Start is a program approved by the Washington legislature which
allows qualifying high school juniors and seniors to take classes
at Clark College which count toward high school graduation requirements
and also earn college credit. The tuition is paid by the school district based on the number of classes you are taking (if any) at the high school or Skills Center.
Each quarter that you are in Running Start, you must complete an Enrollment Verification Form, have it signed by your high school counselor and parent, and bring it to the Running Start office or the Columbia Tech Center. Running Start students attend regular Clark classes during the day
or in the evening, along with other college students.
College credit is granted upon completion of the course requirements,
and these credits normally transfer to most colleges and universities.
enrollment at Clark College creates your official college transcript.
College transcripts are considered confidential information and
are released to no one, including parents, without your
permission. At the end of each quarter, your grades are mailed to
your high school and included in your high school GPA. Credits also
apply to high school graduation according to individual school district
You can choose from a full range of academic and professional/technical courses as long as they are college-level (numbered 100
or higher) and you meet the qualifying criteria. Your high school
counselor can tell you which courses at Clark are accepted by your
high school to meet specific graduation requirements, such as junior English or senior social studies.
Running Start is not for everyone. It requires college-level
skills and college-level maturity. Successful Running Start
students are generally self-motivated, emotionally mature, and looking
for additional academic challenges. They also have excellent study
and time management skills. The college is an adult environment and there may be topics of an adult nature discussed in the classroom. Subject matter will not be changed because there are minors in the classroom.
Should I do Running
Start or AP (Advanced Placement)? or IB (International Baccalaureate?
or Honors classes?
There are advantages to all of the programs listed above. Much depends
on whether you want to challenge yourself in the high school environment
or want a different learning environment, such as Clark College.
You should contact the university that you plan to attend to ask about their acceptance policies for these programs.
Running Start is not 100% free. Running Start students pay for books, transportation, and some miscellaneous class fees. Limited textbook assistance and fee waivers are available for those with financial need. The tuition is paid by the school district based on the formula on the Enrollment Verification Form which must be signed by your high school counselor each quarter. Running Start only covers a specific number of credits. It is dependent upon how many classes you are taking at your high school or the Skills Center. Running Start will not pay for courses numbered below 100.
I need to find my own transportation to the college to attend classes?
Yes. If you do not have a car or a driver’s license, there is a special
bus pass for students who are enrolled at Clark College. It’s called
and is available to all students, including Running Start. This is
a good option to avoid the parking challenges at Clark College. Purchase information for the BackPASS is on the Security and Safety page.
home-schooled and private-schooled students participate in Running Start?
Yes. You must enroll through a local public high school in Washington and must be considered a junior or senior. You do not have to attend classes in the public high school
in order to participate in Running Start, but you must have an Enrollment Verification Form signed by the appropriate high school counselor or designee each quarter.
is junior or senior standing determined for home-schooled students who want to participate in Running Start?
It is the responsibility of the school district to establish
grade placement criteria for home-schoolers who want to access Running Start. Some schools consider age appropriateness;
others review credits and prior learning. In other cases, a standardized
achievement test may be used in the absence of adequate documentation
of a student’s home-based education.
Click on the link "Application and Testing Instructions" on the Running Start website. Print, read, and follow the instructions carefully, and bring photo ID to the test. You will take a placement test called "COMPASS" which is untimed, computerized, and multiple-choice. You will receive your test scores immediately. If you have BOTH college-level Writing AND Reading scores, as defined in the instructions, you qualify for Running Start and can take courses numbered 100 or higher at Clark College. The College Algebra test is optional, and determines whether you are eligible for college-level Math. If you are not, you should continue to take Math at your high school and re-test in College Algebra at a later time. If you qualify at college-level on all three parts of the test (Writing, Reading, and College Algebra), you have the choice of taking all your classes at Clark College.
you ask for my Social Security Number in order to apply to the college?
To comply with federal laws, we are
required to ask for your Social Security Number (SSN) or individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
We will use your SSN/ITIN to report Hope Scholarship/Life Time tax credit, to administer state/federal
financial aid, to verify enrollment, degree and academic transcript records, and to conduct institutional
research. If you do not submit your SSN/ITIN, you will not be denied access to the college; however, in
accordance with state law (RCW 28B.10.042) and federal law (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act),
the college will protect your SSN from unauthorized use and/or disclosure.
What if I
only qualify on the Math part of the test and not all three parts?
you qualified on the College Algebra section only, and not both Writing and Reading, you will be restricted to Math related courses that require a specific Math score (such as Math, Chemistry, and Physics courses). If a course does not state a Math requirement, Running Start will not pay for it (such as PE, History, etc.), unless you have college-level scores in BOTH Writing AND Reading. You can retest on Writing and/or Reading if you go to the Assessment Center and pay $15.00* per part of the test. * All fees are subject to change.
After your initial test you can retest at any time before the quarterly deadline on any or all three parts (Writing, Reading, or College Algebra). You do not need to wait to take your first retest. You can retest any time that the Assessment Center is open; no appointment is needed.
