Early Entrance Program (CSU)

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The Early Entrance Program (EEP) is an early college entrance program for gifted individuals of middle-school and high school ages at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) based on a similar program of the same name at the University of Washington, Seattle campus. The program allows participants to skip normal schooling and become full-time, degree-seeking college students. Although there are a number of early college entry programs, EEP is the only one of its kind in the United States in promoting a direct transitional scheme from middle and high school to college without intermediary remedial education. Recently, EEP has attracted national media attention. Applicants to EEP now come from all over the United States as well as international locales.

Director[edit]

The Director of the Early Entrance Program is in charge of all EEP's operations. This position can be compared to a combination of an American high school principal and an academic advisor/counselor. The current Director is Richard Maddox, EdD, who has his doctorate from the University of Southern California (USC) in Educational Psychology. Maddox is responsible for the current EEP design, and has been the director of the Program since the 1995-1996 academic year. He has also encouraged EEP publicity, projecting it to nationally recognized status.

Application Process[edit]

Every year, approximately 100 gifted students from all over the United States apply to EEP. However, each fall, only 25-40 applicants are admitted, after being screened by the ACT (American College Test) or the SAT and undergoing a rigorous assessment period called a "Provisional Quarter." The screening test used to be the WPCT (the Washington Pre-College Test).

American College Test[edit]

About the ACT[edit]

An EEP applicant's first step is taking the American College Test (ACT) OR the SAT. The ACT is a standardized test for high school achievement and college admissions in the United States produced by ACT, Inc.[1] It was first administered in fall 1959 by Everett Franklin Lindquist as a competitor to the College Board's Scholastic Aptitude Test, now the SAT Reasoning Test.[2] Some students who perform poorly on the SAT find that they perform better on the ACT and vice versa.[3] The ACT test has historically consisted of four tests: English, Math, Reading, and Science reasoning. In February 2005, an optional writing test was added to the ACT, mirroring changes to the SAT that took place later in March of the same year. All four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. accept the ACT,[4] but different institutions place different emphases on standardized tests such as the ACT, compared to other factors of evaluation such as class rank, G.P.A., and extracurricular activities. If the ACT is taken at one of two annual testings administered at CSULA, the applicant does not complete the writing portion. The applicants to CSULA's PACE program also take this test. To qualify for the EEP, an applicant must score 23 or higher on the Math section and 24 or higher on the English section. To qualify with the SAT the applicant must score above a 510 on both the Critical Reading and Math sections.

Taking the ACT[edit]

Each school year, the ACT is held in December and April at California State University. EEP is in charge of organizing and proctoring these two testings. EEPsters volunteer to assist in the administration of the exam. On average, approximately three hundred fifty students take the ACT in December and four hundred students in April. The location for both testings is Martin Luther King Hall at CSULA. Some years, when there are less applicants(i.e. 2009), there is only one testing.

ACT Scores[edit]

Scores for the ACT are mailed to the home of students usually one to two weeks after the date of the test. similar to the SAT, the maximum score of each portion of the test is 36. To quality for application to EEP, the student must have a minimum of 23 points in Mathematics and 22 points in the English section.

After these requirements are met, ACT scores have no influence over the application process. In other words, an applicant to EEP with a score of 33 will have no advantage over another student who scored 25.

First Provisional Interview[edit]

The first step of applying to the Early Entrance Program (after passing the Washington Pre-College Test) is scheduling an interview with the Early Entrance Program Director. At this interview, prospective candidates are informed briefly about the application process and the Pre-Summer Orientation. Most students pass the interview.

Provisional Family Orientation[edit]

Every prospective student (usually referred to as "Provisionals" or "Provies") is required to attend an orientation with every other candidate for the program, as well as parents. This orientation usually occurs in late May and is coordinated by the EEP Director. Students at this orientation receive information about the various aspects of the summer application process.

Provisional Summer Quarter[edit]

The Provisional Summer Quarter is both an evaluation process and a taste of what EEP life is like for all Provisional students. Provies must take 2 academic classes at CSULA and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA for the summer quarter (which spans approximately 11 weeks). Provisionals also are encouraged to spend time in the EEP Lounge (Fine Arts 218-219) interacting with other provisionals and regular students.

There are three Provisional Freshmen Orientations that take place during the summer quarter. Unlike the Pre-Summer Orientation, these orientations are for provisional students without their parents. At the beginning of the summer during these meetings, every provisional selects a Mentor Group. Mentors are regular students in the program that volunteer to help Provies with the summer application process by assisting and assessing them.

Advancement to Candidacy[edit]

Around eighth week of the provisional quarter, anywhere from 25 to 40 students who are strong candidates for the program are advanced to EEP candidacy status, with an additional waitlist of five to ten students. Under normal circumstances, these students are admitted to the EEP and begin classes at CSULA in the following Fall quarter. However, it is still possible for a candidate to be disqualified before being officially accepted to the EEP (usually due to poor class performance), in which case the candidate's spot is taken by a wait-listed student.

The Students of EEP[edit]

There are approximately 150 students in the Early Entrance Program, known as "EEPsters". As in American high schools, EEPsters in their first year at EEP are referred to as "Freshmen", second year as "Sophomores", third year as "Juniors", and fourth year and above as "Seniors" or "Elders". Although EEP is designed to be a five-year program, some students stay in EEP more than or less than five years to earn their degree. After three years students are promoted to the status of Elders which may be equated to the upperclassman of high school environments. EEPsters are an eclectic (and eccentric) bunch, and are derived from a variety of social, ethnic, and economical backgrounds. These varied personalities all contribute to a unique environment often considered a social asylum for most applicants from the would-be ills of a regular secondary school.

Adjusting to University Life[edit]

Although initial concerns regarding adjustment run rampant, several intermediary steps are taken to ensure a smooth transition from a secondary school setting to university life. EEPsters on campus share a common abode in the affectionately dubbed Lounge, or 'EEP room', which, for the initial years, serves as a social hive in which EEPsters can work, socialize, or merely relax. This, in addition to the relatively small and exclusive nature of the program, results in a close-knit consequence of 'everybody-knowing-everybody' and certainly never a paucity of human interaction—or dull moments. Additional preparatory steps have been taken in recent years, including the addition of a Study Hall to freshmen curricula. All EEP students are supported by a full-time staff, which consist of Nicole P., the Student Counselor, Nora, the Student Assistant. Ultimately, with the aid of a familial environment, and the omnipresence of guidance from EEP Elders and the patriarch-like Richard Maddox, most freshmen adjust quickly to collegiate life. Older EEPsters usually work to expand their social schemata, and become active participants in university life, assimilating inconspicuously into roles of community service, organizations, and student governments.

EEPsters and CSULA[edit]

The EEPsters have great opportunities and are encouraged to socialize with each other and other university students. In fact, they have participated greatly in many of CSULA's on campus clubs and organizations including General Education Honors Club, Associated Students Incorporated (ASI Student Governance) and multiple research laboratories.

EEP Club[edit]

Founded several years ago by EEP students, the Early Entrance Program Club (EEP Club) serves as a student government for the EEP population. EEP Club sponsors free tutoring for all EEPsters and coordinates various social events as well. EEP Club has flourished over the past 11 years under the leadership of Harry B., Jackson V., Herbert L., Andrew P., Pam L., Cory O., Margaret L., Millie G., John S., Jaquelyn Y., Adrian B., Grant J., Samuel H., and Andre L. The incumbent EEP Club President is Paolo Argüelles.

External links[edit]