Gator News

GatorCast Ep. 11: Get a Running Start on your education

By College Relations, Media Services and the Office of the President, July 24, 2019

Episode Transcript:

President Johnson: Welcome to Green River College's GatorCast. This is Green River College's podcast series. This is Suzanne Johnson, president at Green River College bringing you an episode today on Running Start, and not just Running Start, but Running Start students and how to get an associate's degree if that's in your plans while completing high school at the same time. Now, if you're not a Running Start student or you don't know somebody who's a Running Start student, I'd still tune into this episode, 'cause I suspect that our conversations are gonna unveil some other interesting information for anybody contemplating being a student at Green River College, especially if you're at the front end of your college career. So, today, I am joined with two people from our Running Start Office, which is located on our ground floor of the Student Affairs Building. We've got Lindsey Morris and Shweta Singh. So, hello.

Lindsey Morris: Hello.

Shweta Singh: Hello.

President Johnson: All right, well, what we've been doing in most of these podcasts when we have a guest is I'd love it if you could say a little bit about yourself. How'd you get to Green River, what are you doing? You know, so many students that are out there think that people that are in these offices behind desks are a certain kind of person, and in fact, they're just like anybody else. And, in fact, students are just like the people who work here, and the people who work here are just like our students. So, I don't know who wants to start, Lindsey, Shweta? Who wants to start?

Lindsey Morris: I'll start. So yeah, my name is Lindsey Morris. I'm actually a Green River alum.

President Johnson: So you went to Green River?

Lindsey Morris: I went to Green River, and some teachers who are still teaching, I had them as a teacher when I was a student, so.

President Johnson: So you're saying that they're very old? Or you're just very young?

Lindsey Morris: I'm saying I have fond memories of these instructors.

President Johnson: Okay, all right.

Lindsey Morris: No need to comment, just great instructors here. So yeah, I was a Green River student. I actually was involved in student leadership in the CLEO program. I had plans to be an elementary school teacher, and when I was a student, it was great. Central Washington had their last two years of their bachelor's program at Green River, so I kinda never left Green River. I worked part-time when I was finishing up my degree through Central on campus in the Running Start Office part-time, and eventually I decided education, elementary ed, was not for me. So, a job opened up at Green River and I just kind of moved my way around different positions, and here I am in Running Start again, where I started part-time.

President Johnson: Wow, you know, and for the student listeners our there, I hope you're making a note of this, because so many people that we're having on the podcast are sharing similar stories in terms of career plans and career changes. We had Josh Staffieri here recently talking about career exploration and figuring out who you are, where you're going, where you wanna go. And so oftentimes, students believe that, when they're in college, they need to figure this all out while they're in college and that's the end of that, and they're never gonna contemplate these questions again or have a change in their career plans or anything like that. So, I think that's really terrific. Hey, can you just tell me a little bit about CLEO program?

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, CLEO, they may have changed the name, but it's the Community Leadership Education and Outreach. So, there're actually paid student leadership positions on campus, and so my first job was Special Events, Music, and Entertainment Coordinator, so I got to bring on acts on campus, and promote different fun events, Spring Break trip, all sorts of fun things, so. I know that opportunity still exists for students today, so it's, definitely, it kinda changed my life. It was a very great opportunity for me.

President Johnson: You know, that's really great to note. You know, Running Start students or not a Running Start student here at the college, I think Lindsey's sharing a really good life experience for her that I think applies to most, which is get involved. There's a lot going on on this campus. All right, and then we have Shweta.

Shweta Singh: Yeah, so my name's Shweta. I'm one of the Educational Planners right now in Running Start, and I'm actually also a Green River alumni. I was actually in the Running Start program myself, so.

President Johnson: No way. The things you learn when you do these podcasts.

Shweta Singh: I know!

President Johnson: I did not know that.

Shweta Singh: Yeah, yeah! So, being able to work and give back to this community, it really just means so much to me. Like, I'm really passionate about what I do, and for all the students out there, I'm a first generation student of color, and so part of wanting to come back and give to this community was being able to support students who are first generation. I know it can be really intimidating. When I was doing Running Start, I was definitely in your shoes. I had all these questions, and it can be scary sometimes to go out, and to figure out, you know, who you can trust and who you can talk to, so being able to, again, give back to that community has meant a lot to me.

I graduated from Running Start and went onto UW Tacoma to get my undergraduate degree in business management. And similarly to Lindsey, and I think to the point Dr. Johnson just made earlier, I also had a change in my pathway. I realized, from my student leadership experience at UW Tacoma that I really liked working with students and working around diversity and equity, because I was on the Student Activities Board as the Issues and Controversies Coordinator. And so, it was at that moment that I was like, business is great and all, but I think I actually wanna work in higher education. And it just so happened that the year that I graduated, a couple months later, they posted a position for a Program Coordinator in Running Start, so I started off as a Program Coordinator in Running Start, and then shortly thereafter, there was an opportunity for an advisor, and I think, even when I had my interview to be a Program Coordinator, I knew that my goal was to be advising students. And so, that's where I am right now and I'm finishing up my Master's of Education, and that's something that I tell my students all the time, that, you know, we know you're 16 years old and right now we're asking you what are you passionate about, but we also don't want you to think that you have to be stuck in a box, that it's very well possible for you to grow and for you to change your mind, and that whichever pathway you choose to go with, we're here to support you.

President Johnson: And changing your mind is a positive thing. It's not a negative. So, that means you both went to local high schools.

Shweta Singh: Mm-hmm.

President Johnson: So, do you wanna do a shout-out to your high school?

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, go Ravens.

Shweta Singh: Yes, go Conks! I went to Kentwood High School.

President Johnson: Wow, okay. So, I suspect that there are a lot of people out there listening to us that are thinking, they're trying to figure out what year you graduated. I'm not gonna ask that. From high school, it's like, do I know these people?

Lindsey Morris: Probably not.

President Johnson: So, first I think, especially since we have people listening to this podcast that are community members, they're not necessarily students at Green River or have been to Green River at any point in time. What is Running Start?

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, that's a good question. So, Running Start, I have to remember the state definition. Running Start is a dual credit program for juniors and seniors in high school, where students have the opportunity to take college classes at the college campus, and the credits they earn at Green River count both on their Green River College transcript and their high school transcript at the same time. So, it's, again, it's a dual credit program, credits count in two places, and tuition is free. Basically, it's paid for through the high school.

President Johnson: Dual credit, as Lindsey was just pointing out, it means it counts in two places, so it counts for the student's high school diploma graduation requirements, but it also counts as credits being taken at college toward a college degree, so that's dual credit. And then it's free. Can you say a little bit about that?

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, it's tuition-free. So, the cost of college is more than just tuition. It's tuition, there are student voted fees, class fees, books, of course, you have to figure out how you're gonna get to campus 'cause we don't have a bus to and from the high schools, and then other related supplies and materials. So, Running Start covers just the cost of tuition of all those things I listed.

President Johnson: Which is substantial.

Lindsey Morris: It's substantial. A full-time tuition at 15 credits is about $1300 per quarter.

President Johnson: $1300 per quarter. But still, very economical and affordable compared to other institutions, colleges, universities.

Lindsey Morris: Absolutely. And so, a typical student, if they're going full-time, taking 15 credits per quarter, what they're left with paying for, what we see when students register, if they're taking 15 credits, it's about $180 to $250 in fees for the quarter.

President Johnson: Student fees, and then their cost of books and transportation.

Lindsey Morris: Which vary greatly. Now, we also have a fee waver and book loan program for students who are on free or reduced lunch at their high school, meet certain income eligibility guidelines, all those kinds of things. We actually wave student voted fees, so the cost drops even more. So, where before it was maybe $185 to $250, the cost per quarter could drop to zero or $50. I mean, it varies, but I haven't seen more, for a student who's eligible for the fee waiver program, I haven't seen more than about $106 for a quarter, and then we can lend them books from our book loan program as well, so again, it brings the cost down significantly. So, their families are out there and they think, gosh, Running Start's a little expensive, there are ways it can be made affordable.

President Johnson: Sure, so, Running Start is state-wide program, as Lindsey was describing, that some states have. Not all states in the country have this. But this is for juniors and seniors in high school that meet requirements, eligibility requirements, to be able to essentially complete their high school degree while attending Green River College. So, what do most Running Start students do when they're here? Are they simply completing their high school degree and being here, or are they achieving a degree in college? What's the experience with most Running Start students here?

