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students gathered outside on puyallup campus

Step 1: Admissions

Complete a Pierce College application. Be sure to select "I will be enrolling as a Running Start student" and that you are pursuing an Academic program. After your application is processed by Admissions, you will receive a welcome email that includes your Pierce College ctcLink ID and a link to the New Student Guide.

Step 2: New Student Guide and Guided Self-Placement

The New Student Guide walks you through the next steps in preparing to become a college student, including how to complete Guided Self-Placement for English.

College level placement in English is required for Running Start participation. The Pierce College Guided Self-Placement (GSP) process is linked in module 2 of the New Student Guide and can be completed online from home. GSP is not a traditional placement "test." It is a series of activities and questions that help guides you in determining which English route is right for you. To be eligible for Running Start, you must receive a recommendation of college English (ENGL& 101) either as a standalone class or combined with a 2 credit co-requisite support class (ENGL& 101 + ENGLC 101).

Contact Fort Steilacoom Testing at Testing@pierce.ctc.edu or Puyallup Testing at PuyTesting@pierce.ctc.edu for placement questions.

Step 3: Meet with Your High School Counselor

Complete a Running Start Enrollment Verification Form (EVF) with your high school counselor. Be prepared to share a screen shot of your GSP English recommendation with your counselor to demonstrate your eligibility to participate in Running Start.  Email completed EVF to EVF@pierce.ctc.edu each quarter as a JPEG or PDF attachment.

Private school and homeschool students must enroll through the public high school they would be otherwise be attending and have a counselor at the public high school complete the EVF. Refer to the public school district contact list for enrollment information and EVF.

Step 4: Get Connected

If you have not already done so, complete all modules in the New Student Guide. The last module includes the Intake Form. This is the final step to complete in order to be contacted by an advisor to schedule your advising appointment.  

Step 5: Register and Pay

After meeting with a Pierce College advisor, you are ready to register for classes when registration opens. Running Start students pay student and course fees each quarter after registering. See the Fees page for more information on quarterly fees and other expenses not covered by Running Start.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Running Start student tuition must be adjusted by the college each quarter after receipt of the quarterly EVF.

AFTER tuition has been adjusted, payment can be made; be sure to pay by the quarterly deadline to avoid being dropped for non-payment (if tuition has not been adjusted several days before the payment deadline, please contact runningstart@pierce.ctc.edu).

Pay online with our simple pay system.

The Running Start Fee Waiver and Book Loan Program is available to assist with the cost of required textbooks and quarterly student fees for eligible courses.  Once approved for the fee waiver, it is valid for the duration the student is eligible for Running Start.

If your HS counselor completes the Free Reduced Priced Lunch (FRPL) section of your EVF, you are eligible for the Running Start Fee Waiver and Book Loan program. Other eligibility criteria includes Apple Health or Provider One card.  Please contact runningstart@pierce.ctc.edu for more information.