true when preparing for university. Hopefully students and parents have begun to hear rumblings of the new statewide initiative called the Early Start Program.  In a nutshell, the CSU Broad of Trustees has mandated that from fall 2011 onward, any in-state, first-time freshman admitted to any CSU campus must demonstrate college readiness in Math and English or begin their remediation prior to enrollment.  In other words, they must get an Early Start on their success in college.

Historically nearly 60% of freshmen admitted to the CSU have been deemed not ready for college level Math and English.  This is true even for students who were in the top one-third of their high school graduating classes!  Doing remediation at the university is an expensive undertaking for everyone involved.  The University must provide specialized courses and students must invest time and money in classes that are often repeats of high school material.  This is particularly frustrating when students realize that remedial courses done at the university do not apply towards graduation or major requirements.

What’s a savvy student to do?  Early preparation is the key to success!  Ideally students will avoid remediation by testing out of the Early Start Program and there are lots of ways to do this.  Juniors can get a jump on gaining exemptions by passing the Early Assessment portion of the California Standards Test.  The CST is administered in the spring at most California public schools and EAP results can be found online via the CSU English and Math Success website.  All is not lost if you don’t pass the EAP; qualifying test scores in the SAT, ACT, AP or CSU English Placement Test (EPT) and Entry Level Math Test (ELM) will also make you exempt.  We’ve created this handy chart for you outlining Early Start exemptions scores in more detail.  What happens if you aren’t exempt through testing?  How will you meet the Early Start requirement?  Stay tuned for the next blog post when I’ll go into detail about Early Start summer classes. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.