Shweta Singh: This past spring of 2018, we actually had over about 300 Running Start students earn their AA degree in our program. And these students, they pretty much attended, through our program, full-time for two years, and they met with their Running Start advisor early on to create their Ed Plan. When we meet with students to create their Ed Plan, we want to accomplish three main things. So, first, like you mentioned, these are juniors and seniors in the high school, so at the front end is definitely their high school graduation requirements, so making sure that we're weaving in their high school graduation requirements through our dual credit program, but with careful planning, we can also incorporate those high school graduation requirements into an AA degree, as well as major prerequisites if they know what university they wanna go to or what they wanna major in.

President Johnson: Okay, so let's take a pause here. A bunch of things that, you know, not all of our listeners might know about. First of all, you mentioned Running Start Advisors. Where are they? Are they in the high school, or are they in an office in Running Start? And Running Start Office is in our Student Affairs Building. So, where are Running Start Advisors?

Shweta Singh: So, yeah, the Running Start Advisors, we are located in the Student Affairs Building in Room 122, and right now, there's about three of us, and we each have a caseload of students based on last name.

President Johnson: Okay, and you're mentioning an AA, and for those who are listening that might not be aware of that, what is that?

Shweta Singh: Yeah, so that's our Associate in Arts Degree, and we have a direct transfer agreement as well. Most Running Start students go for that degree, especially if they are undecided on what they want to do, because it allows us to weave their high school graduation requirements in, as well as knocking out some of their general education requirements.

President Johnson: For a college degree.

Shweta Singh: For the college degree, mm-hmm.

President Johnson: And you mentioned an Ed Plan. What's an Ed Plan? You mean an educational plan? Is that a plan of what courses you take? Is that what we mean?

Shweta Singh: Yes, really, I would say the Educational Plan is the star of the show. So, the Educational Plan, Running Start students, and any student, really, at Green River College will hear that over and over again. So, the Educational Plan is a student meeting with their advisor one-on-one for about an hour, and then we sit down and we talk to them about what plans they have, what career they're interested in, and we can talk through those things if they may not know the answers, and potentially plan out what they'll do in their time here. And so, for some students, that might be one year, for some students, that might be two years, and for other students, that could either be three or four, depending on their pathway.

President Johnson: Excellent, and how do students who are in high school who might be listening to this, or there's somebody that knows somebody that's in high school that they think might be interested in doing Running Start. I mean, how does a student identify themselves as a Running Start student? How does that happen, how does it begin?

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, that's a great question. We're hoping high school counselors out there are promoting the Running Start program and saying, hey, this is another way to earn credits, college credits, and earn your high school diploma. If they don't hear about it through their high school, they're certainly welcome to, I guess, number one, visit the website. Coming up every winter, we offer information sessions, typically January through May.

President Johnson: Okay, so, website. So, where do they find the Running Start, our website?

Lindsey Morris: So, our website is

President Johnson: So,, and we're gonna have these additional resources, we're probably gonna be talking about some other materials today with this episode, so if you go to, you'll find the additional resources listed to this episode, so we'll probably put that link there too.

Lindsey Morris: So yeah, so I think students could start by, you know, going to the website, seeing what the steps to getting started are, which I'll cover in a moment, coming to our information sessions to go more in-depth about what it is and how to get all the details of it. But basically, to identify as a Running Start student, in their sophomore year, students would--

President Johnson: In high school?

Lindsey Morris: Sophomore year in high school, students would apply for admission if they think they wanna do it, they'd apply for admission at Green River. There may be some confusing terms on there where it's like, when did you graduate? And if you haven't graduated yet, that's okay, you can still fill out the application. They would apply for admission, and we need to see that students are eligible for English 101, 'cause Running Start covers college-level classes. So basically, show us that you're college-level and you can be eligible for Running Start. And so, typically that's by coming to take a test placement assessment at the Testing Center, also in the same building as the Running Start Office, the Student Affairs Building. It's not timed, it's free, and students can come in on a drop-in basis to take it, and you get your results right away, so you know right away if you qualify for Running Start.

President Johnson: So, it seems to me that they might wanna, people who are listening might wanna make a phone call to your office. So, what's your number?

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, it's a direct line, it's 253-288-3380.

President Johnson: So, they can call, find these steps out in terms of what to do first, second, third, and so on?

