department menu

Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

Block Registration:   A registration tool used for first-time freshman students to ensure enrollment in the appropriate lower-division general education courses and enrollment in prerequisite courses for a declared major in the proper sequence.  Using block registration, entering students will be placed in a group of courses rather than registering for them individually.  Block registration helps students develop a sense of community with other students while also aiding colleges and departments in their planning.

CSU Graduation Initiative:   The California State University (CSU) Graduation Initiative, launched in January 2010,  is part of the nationwide Access to Success project of the National Association of System Heads (NASH) and The Education Trust. The CSU is among 24 public higher education systems across the nation that have pledged to cut the college-going and graduation gaps for low-income and minority students in half by 2016. Goals have been set by each of the CSU’s twenty-three campuses to raise the six-year graduation rates of our students to the top quartile of national averages for six-year graduation rates and to halve the existing achievement gap between our traditionally underrepresented students (URMs) and our non-traditionally underrepresented students (non-URMs). This six-year initiative also includes graduation targets for our transfer students. At Cal State San Marcos, a Graduation Initiative Steering Committee was formed to provide leadership and oversight for attaining the campus's goals.

Early Assessment Program:     The Early Assessment Program (EAP) is a collaborative effort among the State Board of Education (SBE), the California Department of Education (CDE) and the CSU. The program was established to provide opportunities for students to measure their readiness for college-level English and mathematics in their junior year of high school, and to facilitate opportunities for them to improve their skills during their senior year. The goal of the EAP program is to have California high school graduates enter the CSU fully prepared to begin college-level study. As background, more than 60 percent of the nearly 40,000 first-time freshmen admitted to the CSU require remedial education in English, mathematics or both. These 25,000 freshmen all have taken the required college preparatory curriculum and earned at least a B grade point average in high school. The cost in time and money to these students and to the State is substantial. Moreover, these students are confused by seemingly having done the right things in high school only to find out after admission to the CSU that they need further preparation.

“Early Start” Program:   On March 17, 2010, the CSU Board of Trustees adopted an "early start" policy to help students be better prepared in mathematics and English when they enter the CSU as incoming freshmen. Beginning in their senior year of high school, students will learn from their results on the Early Assessment Program about whether they are "CSU ready" in math and English. This information will help them choose from a variety of options to help them to become proficient in these subjects, and allow them to start immediately toward getting ready to start as CSU freshmen.

Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) Requirement and Exam:   The Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) requirement must be cleared in the first year of a student's first year of enrollment at California State University San Marcos.  Students who do not clear this requirement within their first year of enrollment at CSUSM will be disenrolled from the university and not allowed to return until they have done so. The Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) Placement Examination is designed to assess the skill levels of entering CSU students in the areas of mathematics typically covered in three years of rigorous college preparatory mathematics courses in high school (Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry). Please refer to the following website for additional information:

English Placement Test (EPT) Requirement and Exam:  The English Placement Test (EPT) requirement must be cleared in the first year of a student's enrollment at CSUSM.  Students who do not clear this requirement within their first year of enrollment at CSUSM will be disenrolled from the university and not allowed to return until they have done so. Please refer to the following website for additional information:

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP):    The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) is the University's first access and equity program. It exists to serve historically low-income and educationally disadvantaged undergraduate students by providing academic support services that will improve both the access and retention of this population in a university setting.  All EOP students are eligible for EOP grant consideration (distributed by the Financial Aid Office), provided the student has submitted and completed a current FAFSA, has fulfilled EOP requirements for the previous year, and pending the availability of funds.  Please refer to the following website for more information:

EOP’s Summer Bridge:    Educational Opportunity Program’s Summer Bridge is an intensive 5-week transition program offered to select first-time freshman EOP students. Students participating in Summer Bridge have the opportunity to get a head start on their general education coursework, improve math and writing skills, attend cultural activities, and build a network of support.  Please refer to the following website for more information:

First-time freshman (FTF)/First-Year (FY) student:  A student who has never attended a college or university after the summer following high school graduation.

First-Year (FY) Council:  A cross-divisional problem-solving and decision-making body formed to carry out action items developed through CSUSM’s participation in the Foundations of Excellence® in the First College Year program.  For information about Foundations of Excellence® at Cal State San Marcos, please refer to the following website:

MAPS – Mathematics Acceleration Program in the Summer:   MAPS is a program for students who want to enhance their math skills during the summer before their first semester of college. It is designed for incoming first-year students who did not pass the ELM. Students participate in a 6-week intensive summer mathematics program just prior to their first Fall semester. It combines an innovative on-line mathematics instruction tool, ALEKS, with highly individualized classroom instruction. Students retake the ELM exam at the end of the program and receive customized advising to insure placement in the correct math course for Fall. The small class size ensures plenty of time for one-on-one and small group instruction in a supportive environment.

San Marcos Experience (SME):    The San Marcos Experience provides an opportunity for 100 students to live together on campus, take General Education classes within a cohort, and have a customized academic and social enhancement program designed specifically for them. Please refer to the following website for more information about the program:

Summer Academy at Cal State San Marcos:    A program that provides students with the opportunity to get a head start on their transition to college and prepares them for success during the most critical year of their college experience. Three structured summer programs that stress academic excellence in English and mathematics while building community within a very supportive environment are offered for either 5- or 6-week sessions and meet daily, Monday through Thursday. Please refer to the following website for information about the program:

URM – Underrepresented Minority Students:   Underrepresented minority students are African Americans/ Blacks, Latino(a)s, and American Indians/ Native Americans.  (Definition based on the footnote at this website: