Counseling Center

Running Start

Running Start 2023-2024

About Running Start

Running Start is a program for High School Juniors and Seniors to take college classes at Washington two year colleges and earn high school and college credit at the same time.

As Running Start is a dual-credit academic program students receive both high school and college credit for these classes which can accelerate their progress through completing specific credit requirements for high school graduation and course requirements for a technical certification or Associate’s Degree.

Tuition is free for a maximum of 15 credits per quarter in college-level courses numbered 100 or higher. However, the number of college credits each student may take free of tuition costs depends on how many classes the student is concurrently taking at the high school. Students are responsible for tuition for pre-college courses (numbering below 100) and any credits that exceed their allowable limit. Students are responsible for the cost of books and transportation; however, fee waivers for these expenses (not including transportation) are available for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Students Please Note: Running Start students must take full responsibility for keeping up-to-date on what’s happening at Cleveland STEM HS, including important dates and deadlines (AP Tests, Senior Prom, Yearbook Portraits, Grad Ads, Ordering Graduation Supplies, Graduation Rehearsal Dates and Times, Senior Meetings and any other Senior related events).

Counselors will not meet with students individually for support with signing up for running start. For all information and support with signing up student must attend info sessions, lunch drop in times, and the mandatory running start /family meeting.

The mission of Running Start is to provide student services support to qualified high school students who are registered in college courses while following all Washington State Running Start laws and college policies and guidelines. We are able to serve our students and the college through:

  • Promoting academic success through advising and counseling sessions.
  • Promoting a successful transition from high school to college.
  • Offering college transfer and career advising and counseling.
  • Promoting Running Start through outreach to area high schools.
  • Supporting accessibility and equity of the Running Start Program for eligible students.
  • Students take responsibility for keeping up-to-date on what’s happening at Cleveland, including important dates and deadlines (State Assessments, PSAT, SAT, AP exams, school dances, ordering graduation supplies, graduation related events, senior class meetings)
  • Running Start is a year-long commitment. Students may not start or end mid-year.
  • All grades received will be added to the students high school and college transcripts
  • All grades received will be calculated into the studen?s GPA at their high school and college
  • Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA each quarter at the college, if they get below a 2.0 GPA the college will place them on academic probation, which may lead to withdrawal from the Running Start program

How can I prepare for Running Start in my 9th and 10th grade years?

Students should challenge themselves by taking the most rigorous high school courses available. By taking Honors level, AP, and higher level math classes, students will be more prepared to take on Running Start classes. Learning skills in organization, time management, advocacy, and communication can also help students in being prepared to learn in a college-level environment.

What type of classes can Running Start students take?

By placing into ENG 101 students are eligible to take many courses that include selections from social sciences, business, world language and others. Students must place into college level math to take math and science courses.

What is a typical schedule and could I attend full-time?

In one example, a part time student will take English 101and US history at the college, and is still able to take up to four classes at Cleveland. With this schedule students will not be enrolled in Humanities. In another example with a full time schedule, a student will take English 101, US History and Math and is able to take one class at Cleveland. Students may enroll in a combination of college and high school classes or attend full-time at the college. It is important for students to plan their schedule wisely leaving sufficient time for homework, transportation and other activities. Students who chose to be full-time at the college are still able to participate in any and all high school related activities such as sports, clubs, and school dances.

How are college credits awarded for high school credits?

Five college credits are equivalent to one high school credit. The letter grade you receive on your college transcript is the same letter grade that will go onto your high school transcript.

What are some of the advantages of the Running Start Program?

Students save time and money. A student who attends Running Start full time for two years could be eligible for an associate degree at the time of high school graduation through their college. Public Washington State colleges have agreed to accept college credits earned from Running Start. Students can experience college life early and be independent in their education. There are a broad selection of classes available through Running Start.

What are some of the challenges of the Running Start Program?

Some selective and out-of-state colleges will not accept Running Start college credits. Students may not qualify for some scholarships at four-year institutions. Schedule coordination and transportation may be difficult for students with courses at the high school and college. College holiday breaks may not coincide with SPS holiday breaks. Students pay for books, transportation, and additional mandatory fees. The classes are paced faster than in high school because colleges are on a quarter system whereas Cleveland is on a semester system. Courses that take a year to complete in high school are completed in 11 weeks at the college.

Running Start – Important Dates/Deadlines

Counselors WILL NOT meet with students individually for support with signing up for running start.
For all information and support with signing up student must attend info sessions, lunch drop in times, and the mandatory running start student/family meeting. Counselors will host Drop in support during lunch 3/15, 3/22, 3/29, 4/5, 4/19, 4/26 (In the Counseling Center).

