Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of commonly asked questions for students and parents/guardians. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please feel free to contact us.
View General, Registration, Classes and Other frequently asked questions below.
- What is the Running Start Program?
The Running Start program was created by the state legislature in the early 1990s 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.
- View Program Benefits and Considerations.
- How do students 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
- Can students take the COMPASS assessment at another college and have it apply at Green River?
Yes, if students 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).
- How many times can students take the assessment?
Students may repeat the reading and writing portions once within a calendar quarter; math retakes are unlimited. There is a $10 fee for each section.
- Where can I find sample COMPASS questions?
Students should familiarize themselves with the format of the COMPASS assessment and try some sample questions, contact us for more information:
- There are 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
- Students can practice before taking the math section of the COMPASS; try our sample entrance exams. 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.
- Can home and private schooled students participate in Running Start?
Yes. Students must enroll through the local public high school and must be considered a junior or senior. Students 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 Students attend Green River full-time or part-time?
Yes, students 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.
- What happens if students miss the registration deadline?
The student will not be able to participate in the Running Start program for the quarter. Students must be registered or officially waitlisted for classes by the deadline (vs. just having submitted your Enrollment Verification form).
- The COMPASS didn’t accurately reflect my student’s abilities…help!
Running Start students are strongly encouraged to continue with 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 Placement section of our site for information on advising and placement. Aside from the COMPASS, there are other ways students are placed into math at Green River. If your student feels their COMPASS scores are not an accurate reflection of their skills, these options may be useful to them.
- What classes are students not allowed to take?
Students can take any classes they wish, but Running Start pays for only those classes that are college level (100 or higher). Students may take classes below college level, but will be responsible for paying tuition and fees associated with those classes. Here are classes Running Start does not cover:
- Read 104, Engl 100
- Math 0xx (anything below 100-level)
- Any course that starts with BASIC, ESOL, HSC, or R ES
- Can students 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. While online (eLearning) classes give more scheduling flexibility, they can be challenging for some students. Before enrolling in an eLearning class students may want to ask themselves how well the following statements describe them:
- 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 mode 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 with internet access 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 three hours of work per credit hour to my eLearning class.
If your student answered ‘yes’ to most of these questions, eLearning could be a good option for him/her!
- How do I know which classes at Green River apply toward high school graduation requirements?
The high school counselor can answer this question when your student meets with him/her to fill out the verification 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 for the student to work with the high school counselor to make sure that your student is meeting his/her high school graduation requirements. A meeting with the high school counselor every quarter a student is in Running Start to complete a verification form is necessary. On this form, the high school counselor will indicate which graduation requirements are needed. Students should also use the District Equivalency Guide found in the Current Student section of this website.
- Can students receive a degree from Green River at the same time they get their 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 AA degree. If your student does not plan to graduate from a public high school, he/she has the option of asking the college to issue a State of Washington high school diploma upon completion of an associate degree.
- Should students stay at Green River to finish my AA degree before transferring?
There are advantages to finishing an AA degree before transferring to a 4-year university in Washington and some out-of-state institutions (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 AA 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.
- What if my student doesn’t graduate from high school? Can he/she still do Running Start?
If your student doesn’t graduate from high school with their class, he/she is still eligible to participate in Running Start. However, he/she can take only those classes required to earn the diploma through your high school. If he/she chooses to take classes outside those parameters, the student will be responsible for the tuition and fees. Students are not eligible for federal financial aid until they have a high school diploma or GED®. Make sure your student plans accordingly to finish their diploma with their class.
- What if my family moves or changes school districts?
If students change school districts, students must let the Running Start office know immediately. Have the counselor at your new school fill out a new Enrollment Verification Form and turn it in to the Running Start office.
- 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 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 a student’s name, dates of enrollment, and degrees earned can be released without their authorization.
If you have any questions about Running Start or would like to schedule an appointment to meet with an Educational Planner please do not hesitate to contact us!
Phone: 253-833-9111, ext. 2674
The Running Start Office is located in the Student Affairs Building (SA 122) on the Main Campus.
12401 SE 320th Street
Auburn, WA 98092-3699
Hours of Operation
|Monday - Tuesday|
|8 a.m. - 6 p.m.|
|Wednesday - Thursday|
|8 a.m. - 5 p.m.|
|9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.|
|View Closures & Special Hours|