Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Running Start Program?
The Running Start program was created by the state legislature in the early 1990’s as an opportunity for eligible high school juniors and seniors to earn college-level credit, tuition free. Your school district pays tuition for up to 15 credits per quarter. Books, fees, supplies, tuition for additional credits and transportation to the college are your responsibility. Classes taken at the college as part of the Running Start Program are limited to "college level courses" (numbered 100 or above). You may enroll simultaneously in high school and college classes or exclusively in college classes. How you choose to enroll will depend upon the classes or credits you need for high school graduation. Your total enrollment should equal one full-time load. You will receive both high school and college credit for classes taken at Green River and are considered to be dually enrolled in both educational systems. High school graduation requirements are established by each school district. Check with your high school counselor to verify the courses and number of credits required in order to graduate. Generally, one five (5) credit class at the college earns one (1) high school unit.
How do I know if Running Start is right for me?
Running Start is a good fit for students who:
- Are ready for the challenge of college-level coursework.
- Are motivated to participate in the college environment and possess the maturity to do so.
- Seek academic challenges not available at their high school.
- See Prospective Students for Program Benefits and Limitations.
Things to consider before doing Running Start?
The classes you take at Green River will become part of your permanent college transcript!! So here are a few things to consider before you begin the Running Start program:
- You will be required to maintain at least a 2.0 G.P.A. If you fall below that grade point average you will be required to meet with the Running Start Coordinator to determine the appropriate course of action.
- If you drop a class in the first three, days you can do so on-line. If you drop a class within the first 10 days, you need the signatures of the Running Start Coordinator and your High School Counselor. If you drop a class after the 10-day mark, your high school may give you an automatic “F” in that course.
- Once you begin your classes you will be treated like a regular college student, and you will be held to the same standards as other Green River students.
- Attendance: Your instructor may not take attendance every day, but you are still required to be in class. Instead of taking attendance they may test you on only the information discussed in class, or even award points for class discussions.
- Class Discussion: Most instructors require their students to participate in class discussions, so come to class prepared! The students in your class may range in age from 16-80 years old, but remember, your opinion is just as important as anyone else’s!
- Pace: College classes can move faster than those in high school. A yearlong course in high school is usually taught in one quarter at Green River! So if you start to feel overwhelmed or begin to fall behind, seek out your instructor or the Running Start Coordinator to get the help you need before it’s too late.
- Homework: For every hour you are in class, it will generally be two hours of studying outside of class! And remember, college classes don’t allow time for you to complete your homework in class.
- Grade Reports: Green River will mail your official transcripts to your high school so they can be averaged in with your high school GPA. They will not be mailed directly to your house! You can find your grades on-line at the Green River web site.
- Coursework: The 11-week college quarter system moves quickly. You are expected to successfully complete a year’s worth of high school material in one quarter. Time to complete homework assignments is rarely given in class. The homework suggestion applies to online courses, too.
How do I qualify for Running Start?
Prospective students must meet the following criteria:
- Be enrolled through a public high school/district. Homeschooled and private school students are encouraged to contact their local school district for instructions on their enrollment procedures.
- Be a junior or senior, according to grade level placement policies of the district the student is enrolled through.
- Meet minimum placement scores on the COMPASS (see below).
- Be 16 upon admission to the program, or turn 16 during the first quarter of enrollment in Running Start. Prospective Running Start students must also complete an assessment to demonstrate they are prepared for college-level coursework. Green River uses a placement tool called the COMPASS, which assesses a person’s current skill levels in math, reading and writing.
COMPASS placement also helps guide students in their decisions about which classes to take. Green River’s Running Start program requires the following placement scores:
- Reading: 86
- Writing: 80 or Math: placement score into college level math
If I take the COMPASS assessment at another college will it apply at Green River?
Yes, if you take the COMPASS assessment at another college a Green River Running Start Advisor will need to review the scores (scores must be less than two years old). Please note - Running Start COMPASS placement requirements differ from college to college.
I did not place into college level math, but I still would like to take math at Green River-Am I allowed to do that?
The Running Start Program will fund only college level courses (courses numbered 100 or above). If a student wishes to take a course below college level they must pay for the course and submit a release from the school district. Students who do not qualify to take college level math are encouraged to continue taking math courses at their high school.