Sophomores and Juniors interested in Running Start should attend an information session in the auditorium (attend 1).

  • Wednesday, February 15, 2023 during lunch in auditorium
  • Tuesday, February 28th, 2023 during lunch in auditorium
  • Tuesday, March 14, 2023 during lunch in auditorium

MANDATORY Student & Family Virtual Meeting!

Tuesday, 3/14/2023 6:00-7:00 -Mandatory Student/family RS Meeting ,

For those who missed the meeting( we have an attendance list) please watch the Mandatory Running Start Presentation and email your counselor you/parental guardian have watched it.

Mandatory Signing Dates (Choose 1) – This is where you will bring all completed paperwork to Counselors to sign off.

  • Tuesday, April 25, 2023 afterschool (3:45-4:45) in Library
  • Tuesday, May 2, 2023, during lunch in the Library
  • Tuesday, May 2, 2023 during advisory in the Library

What to bring to signing day completed: CHS Running Start Contract and MOU (Signed by student and parent), Running Start Course Plan Worksheet, Graduation Checklist, Running Start Enrollment Verification Form, Placement Test Results (English and or Math), Letter from Nutrition Services confirming eligibility for free reduced lunch ( if you are requesting a fee waiver to pay for college books and fees).


  • A High School Junior or Senior
  • Place into college level English OR math on the placement test (taken at the college)
  • Some colleges will accept your ACT, SAT, or high school transcript for placement in lieu of the placement test. Check the college websites for more information.

Enroll in Running Start

First Steps for Cleveland High School

  1. Review the Running Start materials provided on this page
  2. Attend one of the CHS Running Start Information Sessions in Feb or March
  3. Attend the Mandatory CHS Running Start Information session, March 14, register to get Teams meeting link
  4. Complete the Graduation Checklist to determine your remaining graduation requirements
  5. Complete the Running Start Course Plan Worksheet to map out your potential college schedule.
  6. Complete the CHS Running Start Contract and MOU
  7. Decide if you are part-time or full-time student.

Second Step for Running Start

  1. Apply online to either South, Central or North Seattle Colleges. It is free to apply to these colleges. Or speak to your counselor if you would like to apply elsewhere in WA.
    • In the application when asked what your intended major area of study is, please answer: Running Start.
    • Within two business days of submitting your application, you will receive an email with your Student ID (SID) number. Please save that email.
  2. Activate your ctcLink account.
  3. Take the Placement Test at the college (see specific college links below). You must place into English 101 or college level math to qualify.
    • Pay testing fee, bring photo ID, and Student ID number.
    • There are alternative testing scores colleges will accept such as SBAC, SAT or ACT. Review the “placement testing” section in the Running Start Contract.
  4. Attend one of the Running Start Signing Days on Campus to fill out your Running Start Enrollment Verification Form (RSEVF). You will also need to have the following completed and ready to submit to your high school counselor:
    • Completed Graduation Checklist
    • Completed Running Start Course Plan Worksheet
    • Signed CHS Running start Contract and MOU
    • Proof that you placed into English 101 or college level Math
    • Book loan/fee waiver form if applicable/ letter from nutrition services for proof of free reduced lunch
    • Running Start Enrollment Verification Form (RSEVF)
  5. Contact your college to schedule a registration appointment. Please bring the following materials:
    • Completed and signed Running Start Enrollment Verification form
    • College specific running start contract form signed by student and parent/guardian (different form CHS contract)
    • Copy of your placement scores or alternative placement documents
    • Book loan/fee waiver form signed by your high school counselor (if applicable)

Third Step for Attending Running Start

  1. Fill out this form to document the classes you are signed up for in Fall 2023
  2. Pay Course Fees- SPS covers tuition costs but students are responsible for paying course fees such as lab fees, online fees, program fees, etc.
  3. Purchase or rent books- Contact your college’s bookstore to determine what textbooks are required
  4. Services- Be sure to access the resources available to you at the college such as Advising, Tutoring and Disability Support Services

Once Enrolled

The college will send your grades to CHS at the end of each quarter to be posted on your transcript. If you need an official college transcript you will need to request and pay for an official copy from the college registrar where you took Running Start classes.

Please visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website to download a Running Start Enrollment Verification Form (RSEVF).

Request a Fee Waiver

For students who receive Free or Reduced Lunch, you are eligible for a Fee Waiver to pay for the Placement test and for books through Running Start.