Students ‘Early Start’ for CSU preparation

Susan Murray

The Board of Trustees has voted to have all California State University (CSU) systems develop their own “Early Start” program to better prepare students in English once they enter the CSU system.

Maureen Rubin, director of undergraduate studies said even though the Board of Trustees recently voted to start a new “Early Start” program across all CSU’s, CSUN already has its own “Early Start” program.

“Our program was initiated four years ago,” Rubin said. “We have an excellent model program. The students who take developmental courses accompanied with university 100 are more successful than the students who don’t.”

Eric Fallis, media relations specialist for the CSU, said the Early Start initiative has been adapted for the entire CSU system.

“The CSU is in many ways a national leader on issues of remediation and graduation,” Fallis said.

High school junior Brendon Crockett, 17, class of 2011 at Chester Junior and Senior High School in Chester, Calif. said he is not in favor of what the government expects from students out of school.

“This program has potential in being successful but not in a way that will create more critical and logical thinkers,” Crockett said. “I am not a strong believer in standardized tests but if that’s what it is going to take to get into college then it’s great to have the awareness of what to expect.”

High school students will take tests to determine how prepared they are and will have their entire senior year and summer to obtain results without delaying their admission, said Rubin.

Fallis said the Early Start program seeks to help students be better prepared when they enter CSU schools as incoming freshmen.

“This program is a great opportunity for students to get up to speed on math and English so that they have the best chance for success in their CSU education,” Fallis said. “At the university level, we will be looking into best practices from existing programs. One of the existing Summer Bridge Programs is at CSUN.”

Rosie Martinez, administrative support assistant for the Summer Bridge Programs, said for a student to be eligible in one of the Summer Bridge Programs they must meet certain requirements.

“The student must be a first generation college student and they must be low income,” Martinez said.

Fallis said this program is important because results are showing students are not prepared for college.

“About 60 percent of first-time freshmen enrolling at CSU’s each year do not show entry-level proficiency in math and English assessments, even though they have earned at least a B average in the required college preparatory curriculum,” Fallis said.

Rubin said the key to success in these programs is to understand that each individual freshman has different needs.

“We’re all about creating a student friendly option,” Rubin said. “The program does cost money. It’s the same as the regular summer university fees.”

Crockett said if all goes as planned he will be attending college and believes students should be tested in other non-traditional ways.

“Naturally no one enjoys taking test usually because of the stress, occasions of having a bad day, or not a comfortable environment to focus in, but I think everyone can agree that it does not make the person stupid or less worthy of a higher income,” Crockett said.

Fallis said students will be better prepared for college-level, degree oriented coursework starting from the first day of the fall term.

“Ultimately, this will help students make faster progress toward earning their college diploma,” Fallis said.

Martinez said Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) helps students for a variety of reasons. Some reasons include not being able to score high enough on their scholastic aptitude tests (SAT), not passing their English Placement Test (EPT) or the Entry Level Math (ELM) test.

“A lot of students are not college bound and we act as an academic and mentoring program for the students who aren’t familiar with college life,” Martinez said.
Fallis said he believes firmly in this program and the CSU system.

“We are the largest, the most diverse, and one of the most affordable public university systems in the country,” Fallis said.