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Is Running Start Right for You?

The decision to start college early or stay in high school is an important one. Frequently a student can be academically prepared for college-level classes, but may find the emotional or social demands overwhelming. The most successful college students are highly motivated individuals who take initiative, have good study skills, are self-disciplined and are able to complete a variety of assignments with little direction from instructors.


  • Tuition for Running Start classes is free (up to a maximum of 1.2 FTE combined enrollment between the high school and college)
  • Students have the opportunity to take a wide variety of classes that may not be offered at their high school
  • Students can earn up to two years of college credit and save on 2 years of college tuition costs
  • Students have an opportunity to experience college classes while still in high school
  • Students may continue to participate in high school sports and activities
  • Academically qualified students have the opportunity to take more challenging or advanced courses
  • Our diverse college student population provides for a rich classroom learning environment
  • Students have an opportunity to enroll in both academic transfer and professional technical skills classes with outstanding college faculty
  • Students have access to instruction using state-of-the-art technology


  • Running Start students are not eligible to participate on college sports teams 
  • Students are not eligible for traditional state or federal financial aid
  • Full-time Running Start students may particularly feel a loss of social connection with peers at the college; high schools provide a social network and experiences geared toward teenagers 
  • Transportation arrangements and costs, book purchases, and class fees are the responsibility of the student
  • The scheduling of college classes may conflict with high school classes or extracurricular activities
  • The college operates on the quarter system while most high schools operate on the semester system, thus Holiday and school breaks may be different
  • Students may be exposed to alternative view points and material of an adult nature 
  • Students are not guaranteed enrollment in OC courses or class schedules 
  • Grades in college courses are recorded on the high school transcript and become a part of the student’s permanent record at Olympic College. Low grades or failure to complete courses may jeopardize high school graduation, admission to another college or other future educational plans