Running Start

Running Start provides students with the option of attending college in 11th and 12th grade, simultaneously earning of high school and college/university credit.

Students in Running Start may take college courses at any of Washington's community and technical colleges or at Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Washington State University and Northwest Indian College.

Most Highline Running Start students attend Highline College or South Seattle College.  

Running Start students and their families do not pay tuition, but they do pay college fees and buy their own books, as well as provide their own transportation.

By earning both high school and college credit, students accelerate their progress through the education system. Students taking a full Running Start course load for two years may earn an associate’s degree by the end of their senior year of high school. 


In order to participate in Running Start, you must:

  • Have junior or senior standing in high school
  • Apply in March prior to the fall quarter you plan to attend 
  • Enroll in courses that are approved by your high school counselor to meet graduation requirements
  • Complete the college coursework and pass the class
  • Maintain full-time high school enrollment so that your graduation status is not jeopardized
  • Be responsible for knowing the registration date(s) and deadline(s) for district and college registration
  • Be responsible for transportation, lab fees, and books
  • Take a placement test administered by the college

Career Start

Career Start is a variation of Running Start that focuses on Highline College's professional-technical Associate of Applied Science degrees.

It is a partnership between Highline Public Schools and Highline College. The mission of this program is for high school students to be qualified to apply for employment in their chosen field upon high school graduation or shortly thereafter.

It is designed to allow students to graduate from high school at or near the same time that they receive an Associate of Applied Science degree (AAS) from Highline College. Several of these AAS degrees are a direct pathway to Highline College’s Bachelors of Applied Science degrees.

To learn more about this program, go to

Review the course equivalencies between Career Start and Highline Public Schools. 

Community Colleges

Here is a list of local community colleges that participate in the Running Start program. To learn more, contact your high school counselor.

Learn more about Running Start