CUNY Start



About CUNY Start

CUNY Start is an intensive and low cost 18-week program that prepares associate degree-seeking students by increasing their proficiency levels in English and math and preparing them for college-level coursework in a collaborative, student-centered environment

Building on high school and high school equivalency-level math skills, Pre-College Math focuses on more complex topics in algebra. Topics include functions in new settings and the manipulation of expressions. Understanding is maximized through in-depth study of core math concepts in an interactive, supportive learning environment.

Through an interdisciplinary curriculum, you will build key reading and writing skills and broaden your general background knowledge. Skill development includes argumentative and analytic writing, and college-level reading and study skills.

Develop your academic identity and learn about college structures and campus resources. College advisement will help you align your career goals with educational requirements and prepares you for academic achievement and graduation.


To be eligible for CUNY Start, you must:

  • Complete all CUNY Admissions requirements, be accepted to LaGuardia, and be eligible to register for classes
  • Have developmental needs in English and Math based on the CUNY proficiency index score
    Attend a CUNY Start information session and interview with a staff member
  • Submit a copy of your high school, high school equivalency or foreign high school diploma (must be evaluated by CUNY).
  • Be able to commit to an intensive academic schedule

Program Benefits

  • Improve your writing and math skills and be better prepared for college-level work
  • Up to two opportunities to fulfill your developmental needs
  • Low cost: $75 per semester, including books, materials, tutoring and advisement
  • Save financial aid and spend less time in developmental courses


MATH Start

Do you need to increase your math proficiency before starting credit classes? MATH Start can help! Click here to learn more.



Justine Figueroa

Building confidence for success with CUNY Start

Justine Figueroa came to CUNY Start, an intensive pre-college preparation program that focuses on reading, writing and math skills as well as success strategies, to get the confidence she needed before delving into her degree studies. “What really helped me was the support of the teachers and staff, and I knew that I wanted to implement that in my Human Services major,” says Justine. “I made sure that I asked questions and followed up with advisors. When I left CUNY Start, I created a plan so that I basically had an idea of what I wanted to achieve for myself.”

This foundation helped Justine succeed in college. She made Dean’s List every semester and received a Guttman Scholarship to help pay for her studies at a four-year school after graduating from LaGuardia. She also gained the self-confidence to become a Peer Advisor at LaGuardia, which entailed helping fellow students understand program curricula as well as sharing knowledge and resources to assist them in navigating the college.

At Hunter College, Justine completed internships with Meals on Wheels and Visiting Nurse Service of New York, working with individuals with substance abuse issues at the latter. She also conducted empowerment and mentoring workshops for incarcerated youth at Rikers Island before graduating with a Bachelor of Social Work Degree. She plans to continue working to help people through social justice and community organizing, with a particular interest in human rights issues.

Reflecting on her time at LaGuardia, Justine says, “It was a great experience because you had individuals who wanted to help you become your best self, and they would hold you accountable. This was a lesson for me.”



(718) 482-5137


In person:
29-10 Thomson Avenue, Room C415
Long Island City, NY 11101



This full-time day program meets 25 hours per week, Monday through Friday. Fall classes start in September and Spring classes start in March, and each session is 18 weeks long, which is equivalent to one full semester. If you have been admitted to LaGuardia Community College but have not yet registered for courses, ask your college advisor about CUNY Start or contact CUNY Start directly at

Both the college’s developmental courses and CUNY Start build the skills needed for college-level study. The advantage of CUNY Start is that study is intensive – 25 hours per week.

You will reduce or eliminate your need to take additional developmental courses, and you will also be able to begin taking credit courses. This will help you get on track to earning your college degree in a timely fashion and being better prepared to succeed in college-level studies.

Students who take several developmental courses and use their financial aid to pay for them may run out of financial aid before completing a college degree. However, CUNY Start is a low cost program (only $75) that allows you to save your financial aid award for college credit courses.

Our program aims to alleviate the financial burden of having to pay full cost for developmental courses. This way you can use your financial aid award for credit-bearing courses that count towards your degree.

Our program is evidence based and shows that students tend to build a stronger academic foundation if they focus exclusively on developmental courses for the semester. CUNY Start students do not register for other courses during their time in the program.


For more information about CUNY Start and campus resources, please visit:


CUNY Start/MATH Start have developed various partnerships to ensure you have the resources and support you need to be successful in college.

Click here to learn more.