Running Start Frequently Asked Questions


 

What is the Running Start program?

Running Start is a program approved by the Washington legislature which allows qualifying high school juniors and seniors to take classes at Clark College which fulfill high school graduation requirements plus earn college credit.

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How does the program work?

Running Start students attend regular Clark classes during the day or in the evening, along with “regular” college students. College credit is granted upon completion of the course requirements, and these credits normally transfer to most colleges and universities.

Your 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 policy.

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What classes can I take?

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 CWP or CWI.

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How do I know if Running Start is right for me?

Running Start is not for everyone. It requires not only college-level skills, but also 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.

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Should I do Running Start or AP (Advanced Placement)? or IB (International Baccalaureate? or Honors classes?

There are advantages to all of the above programs. Much would depend on whether you want to challenge yourself at the high school environment or want a different learning environment, such as Clark College. You should contact the university to which you plan to transfer to ask about their acceptance policies in regards to each of the above.

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What does it cost to be in Running Start?

If eligible, the tuition for college-level classes is covered by the school district, subject to the maximum enrollment limit defined on the Running Start Enrollment Verification Form. Students who exceed the maximum enrollment limit will pay tuition for any credit(s) which exceed the maximum. In addition, RS students pay for books, transportation, and some miscellaneous class fees. Limited textbook assistance and fee waiver are available for those with financial need.

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Do 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 “backPass” and is available to all students, including Running Start. This is a good option to avoid the parking problems at Clark. Purchase deadline and fee information for the backPass are available on the public transportation page.

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Can home and private schooled students participate in Running Start?

Yes. You must enroll through the local public high school 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.

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How is junior / senior standing determined for private schools and home schooled students who want to participate in Running Start?

It is the responsibility of the public school district to establish grade placement criteria for homeschoolers who want to earn a high school diploma from a public high school. 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.

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How do I qualify for Running Start?

 

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.


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Why do 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. If you do not have a Social Security Number or if you do not wish to divulge it for privacy reasons, a randomly assigned Student ID (SID) number will be mailed to you.

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What if I only qualify on the Math part of the test and not all three parts?


If you qualified on the College Algebra section only, 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 (e.g. 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.

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How many times can I take the test?

 

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 one hour for each part of the test. Please do not schedule an appointment to retest. 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.

 

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Do you have sample test questions?

Yes, see the sample test questions for each of the three parts of the test: Writing, Reading, and College Algebra.

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After I 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 at Clark College 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. For your first quarter, you will do this during your New Student Orientation. 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.

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What are the deadlines for Running Start?

Every quarter there is an admissions deadline two weeks before classes begin.

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How many quarters can I be in Running Start?

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.

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How do I know which classes at Clark apply toward my high school graduation requirements?

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.

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How many college credits does it take to equal one high school credit?

The ratio is 5:1

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 (e.g., P.E.) = 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.

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Can I 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 Running Start Enrollment Verification Form.

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Can I take evening classes?

Yes, Running Start students can attend day or evening classes.

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Can Running Start students take online courses?

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

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Should I stay at Clark to finish my A.A. degree before transferring?

There are advantages to do so in transferring to a 4-year university in Washington and some in the Portland area (universities which have “transfer agreements” with Clark). At some universities in Washington, it may be difficult to transfer with an assortment of credits if you do not complete an A.A. Degree. This is a good question to ask the university to which you plan to transfer.

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Is it 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. Typically about 150 Running Start students graduate from Clark every year with an A.A. Degree at the same time they graduate from high school. 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.
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Should I take either the SAT or ACT test if I am in Running Start?

Yes. Some universities will require either SAT or ACT scores, even if you earn an Associate Degree from a community college.

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Can I participate in college activities and clubs, such as student government?

Yes. You may participate in any activities on the college campus, except intercollegiate 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 may not compete in both high school and college debate teams. You must choose one level for competition.

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If I am a senior in Running Start, how do I get my Clark College grades sent to a university to which I'm applying?

You will need to complete a “Transcript Request Form” online to 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.

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