Running Start FAQ's

  • Running Start is a partnership between Washington State high schools and community colleges, and is funded by the state legislature. This program provides high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity to take tuition-free college-level courses.

    Below are other helpful websites to help you plan your Running Start experience:

    Cascadia College Running Start Information Webpage

    Edmonds College Running Start Information Webpage

    Everett Community College Running Start Information Webpage

    Shoreline Community College Running Start Information Webpage

    Qualities held by Running Start Students:

      • Responsible
      • Highly motivated
      • Mature
      • Organized
      • Focused
      • 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 to spend roughly 45 hours per week studying and attending classes.

     Where can I attend?

    Students may attend Running Start at any Washington State Community College. Examples include Everett Community College, Edmonds College, and Cascadia College.

     What classes should I take?

    Running Start funds will only cover 100 level courses 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 can also choose to jump directly into working on English and Math classes. Wherever you start, be sure you select college courses that will complete district 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 Washington State History, U.S. History, Civics, or English credits, be sure to discuss this with your high 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 21 credits each quarter (a full-time course load is 15 credits). Part-time Running Start students will divide their studies between their high school 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 the 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 in high school, and meet all college eligibility requirements. Fifth-year seniors are eligible under certain conditions. Please see your counselor for information.

    Am I automatically admitted?

    No. Each community college has an admissions process which helps determine whether a student is ready for college-level study. Before admitting students, community colleges want to be sure they are capable of doing college-level work, which includes writing clearly and being able to read for full understanding.

    How do I apply?

    Each community college has their own Running Start Application process (which is different from the regular student application). See the college Running Start webpage for more information. There may be a required testing fee.

    What will it cost me?

    While in the Running Start program, you will be required to pay for all book and lab fees, parking permits, transportation, additional fees, and credits taken over the credit maximum in any one college quarter, etc. You must also provide your own transportation and meals.

    Who can advise me?

    Counselors can answer general questions about the Running Start Program and courses needed to meet district graduation requirements. See the college Running Start Advisor to answer questions about courses, available degrees, transfer questions and other college related issues.

    Important Notes about Running Start

    If your college GPA drops below a 2.0, or you fail to compete a class (withdraw or fail), you will be placed on academic probation, which will cause your Running Start eligibility to be jeopardized.

     ** Not all colleges/universities (e.g., out-of-state) will accept Running Start credits for transfer.

    It is suggested that you contact any colleges/universities you may consider attending in the future to learn if they accept credits from other colleges.