The retest cost is $15.00* per part of the test. Go to the Assessment Center in the Penguin Union Building to initiate the retest process. Photo ID is required of all examinees at test time. You should allow at least 45 minutes for each part of the test. This is a walk-in test; you will be accommodated on a first come, first serve basis.
After the first retest, you still have the right to retest again if you are not satisfied with your results, but you will need to wait three months before your next retest and pay an additional $15.00* for each part of the test. * All fees are subject to change.
qualify on the Running Start test, what are the next steps?
Eligible students must bring their test scores to the Running Start office in Gaiser Hall and follow the remaining steps in the "Application and Testing Instructions."
Each quarter you need to meet with your high school counselor to “forecast”
for your Running Start classes on an Enrollment Verification Form. You must return the form signed by the high school counselor to the Running
Start office or the Columbia Tech Center before the payment due date. The
form is a request only, which is used
for planning purposes. You are not officially registered until you
complete the registration process online. An online orientation and online advising module must be completed before you can register for your first quarter classes. You
may find that in some cases you do not get your first choice of
time, or you may find a class closed entirely. You can make substitutions
on the day you register from whatever is open at
that time, as long as you are eligible to take that class.
You must bring a completed Enrollment Verification Form to the Running Start office or the Columbia Tech Center before the payment deadline each quarter. Typically these forms are due in November, February, and May.
Eligible students can participate for a maximum of 6 quarters (Fall,
Winter, and Spring quarters of the junior and senior years). In
accordance with state rules, there is no Running Start in the Summer
quarter. If you want to attend Summer Quarter, you must pay your own tuition.
do I know which classes at Clark apply toward my high school graduation
Your high school counselor can answer this question when you meet
with him/her to “forecast” for your Running Start classes.
Different schools accept different courses from Clark to meet specific
requirements, such as CWP/CWI or Senior English. It is critical that
you work with your high school counselor to make sure that you are
meeting your high school graduation requirements. You need to meet
with your high school counselor every quarter that you are in Running
Start to complete an Enrollment Verficiation Form, even if you are home-schooled. On this form, the
high school counselor will indicate what specific graduation requirement
each course meets, even if it is an elective.
college credits does it take to equal one high school credit?
The ratio is
a 5 credit class at Clark
(e.g., Math or Sociology)
= 1 high school credit
a 3 credit class at Clark
(e.g., American Lit)
= 0.6 high school credit
a 1 credit class at Clark
= 0.2 high school credit
Thus, a Running
Start student attending Clark College full-time (15 credits per quarter) would earn
3 high school credits per quarter x 3 quarters = 9 high school credits
in a school year. Students should always check with their high school counselor to discuss high school graduation requirements. Some high schools may require that specific content be covered, so in some cases, students may need to take more than one class to meet a high school graduation requirement.
attend Clark full-time or part-time in Running Start?
Yes, you can take all of your classes at Clark, or some at Clark and some at your high school.
The average credit load for Running Start students is 11 credits per quarter (approximately 3 classes).
The maximum number of credits for which Running Start will cover tuition is 15 credits per quarter,
providing you do not exceed the combined enrollment limit which is detailed on the
Enrollment Verification Form. For example, if you want to take 15 credits per quarter, you can take no more than one class at your high school.
Yes, Running Start students can take college-level courses through eLearning.
See the eLearning Self-Assessment link below to determine if online courses are a
good fit for you. Successful distance learners need certain skills, most importantly, a
high degree of discipline and motivation. http://www.clark.edu/academics/eLearning/self_assess.php
Should I stay
at Clark to finish my Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree before transferring?
There are advantages to completing an A.A. before transferring to a 4-year university
in Washington and some in the Portland area (universities which
have “transfer agreements” with Clark). This is a good
question to ask the university where you plan to transfer.
possible to obtain both a high school diploma and a college associate
degree after completing two years in the Running Start program?
Yes, it is possible to graduate from high school with an Associate Degree at the same time.
More than 200 Running Start students graduate from Clark every year with an A.A. Degree
at the same time they graduate from high school. You would need to average 15 credits per quarter for six quarters. This takes careful planning, so be sure to
ask the Clark Running Start office for advising help toward an A.A. degree. If you do not
plan to graduate from a public high school, you have the option of asking the college to
issue a State of Washington high school diploma upon completion of an associate degree.
I participate in college activities and clubs, such as student government?
Yes. You may participate in any activities on the college campus,
except varsity sports. You may also participate in any high
school activities, but may not compete in the same activity at both
the high school and college level. Example:
a debate student cannot compete in both high school and college debate
teams. You must choose one level for competition. For a complete listing of college activities, clubs, student government, and intramurals go to the Student Life website.
I am a senior in Running Start, how do I get my Clark College grades
sent to a university where I'm applying?
You will need
to order an official transcript online and have your official Clark College transcript mailed
to the university where you are applying. You will also need to
ask your high school to mail your official high school transcript.