students gathered outside on puyallup campus

Is Running Start Right for Me?

The decision to begin college early is an important one. Successful college students are:

  • Mature, able to work independently, self-motivated and possess good study and time management skills.
  • Able to complete a variety of assignments with little directions from their instructors.
  • Prepared for the amount of time that college classes require. Every hour in class requires two hours of studying.

Program Benefits

Running Start offers a number of benefits for students prepared to begin their college journey while still completing high school requirements. Eligible students have the option to:

  • Take courses not offered in high school
  • Take challenging advanced courses
  • Experience personal growth in decision-making and responsibility while developing their future educational plans
  • Save up to two years' worth of college tuition
  • Experience the diversity of college, in the characteristics, ideas and abilities of fellow students and instructors

Program Limitations

There are some limitations to Running Start's ability to meet the needs of every individual who enrolls. Some of these limitations include:

  • The independence, increased level of responsibility, and the speed of college courses can be challenging for some students.
  • Social development experiences are not as readily accessible at Pierce College as in high school.
  • Books, fees and transportation are the responsibility of the student. Books can cost $150.00 or more per class.
  • College schedules may conflict with high school courses or extracurricular activities (sports, drama, music, etc.).
  • The college operates on a quarter system, which is different from the high school academic calendar. 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.
  • Preferred classes frequently fill quickly, and students are not guaranteed space in classes until they are officially registered for the quarter.