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, yeah, and of course meeting with a high school counselor's really important so we stay on top of graduation requirements, and they're the ones who actually sign the forms saying yep, you can do Running Start, and students turn that back into us and they can go on with orientation and stuff, so yeah.

President Johnson: So, it seems to me there're a couple things that are jumping out in this conversation. Number one is, if you're thinking about being a Running Start student, contacting your high school guidance counselor, having those conversations, obviously speaking with your family as well. And you've got a number and a website that you can go to here in terms of getting potentially involved in the Running Start program. And for those of you who are listening out there that has a high school student or knows someone who does, same information applies. So, what I've heard a lot about at the campus, and you know, everybody on campus knows every month I do Pizza With the President, and I ask students all sorts of questions, and of course it's their chance to talk to me about questions they have, and concerns they have. We have a lot of Running Start students at Green River College. In fact, we have over 2000 Running Start students this year at Green River. I think many families have recognized the quality of education and the great affordability in terms of financially planning for one's college degree, four year degree, this is a great first two years location to do that. But a lot of Running Start students say to me, "I really would like to know "how I can finish my high school degree "and get my college Associate of Arts degree "at the same time." So, what would you say to them?

Shweta Singh: Yeah, so I think that's a great question, and we've definitely tried to connect with students more and listen to student voice too when it comes to how we can create that bridge for them to be able to have that understanding. I think it goes back to that educational planning appointment. So, when we have Running Start students come in, through their onboarding process, they do an in-person, currently it's called a RAP session.

President Johnson: A RAP session?

Shweta Singh: A RAP session. We don't actually rap, we don't rap, unfortunately. Not yet.

President Johnson: It's a REP session. And why is it called this?

Shweta Singh: So, it stands for Registration, Advising, and Planning. So, when they come to--

President Johnson: So it is R-A-P?

Shweta Singh: Yes.

President Johnson: This becomes really important, 'cause I anticipate that what Shweta's going to tell me now is the way a Running Start student is able to complete their high school graduation requirements and to be able to complete their college degree at Green River at the same time requires planning, many conversations, in terms of advising, to make sure that they take the right courses for the terms they're going to be here. So, we're gonna see where this conversation goes. But okay, you have a RAP session, Registration, Advising, and Planning, and I bet those are all capital letters.

Shweta Singh: Yes, yes, so the students, they attend their RAP session, and throughout that orientation, the RAP session, we really try to emphasize the importance of that educational plan, creating the educational planning appointment. In fact, at their RAP session, we hand out a packet that even has a first quarter checklist, and the first thing on that checklist is to create an educational plan with your Running Start advisor.

President Johnson: Which are advisors at our college.

Shweta Singh: Correct, and this is something that I think is great for listeners to know: sometimes I know students might think that the Running Start Department or Green River College in general is closed in the summer, but we're not. And for the most part, we're here during any type of break a high school student especially might have. We really encourage students to make that educational plan, and that's where we can talk to them and really help guide them through what high school graduation requirements they have left, what degree that they would like to pursue, and we really can actually help map out that pathway for them.

President Johnson: Registration, Advising, and Planning in terms of being able to get the completion of your high school diploma, as well as a college degree. Now, you mentioned, Shweta, earlier, that about 300 students, is that like any given year, 300 students are able to complete their high school degree and graduate with their AA from college here?

Lindsey Morris: Oh, any given year? Gosh, so, that's a good question.

President Johnson: It might vary?

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, it would vary. Over the last few years, we've certainly seen an increase.

Shweta Singh: Yes, an increase.

Lindsey Morris: I think last year we had about two, the year before that, 2017, we probably had about 275, the prior year was about 250, so we're seeing an increase. And of course, increasing with our population as well.

President Johnson: Sure, sure. So, I guess the first thing that listeners need to know to this question, is it even possible for a Running Start student to get both their high school diploma and their two year degree from Green River at the same time? The answer is yes. However, it absolutely is dependent upon planning ahead and having more than one advising session to make sure that the courses that are being taken are the right courses and you'll still be completing on time.

Shweta Singh: Yes.

President Johnson: All right, so then, what about other students? Do all Running Start students want to complete an associate's degree and complete their high school diploma at the same time?

Lindsey Morris: No, not all of them.