How many times can I take the assessment?
You may repeat it once within a quarter.
Do you have sample questions?
Familiarize yourself with the format of the COMPASS assessment and try some sample questions by going online:
- There are also multiple copies of the book “Chart your success on the COMPASS test” available for check out in the Holman Library. The call number is 378.1662 C734c 2006
- If you feel you need some practice before taking the math section of the COMPASS, try our Sample Entrance Exams. Here you will find problems pertinent to each of our math class levels (Math 070, Math 072, Math 097, Math 102, and Math 124). Please note that each Entrance Exam Sample contains prerequisite material for that course. For example, the Math 070 Entrance Exam Sample includes topics covered in courses prior to Math 70. http://www.instruction.greenriver.edu/DIV-Math/Advising/default.htm
What are the math options?
Running Start students are strongly encouraged to continue math courses—even if they have met their high school’s math diploma requirement. Stopping out of a math sequence can make it difficult later on to get back into the groove of taking math. Students may complete math at the high school or decide to take math at Green River—either way, it’s a good idea to do so. Please visit the Math Division’s Web site for information on advising and placement. Aside from the COMPASS, there are other ways students are placed into math at Green River. If you feel your COMPASS scores are not an accurate reflection of your skills, these options may be useful to you. http://www.instruction.greenriver.edu/DIV-Math/Advising/default.htm
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. 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.
How many quarters can a student enroll in Running Start?
All qualified students can enroll a maximum of three quarters (Fall, Winter and Spring) during their junior year and a maximum of three quarters (Fall, Winter and Spring) during their senior year. A special circumstance exists for second-year seniors who have previously participated in Running Start. Please contact the Running Start Office for details.
Can I attend Green River full-time or part-time?
Yes, you can take all of your classes at Green River, or some at Green River and some at your high school. The average credit load for Running Start students is 12-15 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 your Running Start Enrollment Verification Form.
Can I take online classes?
Yes, it is the opinion of the Attorney General's office that Running Start students will be treated as regular college students and enrolled in regular college classes. These classes are considered to be within the normal delivery of the college curriculum. However, Running Start students must have permission from their high school counselors/school districts to enroll in these classes. Are Online Courses Right For Me? While online (eLearning) classes give more scheduling flexibility, they can be challenging for certain students. Before enrolling in an eLearning class you may want to ask yourself how well the following statements describe you:
- I feel comfortable using reading and writing as my primary means of communication and learning.
- I feel I can learn in an environment where oral lectures are not the primary means of learning.
- I am self motivated and can work independently.
- I have no problem communicating with my instructor and other classmates through electronic means such as email and discussion boards.
- I have no problem asking questions when I don’t understand something or need clarification.
- I have or will have access to a computer on a regular basis.
- I feel comfortable in my keyboarding abilities.
- I feel comfortable with basic computer skills such as email, creating and saving files, and downloading files.
- I can dedicate approximately 3 hours of work per credit hour to my eLearning class. If you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, eLearning could be a good option for you!
How do I know which classes at Green River apply toward my high school graduation requirements?
Your high school counselor can answer this question when you meet with him/her to fill out the eligibility form for Running Start. Different schools accept different courses from Green River 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 eligibility form. On this form, the high school counselor will indicate what specific graduation requirements are needed.
Can I receive a degree from Green River at the same time I get my high school diploma?
Yes, it is possible to graduate from high school with an Associate Degree at the same time. This takes careful planning, so be sure to ask a Running Start advisor for help toward the planning of 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.
Should I stay at Green River 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, Oregon area (universities which have “direct transfer agreements” with Green River, listed in the College Catalog). 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.
Do Running Start classes transfer to other colleges/universities?
College credits are transferable to Washington State public colleges and universities, and to most private colleges in the state. It is important for students to consult with college admissions representatives and departmental advisors as early as possible. Students should contact out-of-state colleges for their policies on accepting Running Start credits.
Can parents receive information about their daughter/son's academic progress or grades? Why or why not?
Running Start students have the same rights and responsibilities as any other college student. All student educational records are maintained according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) concerning information that becomes part of the permanent record and governing the conditions of its disclosure. Only your name, dates of enrollment, and degrees earned can be released without your authorization.