Should I do Running Start? Is it right for me?
Bellevue College has orientation sessions to fully explain the program, including potential benefits and risks. Everyone should attend as part of their application process to learn more. A few important issues to consider before deciding if Running Start is right for you:
Academic traits necessary for success in college classes include highly organized self-management, proactive problem-solving, and self-advocating skills. Solid study habits, excellent test-taking and preparation skills, strong communication in written format under time constraints, and the ability to comfortably interact with adults are a must. Personal motivation for academic success and ability to get help when needed on your own are important.
Remember that you are entering a collegiate learning environment, a high-stakes test/essay performance-driven grading system, where only a handful of major tests/papers/projects will constitute your entire grade. Classroom participation and homework assignments represent a small portion of the overall grade if at all, but must be done to prepare for assessments.
A high level of maturity and goal-oriented academic motivation will bring success. In addition to deciding if your academic skill is a good fit to begin college early through the Running Start system, you must make a purely personal decision about how moving to a collegiate setting with change your high school experience and how your future college experience will be impacted by starting early. Running Start represents a significant environmental change. For students who thoroughly enjoy and are very involved in the traditional high school experience, this may be a painful shift that represents a loss. For students who feel they emotionally have grown past the high school social scene, who seek a more mature multi-generational environment, this can be a very positive change.
Do you love the traditional high school environment, or do you want an entirely different experience in an adult setting (average age at BC being 30 years old)? The average college student has a job, a busy day outside of school, and generally isn't seeking social interaction primarily with teens. At community college, you will be treated like an adult, and receive no special treatment or flexibility due to your Running Start designation. Be prepared to work hard and grow as a student, and to have to learn new strategies to succeed in a collegiate environment. You own the outcome, and parents cannot problem-solve on your behalf. Parents must trust that you are can manage your education independently. You will start a permanent college-level transcript, which will impact your future plans and higher-level college prospects.
Parents: Please note that while Running Start can be an excellent opportunity for the right student, it can represent a serious risk for others. College instructors do not notify parents or high
schools when a student is failing or not attending class. College instructors
do not inform parents or the high school of student progress in college courses
or whether a student has dropped the class. Poor performance in Running Start
can result in significant loss of credit, permanent harm both high school and
college transcripts, and dismissal from the Running Start program.
Transferring College Credits:
Community college credits earned through Running Start are not guaranteed to apply to ANY four-year college later. Transfer of credits depends on four-year college you choose to attend. In-state public colleges are a part of the same higher education system as the community colleges, and are required to take all of your BC transfer credits.
Some private colleges and other state public college will accept Running Start credit, and others will not -- the only way to know is to consult with each college of interest to you. Highly selective four-year colleges are much less likely to accept community college credits and generally prefer that a student stays in high school and takes AP classes and takes the AP exams for potential college.