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Running Start

What is Running Start?

Running Start is a statewide program that provides an opportunity for juniors and seniors to enroll in courses at our local community colleges as part of their high school coursework.


Students may enroll simultaneously in high school and college classes, or solely in college classes. College tuition for up to 15 credits is paid through Running Start. The maximum credit eligible is based on students combined high school and college enrollment. Students are responsible for transportation, books, supplies and applicable fees.


Renton High School students who participate in Running Start are responsible to keep themselves informed about the RHS school calendar and activities. This information is available at the RHS website.

Seniors must also complete their Community Service and High School and Beyond Plan here at RHS. This information is also available at the RHS website. The high school is the final authority on high school graduation requirements. It is important to work closely with a high school counselor to ensure that you are meeting all your graduation requirements.


Once you begin your college courses, you will be considered a "regular" college student. You will be in classes with adults of all ages. The faculty expects the same level of classroom participation and quality of work from all students. Students are expected to meet class deadlines, be prepared for class, ask questions and conduct themselves as responsible adults. If students have difficulty or need additional assistance, it is the students' responsibility to seek out the instructor or contact their college counselors.


You will receive both high school and college credit after you successfully complete your classes. These grades become part of your permanent college transcript. The college will mail your grade report directly to RHS and our register will record the classes on your transcript here.


Is Running Start Right for You?

Consider the Pros:

·         If you find traditional high school doesn't fit your career goals, you may find what you need at a community college.

·         You can earn up to two years of tuition-free college credit, getting a head start on your career goal.

·         You may have the opportunity to take elective courses that are not offered at RHS.
Academically prepared students have an opportunity to take advanced level courses.

Consider the Cons:

·         The social network is very different, and you will be in class with adults of all ages from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. You may miss out on the high school experience (This is the only time you will ever be in high school.)

·         The college operates on a quarter system, while most high schools operate on semesters. Holidays and vacation periods are frequently different. Students are expected to attend classes at the college even though their high schools may not be in session. Careful planning must occur to avoid conflicts with family and school activities.

·         Books and supplies are the responsibility of the student. Transportation is also the responsibility of the student.

·         Students are starting a permanent college transcript when they take any college classes.

How to Get Started:

Step 1

All potential Running Start students are required to take a college assessment test (COMPASS). The test is offered at each community college. Please refer to the college website for available times to take the test. To be eligible for Running Start students' COMPASS scores must place them at college level, which will be determined by the participating college.

Step 2

Make an appointment with your high school counselor to review your COMPASS results and to discuss how Running Start could work with your educational career/plans. Students must have the Running Start Verification form filled out by their counselor, which specifies which classes they are permitted to take at the college.

Step 3

Make an appointment to see a college advisor and to register at the college you plan to attend.

Renton School District running start equivalencies

Bellevue College 

Highline College  

Green River Community College 

Renton Technical College 

Seattle Colleges