students gathered outside on puyallup campus

The College Experience

Running Start students are regular college students. The faculty will expect the same level of classroom participation and quality of work from all students. Students will be expected to meet class deadlines, be prepared for class, ask questions and exhibit appropriate adult behavior.

Learn more about what instructors will expect, and what is expected from college instructors on the chart below.

Expectations regarding... In High School In College
Balancing Roles Students have a single role as a high school student with more streamlined schedule at one location. Students may juggle multiple roles across campuses.
Homework Assignments and Tests Students can re-assess as needed according to teacher guidelines. All assignments and tests must be completed on time and final score is final.
Time Management and Course Requirements Teachers reach out to students and offer reminders and nudges to complete upcoming assignments. Students must refer to syllabus for all course requirements or reach out to instructor for clarification and keep track of due dates in personal calendar.
Missed Attendance Missed attendance is excused by parent contacting Attendance Office. Students must communicate directly with instructor to share reason for absence and be proactive to get missing assignments.
Communication Teachers may contact parents and students directly to report on student progress and behaviors. Parents have limited access to information. Students must seek out instructor feedback as it is not automatically given.
Academic Support Resources Resources and support are usually centralized and pushed out to students by high school teachers and counselors. Students must learn to develop new academic habits, seek help, advocate for themselves and become informed and make use of academic resources available to them.

Class Pace, Size and Participation Requirements

The academic pace of college classes is much faster than in a comparable high school class. For example, a high school math class, which is taught in one year at the high school, is taught in one quarter (10 weeks) at the college. There is very little time for faculty to review lessons for students who do not understand the material or were absent from class.

If a student needs additional assistance, the student is responsible to seek out the instructor and/or support from the tutoring center. Instructors have regular office hours when students can meet to discuss issues or difficulties and most will arrange appointments outside of posted office hours if the student has a conflict. Free tutoring is also available at the Academic Support Centers.

Classes can vary in size from 15 to 80 students, with the average class size about 30 students. Students in classes may range in age from 16 to 80 years old.

Classroom participation is an integral part of college and most faculty require students to participate in classroom discussions. Students will experience a variety of opinions and perspectives.

Homework and Preparing for Class

College classes demand an average of two to three hours of homework for each hour of class. A five credit class will have approximately 10-15 hours of homework each week, and the total time commitment for a five credit class will be approximately 20 hours a week. Unlike high school, there is no classroom time for homework. A full-time student, not taking any high school classes, takes three (3) classes, for a total of 15 credits per quarter.

It is the student's responsibility to be prepared each day for class and meet all course deadlines. College instructors normally do not offer make-up work for students who are behind or need to improve their grade. The syllabus handed out at the beginning of the quarter outlines expectations.


Most faculty members are aware of a student's pattern of attendance and may factor it into the final grade. Regardless of whether the student has attended class, the instructor will hold them accountable for understanding the material covered in class or assigned for that day. It is the student's responsibility to be prepared each day for class and meet all deadlines.

Some instructors give pop quizzes and expect all papers to be turned in on time with no possibility to make up work. Faculty will provide a syllabus at the beginning of the quarter outlining their expectations. It is the student's responsibility to understand and follow through with these expectations.

Withdrawing from (Dropping) a Class

Students can drop a class up through the third day of the quarter using their Registration Access Code. Students must notify high school counselors of any changes to their college schedule.

As a college student, students have until the 10th day of the quarter to drop a class so it will not impact their college and high school transcript.

After the third day of the quarter, and up until the 10th day, students cannot drop a class online. Students must complete an add/drop form; meet with their high school counselor and obtain the counselor’s signature; meet with a Running Start advisor and obtain the advisor’s signature; and take the completed form to Registration to complete the process.

After the 10th day of the quarter, until the final withdrawal deadline, students can withdraw from a course. At this point, students will receive a 'W' on their college and high school transcript. The 'W' does not impact their college GPA.

Grades and Academic Records

Grades are not mailed to students. Grades can be accessed through MyPierce or student kiosks on campus. The Running Start Enrollment Verification Form, available on the Running Start Forms page, has a signature line for students that releases transcripts to be sent to their high school at the end of each quarter.

Students successfully completing classes through the Running Start Program will receive both high school and college credit. Grades received become part of the permanent college transcript. If students apply to other colleges, they must list Pierce College as a college attended and request an official transcript (from Pierce College) be sent to the receiving school to verify college course work.

Academic Standards

See the Pierce College District Academic Standards Policy.


To park a vehicle on campus, students need to obtain a parking sticker from Campus Safety. There is no fee for this sticker but all vehicles on the campus must have a current sticker displayed.