President Johnson: It sounds like the majority might not want to.

Lindsey Morris: Yeah.

President Johnson: It might not be their plan.

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, you know, a large majority do attend full-time, about 15 credits per quarter. You know, so Running Start covers two years, two academic years of tuition, junior year and senior year.

President Johnson: Of high school?

Lindsey Morris: Of high school, yes, and so, to get, it is possible to do an AA degree within two years, assuming a student goes full-time, at 15 credits per quarter. It's college-level in English, which is a prerequisite for Running Start, and it's college-level in math, so that sometimes can alter the two year plan for some students is the math level. But yeah, not all students start Running Start the beginning of their junior year. Some students start their senior year.

President Johnson: Oh, so this is important. So, you don't actually have to start in your junior year?

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, yeah, and you don't have to start at the beginning of fall either. We have students starting in January in winter, and then in April for spring quarter.

President Johnson: So, you can begin Running Start at any point in your junior or your senior year to take a certain number of courses at Green River towards your high school diploma?

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, yeah.

President Johnson: I did not know that.

Lindsey Morris: Yeah.

Shweta Singh: Yes.

Lindsey Morris: It's a pretty great, flexible program. There are many reasons students wanna do Running Start. So, a lot of students, one of the first questions we ask in an advising session, is it your goal to earn an AA degree while you're here. A lot of times it's yes, sometimes it's like, no, I just wanna take more challenging courses, or I've run out of classes at the high school to take, or I wanna take this specific foreign language, so I mean, it's all over the board.

President Johnson: So, this is a great question to maybe ask, and it might've been good to ask you know, earlier on in our episode here, but what are the reasons that students become a Running Start student? You've just listed several.

Lindsey Morris: Gosh, I mean, we ask students in orientation, why are you here?

Shweta Singh: We do, we do.

President Johnson: Seems like a good question to ask.

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, what brings you to Green River? You know, we hear some things where students aren't happy with their high school environment and they want more of a challenge, they want a more mature learning environment. What else do they say?

Shweta Singh: We've had students tell us that it helps with their transition from a college to a four year if they plan to stay, or even for our students who plan to stay here and earn our four year bachelor's degrees, it's even helped them there as well. We also have students who attend here if they don't want to just follow the traditional pathway and maybe pursue like a trades program, such as automotive, IT, carpentry. So yeah, there's a variety of reasons that students might attend Running Start, and kind of jumping back to something earlier, I think it's also important to acknowledge, and, like, we really want to put this out there that if you are a student who didn't do Running Start, let's say, fall and winter of your junior year but you want to start spring, we can definitely help you navigate that, and we would still encourage it, because even if, you know, that means you graduate from Green River or you stay at Green River and you only earn 50 or 60 college credits and not 90, that still can help you, and really empower you, and help you be successful and navigate college from there on out, so.

President Johnson: That's really great. So, once you're a junior in high school, you could begin Running Start at any number of points in those final two years. Some Running Start students are here with the goal of getting not just their high school diploma, but also their two year associate's degree. But clearly, most of our Running Start students don't do that, so let's talk about Running Start students after they complete their high school diploma. Where do most Running Start students go? Do they stay with us for their associate's degree? Do they transfer? What happens?

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, I would say the majority, they transfer. They wanna go with their class, their graduating class, transfer to university whatever credits they have, and go from there. We do have a large number that do stay with us to finish their AA Degree, maybe they're finishing prerequisites for, like, ultrasound technology, things like that, or pursue one of our bachelor's programs as well. But I would say, for the most part, students still transfer to the university, even if they don't finish their AA with us. But we certainly, as Shweta said, will help them with a plan to say, hey, sometimes it's more advantageous to stay and finish an associate's degree before transferring, and in some cases it's not, so we're certainly not a one size fits all. We wanna make sure we do what's right for the students, depending on their goals, and maybe an AA Degree isn't the best thing. Maybe based on where they're transferring and what their program is, it makes sense to do just the prerequisites here, and we work with them in connecting them with an advisor at their transfer institution.

President Johnson: Sure, so this brings up some other important information, in terms of Running Start, which is all the credits that a Running Start student is achieving here, completing here, in terms of course work, are transferable credits, for the most part. Is that true?

