Running Start (R/S) is a partnership between high schools and community colleges in Washington State, and is funded by the state legislature. This program provides high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity to take college-level courses tuition-free.
Qualities held by Running Start Students:
- Highly motivated
- Have developed a solid educational foundation
College courses are faster paced and require more outside study as compared to most high school courses. The instructors generally expect two hours of work outside of class for each hour of instruction. Therefore, a full-time (15 college credits) R/S student would expect roughly 45 hours per week studying and attending classes.
Where can I attend?
Students may attend any Washington State Community College for Running Start. Those nearest to SWHS are Skagit Valley, Everett, Edmonds, and Cascadia.
What classes should I take?
Running Start funds will only cover courses that are 100 level or above.
Generally, students begin with courses in areas of their strengths. Psychology, sociology, speech, history, and art classes are often good places to start. Students often choose to jump directly into working on English and Math classes. Wherever you start, be sure you select college courses that will also serve to complete SWHS graduation requirements. You can also work to complete the requirements for an associate degree or certificate program at the same time.
If you have yet to complete U S History, Contemporary World Problems or English credits, be sure to discuss this with your School Counselor. You will need to take very specific courses at the community college to gain credit for these requirements.
How many courses may I take?
Running Start students may register for as many credits as the community college allows, but the program will only pay for a maximum of 15 credits each quarter (a full-time load). Part time Running Start students will divide their study between SWHS and the community college. Each five-hour (5.0 credit) course at the community college is equal to one (1.0) high school credit.
Students are eligible to participate in the Running Start program for six consecutive college quarters, starting with their junior year. If you do not use them, you lose them.
Please be aware that the community college and high school calendars are different (semesters vs. quarters)
How do I qualify?
To take part in the Running Start program, you must be under the age of 21, enrolled as a junior or senior at SWHS, have earned 15.0 or more credits, and meet all college eligibility requirements. Please see your school counselor for information, credit check, and a Running Start Contract of Understanding.
Am I automatically admitted?
No. Each community college has an admissions/placement test which will help determine whether you are ready for college-level work, which includes writing clearly and being able to read for full understanding.
How do I apply?
Each community college has a Running Start Application (which is different from the regular undergraduate application). You can get these applications on the community college websit. There will be an admissions/testing fee that you will be required to pay.
What will it cost me?
While in the Running Start program, you will be required to pay for all credits taken over the 15 credit maximum in any one college quarter, courses which fall below the 100 level, all book and lab fees, etc. You must also provide your own transportation and meals.
Who can advise me?
Your SWHS School Counselor can answer general questions about the Running Start Program and courses needed to meet SWHS graduation requirements. See the community college Running Start Advisor to answer questions about courses, available degrees, and other college related information.
Important notes about Running Start
If your college GPA drops below a 2.0, or you fail to complete a class (withdraw or fail), you will be placed on academic probation, which will cause your Running Start eligibility to be jeopardized.
VERY IMPORTANT: Not all colleges/universities (i.e. out-of-state) will accept Running Start transfer credits. We suggest that you call any colleges/universities that you plan to attend if they will accept the college credits you earned while participating in the Running Start program.