Running Start

Running Start is a program in which juniors and seniors who qualify may enroll in college level courses at Bellevue College, CWU Sammamish, Cascadia College, or Lake Washington Institute of Technology and earn high school and college credit concurrently. Lake Washington School District pays the college tuition for a specified number of credits taken; and students are usually responsible for fees, books, and transportation.
The application process begins in the early spring for the upcoming school year, and students must strictly adhere to the college deadlines in order to qualify. Information sessions are scheduled to help students and parents determine if this is a good choice for next year and to explain the steps necessary to participate in the program. Attendance at one of the information sessions is very important, and signatures from parents on the "Eastlake High School Running Start Agreement" are required before scheduling a time to talk with a counselor about the program.
Students are also required to attend a college orientation session, submit an application to the college and to EHS, and take an assessment test. Running Start students are subject to the same state, district, and Eastlake Graduation Requirements. Students enrolled in Running Start spring courses will not be given a diploma until an official transcript is received from the community college or school.

Running Start Enrollment Verification Form

In preparation for each new quarter registration, the Running Start Enrollment Verification Form needs to be completed and signed by student and parent in preparation for the appointment with the high school counselor. At the meeting with counselor, classes required for high school graduation are discussed, and the "Recommended Running Start Classes" section is completed. The student then takes the form to the Running Start office at the college prior to registering for classes.

EHS counselors held a Running Start Information session for students and parents on Wednesday, February 7th after school in the EHS Theater. Representatives were here from Central Washington University, Bellevue College, Lake Washington Institute of Technology to talk about their specific programs and the Running Start Process. If you were unable to attend, please see the links below to learn more about each of the programs and consider attending an orientation at the school of choice to get more information about next steps in the enrollment process.

In addition, students were asked to fill out the EHS Running Start Agreement form (coming soon). Please review this form with your student and or parent, sign, and return to your counselor by giving to Ms. Brown in counseling or putting it in the box on their door. This will put you on your counselor’s radar as interested in attending RS next fall.

For more information regarding Running Start programs please visit the following websites.


Should I do Running Start? Is it right for me?

Bellevue College and Central Washington University Sammamish have information sessions to fully explain the program, including potential benefits and risks. Everyone should plan to attend one of these as part of their application process to learn more. Schedules for these information sessions can be found on the Running Start section of their respective website. A few important issues to consider before deciding if Running Start is right for you:

Academic Skills

Academic traits necessary for success in college classes include highly organized self-management, proactive problem-solving, and self-advocating skills. Solid study habits, excellent test-taking and preparation skills, strong communication in written format under time constraints, and the ability to comfortably interact with adults are a must. Personal motivation for academic success and ability to get help when needed on your own are important.

Remember that you are entering a collegiate learning environment, a high-stakes test/essay performance-driven grading system, where only a handful of major tests/papers/projects will constitute your entire grade. Classroom participation and homework assignments represent a small portion of the overall grade if at all, but must be done to prepare for assessments

Personal Readiness

Personal Readiness:
A high level of maturity and goal-oriented academic motivation will bring success. In addition to deciding if your academic skill is a good fit to begin college early through the Running Start system, you must make a purely personal decision about how moving to a collegiate setting might change your high school experience and how your future college experience will be impacted by starting early. Running Start represents a significant environmental change. For students who thoroughly enjoy and are very involved in the traditional high school experience, this may be a painful shift that represents a loss. For students who feel they emotionally have grown past the high school social scene, who seek a more mature multi-generational environment, this can be a very positive change.
Do you love the traditional high school environment, or do you want an entirely different experience in an adult setting (average age at BC being 30 years old)? The average college student has a job, a busy day outside of school, and generally isn't seeking social interaction primarily with teens. At community college, you will be treated like an adult, and receive no special treatment or flexibility due to your Running Start designation. Be prepared to work hard and grow as a student, and to have to learn new strategies to succeed in a collegiate environment. You own the outcome, and parents cannot problem-solve on your behalf. Parents must trust that you can manage your education independently. You will start a permanent college-level transcript, which will impact your future plans and higher-level college prospects.