Lindsey Morris: Yes, yeah, and so, when a student takes classes at Green River, we've heard this term, they'll ask, "Will my Running Start credits transfer?" Well, they're not Running Start credits, they're Green River College credits.

President Johnson: College credits.

Lindsey Morris: Yeah, absolutely.

President Johnson: These are college credits.

Lindsey Morris: Yes, and so, really, it's up to the institution they're transferring to how they're going to accept Green River's credits. But yeah, we're an accredited institution, credits transfer really well. We actually have a direct transfer agreement with in-state institutions, where if a student earns the associate degree, it transfers nicely as a package to most of those four year institutions.

President Johnson: Right, so, for the listeners here, we're talking about direct transfer, articulations, and you know, credits going to another institution. We have a three part episode series on transfer, and so, a lot of the information that we're talking about right now will be able to be found in even more detail, in terms of exploring transfer, planning on your transfer destinations, in terms of schools that you might wanna go to after Green River, and how to actually do the application for transferring to another institution. So, keep your eye on our for already aired episodes, as this might be, or soon to be aired episodes. So, getting back to the transfer, then, it's important for us to remember, especially for those students who are Running Start, because they have that kind of, you know, tag, label, or name to them. Yes, they are Running Start students, but they are taking Green River College credits. Green River College provides post-secondary education, right, college education that is coursework that you'd receive at UW, WSU. Name your institution, we're a college like any other college, so of course these credits are gonna transfer.

Lindsey Morris: Absolutely, yep. And out-of-state schools too. I've heard of some of our previous Running Start students transfer to a small, private institution in Pennsylvania, and they took all of our Running Start student's credits.

President Johnson: So, what's some of the best advice that you could be giving to current students that are Running Start that are at our college right now about anything and everything? What's the best advice you could be giving to our currently enrolled Running Start students?

Shweta Singh: Yeah, well, I'm gonna say it again, the educational plan. If the student hasn't made an educational plan, or maybe they made one with us their junior year and they haven't checked back in on it since then, please, please, please, you know, feel free to call the Running Start Office again.

President Johnson: And what's that number again?

Shweta Singh: It's 253-288-3380. Or you can stop by our office as well. Again, that's the Student Affairs Building, ground floor, Room 122, and feel free to schedule an appointment with us so we can double check on that Ed Plan, just make sure you're, you know, on top of your high school graduation requirements and you have a plan that works best for you. And then, aside from that, something that I always talk to students about at our orientation sessions is just, you know, encouraging them to use the campus resources that we offer here at Green River College.

President Johnson: So, let's talk about that.

Shweta Singh: Yeah, so, some, to list just a few, we have our Tutoring Center, which, that in itself has the Math Learning Center, the Public Speaking Center, the Writing Center, and then we also have Student Life, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion if students would like to get involved on campus with student leadership positions, or just to make connections. We also have Disability Support Services, we also have the Counseling Center. There's a number, and this is just to list a few, of resources that we have on the Green River College campus, and so, I really encourage students to get connected, and then again, you know, if you're a first generation student, like I said myself, I was one too. I still am, of course. So, as a first generation college student, sometimes maybe you don't even know what to ask, so that's where that educational planning comes in, because maybe we can help figure out what some of those resources might be that could help you out.

President Johnson: You know, it was so important that you shared that point, which is sometimes you don't know what to ask, or sometimes you don't know what you don't know. I know, speaking with students, they sometimes feel, and they'll even share with me that they feel embarrassed about asking a particular question, or they feel like they should know the answer already, and that somehow there's something wrong with them that they don't know the answer to the question they have, not realizing that they have a question, well, a hundred other students have that same question.

Shweta Singh: Exactly.

President Johnson: But this is a normal thing, and actually, it's quite typical to have the exact questions that a particular student might have, and for you listeners out there, I can guarantee that whatever questions you have about this topic, other students have it too, and to encourage students to come and see you, come call you. Is there an email address that they can also reach out and utilize?

Lindsey Morris: Oh, yes, we have, everyone has access in the office to respond to emails.

Shweta Singh: Yes, everybody.

Lindsey Morris: So, our email's hopefully pretty easy,

President Johnson: So, call, you can email, you can drop into the office, make an appointment. That's really great advice. What other kinds of advice do we have?

