What Is A Running Start Participant

Running Start is a program that allows high school students to take college courses and earn college credits while still in high school. As a former Running Start participant myself, I can personally attest to the numerous benefits and opportunities this program offers. In this article, I will share my firsthand experience and delve into the details of what it means to be a Running Start participant.

What is Running Start?

Running Start is a dual enrollment program that enables eligible high school students to attend community colleges or universities, taking college-level courses. This program allows students to earn both high school and college credits simultaneously, giving them a head start on their higher education journey. It not only provides a challenging academic experience but also offers a taste of college life and the opportunity to explore different fields of study.

Eligibility and Application Process

In order to participate in Running Start, students usually need to be in their junior or senior year of high school and meet specific criteria set by their state’s education department. The eligibility requirements may include academic standing, such as a minimum GPA, and placement test scores. Additionally, students must complete an application process, including submitting an application form, transcripts, and test scores.

Once accepted into the program, students are considered college students and have access to all the resources and benefits that come with being enrolled in a college or university. This includes access to libraries, extracurricular activities, and support services such as academic advising and counseling.

Benefits of Running Start

There are several advantages to being a Running Start participant. Firstly, it allows students to save both time and money. By earning college credits while still in high school, students can potentially graduate from college earlier, thus saving on tuition fees. This program provides students with a cost-effective way of pursuing higher education.

Secondly, Running Start offers a more challenging and rigorous academic environment. College courses are typically more demanding than high school classes, and participating in Running Start gives students the opportunity to challenge themselves academically and prepare for the rigor of a college curriculum.

Furthermore, Running Start allows students to explore different fields of study and discover their passions. By enrolling in college courses, students can gain exposure to a variety of subjects and disciplines before committing to a specific major. This exploration can help students make informed decisions about their future academic and career paths.

Considerations and Challenges

While Running Start has many advantages, it is important to consider the challenges that come with it. Firstly, participating in college courses while still in high school requires excellent time management and organizational skills. The workload can be demanding, and students need to balance their high school responsibilities with their college coursework.

Additionally, the transition from a high school environment to a college setting can be challenging for some students. The increased independence and academic expectations may require an adjustment period. However, the support services provided by the college, such as tutoring and counseling, are there to help students navigate these challenges.


Being a Running Start participant is an incredible opportunity for high school students to jumpstart their college education and gain valuable experience. This program not only provides academic benefits but also allows students to explore their interests and make informed decisions about their future. As a former Running Start participant, I highly recommend this program to any motivated and driven high school student looking to get ahead in their educational journey.