Please note that while Running Start can be an excellent opportunity for the right student, it can represent a serious risk for others. College instructors do not notify parents or high schools when a student is failing or not attending class. College instructors do not inform parents or the high school of student progress in college courses or whether a student has dropped the class. Poor performance in Running Start can result in significant loss of credit, permanent harm both high school and college transcripts, and dismissal from the Running Start program.

Transferring College Credit

Community college credits earned through Running Start are not guaranteed to apply to EVERY four-year college later. Transfer of credits depends on the four-year college you choose to attend. In-state public colleges are a part of the same higher education system as the community colleges, and have transfer credit guidelines established and posted for you to review.
Some private colleges and other states' public colleges will accept Running Start credit, and others will not -- the only way to know is to consult with each college of interest to you. Highly selective four-year colleges are much less likely to accept community college credits and generally prefer that a student stays in high school and takes AP classes and takes the AP exams for potential college.

Sounds great, how/when do I sign up?

Students are responsible for starting the application process with the community college they wish to attend within the application window that college offers. Each college has its own application process/timeline, and students should consult the college websites for details. The most common community college for our students is Bellevue College, and students should plan to consult the following website between mid-winter and spring breaks to initiate a BC Running Start application: Other community colleges like Central Washington University and Lake Washington Tech have their own individually-defined application processes, but the time frame is the same as BC's, and some version of placement testing or placement approval via HS transcript is a part of each college's application.

Once students have completed their applications and any other requirements of the college campus students will need to meet with their Counselor to have their HS Enrollment Verification form signed. For fall quarter, these meetings should occur in mid-May. For Winter quarter, these meetings should occur in early November. For Spring quarter, these meetings should occur in early February. In this meeting, the student and counselor discuss graduation requirements, course selection recommendations, and any other grade-level appropriate guidance topics. The signed HS Enrollment Verification is the Running Start student's responsibility to submit to the Running Start office based on the timeline provided to them by the college.

New Running Start students will then attend an orientation session at the college, and will register themselves in a group setting for their first quarter of classes. Registration after that first quarter will occur in an online "appointment" as long as proper paperwork has been submitted by stated deadlines to the colleges.

Now that I'm preparing to register, how do I decide which classes to take?

Priority 1: make a plan to meet your remaining high school graduation requirements.
Priority 2: plan other college-prep requirements and courses of interest around grad requirements. Nearly every high school grad requirement has an equivalent course at BC, consult the documents provided on the main page for details.
Courses completed at the community college are transcribed for grades and credit on both your high school and community college transcripts, and these grades will factor into your cumulative GPA on both transcripts.

How many credits can/should I take?

Washington state law dictates that students must meet a certain number of total classes across educational opportunities to meet overall "full-time student" status. Additionally, WA state law sets a cap for total number of credits that can be taken tuition-free through Running Start (incorporating any EHS classes into this equation). Counselors can provide more specific details, but generally speaking a full-time Running Start student will take 15 college credits each quarter (equivalent to 3.0 HS credits). Part-time Running Start students generally take either 2 classes at EHS and 2 at BC/CWU each quarter (2x2), though other options do exist. Consult your counselor for more specific information.

IMPORTANT - All students who are considering Running Start for next year need to register at EHS for all 7 classes.  If you are a current RS student you do not have to, it is only for new RS students.

Now that I am ready to start my first quarter, what else should I keep in mind?

You must have your own reliable transportation or your ability to attend will be compromised. If necessary, some find that they like public transportation and some don't. Depending on peers for a ride can often leave you without a reliable way to get to class or get home and people's schedules change. Class schedules change every three months for everyone and what works one quarter might not work the rest of the year. Running Start students are not given special consideration in the parking lottery. Part-time Running Start students are not given attendance leniency at either school, so students must carefully plan their schedules allowing for consistent attendance at all classes, accounting for travel times and Wednesday schedule.

Transitioning to a New Enviornment

Please be aware that starting college is a major transition and you will need time to adjust. We recommend that you allow yourself time and space in your first quarter or two to get used to the college environment, determining the work load and study commitment necessary for success before adding new obligations like a new job or increased hours in an existing job.

EHS is a Closed Campus

Students are not permitted on campus during the school day when they do not have a class scheduled, unless they have an appointment with a school official. This is to ensure that we can account for all students on campus in case of an emergency. Students with a part-time Running Start schedule may not arrive at EHS early and spend time in the Commons or Library doing homework, for example.