Lindsey Morris: Gosh, you know, Shweta said, you know, the Educational Plan is kinda the star of the show, but plans don't work if you're not successful in your classes. So, really important things like communication. Communication would be, if you've been through our RAP session, that's like the main thing we harp on, check your Green River student email, communicate with your instructor. If you have something going on in your life that, you know, is an extenuating circumstance, let them know so that they can hopefully work with you on those things. Communicate with your parents, your guardians, so they can help support you, troubleshoot through things, communicate with your high school counselor, again, so they can support you and troubleshoot with you. You don't necessarily have to overshare, obviously, but the more that you can let staff know what's going on, the more that we can provide help. So, you know, communicate, utilize tutoring resources, ask for help. The second you think, uh, I don't think that test went so well, go talk to your instructor. That's the great thing about Green River, I think, is small class sizes, access to instructors. So, you know, as Dr. Johnson said, students who are shy, please try not to be shy. I know it's easier said than done. I was that student too. But yeah, just ask for help. That's what we're here for, we're here to help you.

President Johnson: You know, I want to really emphasize that, and for our listeners out there, I know that sometimes people are sort of surprised seeing me walk around campus, and in fact, today I'm sitting in the sound booth with Lindsey, and Shweta, and Karl Smith, our magnificent podcast guru here who's making all these things happen for us. I'm sitting here with jeans and a Gator Life Student Life sweatshirt. For all of you who are students, the staff and the faculty at this college are here for you. It's not just coming to a class, listening to what your instructor is saying, your faculty member is saying, or completing labs. We re all human beings who have been your age before. We are all human beings who have been in college before. Many of us, not all of us at the college, might have a college degree, but many of us do. We were all in high school. And try to be courageous, and believe in yourself, and when you have a question, or when you have a problem, or when you're worried, or concerned, frustrated, whatever the mood might be, in terms of how you're doing in a class, or questions about what you need to do next term, your class instructors, your faculty members at this college, your teachers, the staff that work in our offices like Lindsey and Shweta, who are talking to you right now, and even me, when I'm on campus and mingling, we are all here to answer your questions, or, if we don't have the answer, help you find the person on our campus that does. Be brave, believe in yourself, and reach out to the people who are here to help you. That's really great advice. So, in terms of resources, what kinds of resources do you have available, in terms of...

Lindsey Morris: Running Start students? You know, we are working hard on a great series of workshops for our Running Start students. We realize that many students are here full-time, and so miss some of these post-secondary planning and transfer things, financial aid, so on a monthly basis, we're hosting financial aid workshops, transferring, writing a personal statement, identity workshops, personal identity workshops, and stress relief. And partnering with different departments to bring really relevant workshops for our high school students who are in the Running Start program.

President Johnson: That's terrific, and I hear two themes here: workshops, in terms of current activities that Running Start students need to be aware of, workshops in terms of transfer, and then, even more interestingly enough, workshops around identity exploration, which is all about learning about who you are. You might be wondering where you wanna go in your life, what you wanna do in your life. The beginning of answering those questions is getting to know who you are better as a person. You can't answer the question about what you wanna study, what you wanna do in your life, or what your career will be unless you have some sense about who you are as a person. So, all of those resources that were just listed, including some others like high school equivalency guides, what a degree audit is, and a Tutoring and Resource Center that was already mentioned, and Running Start workshop schedules, these are all resources that we're gonna have listed on this podcast episode, and you can find those at This episode will be Running Start and Achieving Your Associate's of Arts Degree. So, you'll see that. You can click on it for the additional resources information. I wanna thank Lindsey and Shweta for being here today. Any last call to action for our students?

Shweta Singh: Reach out to us, please. If you have any questions, I can't tell you how many times I have met with a student who did start late because they didn't think they could do the program, or because, you know, they didn't know where to go. So, again, our phone number is 253-288-3380. If you have any questions about the program, whether or not you're eligible, how to apply, what that process looks like, please reach out and we will do our best to support you and help you navigate through the system.

Lindsey Morris: And for any folks out there who are not current Running Start students, or they may know some high school age students who'd be interested in Running Start, again, we have information sessions coming up, so visit our website, again,, for the details on signing up, times, location, et cetera.

President Johnson: All right, excellent. Thanks so much, and thank you all for listening. Remember, subscribe to this podcast at You'll find opportunities there. Click to subscribe. We'll see you next time.

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