These days there are many options for high-school students to earn college credit before even graduating. Though the best-known way is AP, there are other programs that serve the same purpose.
Running Start is one such option. This program allows Juniors and Seniors to take classes at Clark College and earn automatic college credit while simultaneously finishing their high-school requirements. Some students even get their diploma and AA degree at the same time. One student talked about his time at Clark, saying “Running Start has been a great experience my last two years of high school. I’ve been able to have more independence and control over what classes I wanted to take. I was able to get two years of a college education for a steal incomparison to how expensive university can end up being. Running Start has been like a college pre-game, and now I have a better understanding of how things work, and I won’t feel as overwhelmed going to a university.”
Running Start has a lot of freedom, but with that freedom comes responsibility. Another student left the program, saying “Clark gave me a lot of freedom, I was able to choose my own schedule and the teachers don’t give you as much support as teachers in high school. Because of that I was able to skip a lot of my classes, which did not end up well.”
Another option for college credit that isn’t as well known is Cornerstone College in High School. This program allows students to register through Central Washington University and earn credits for select classes. Marissa Tehrani, who takes an English class with the program, said “It’s not as tense as I thought it would be. The best part of it is the amount of help you get from the teachers. There’s lots of writing, so you focus on improving that.”
Tehrani recommends it to students. “You don’t have to go out of your way to go to Clark, and having it at the high school is less intense.”
Obviously there are ways to earn college credit for all students. Running Start works best for students who want to jump straight into a college setting while Cornerstone is great for kids who want to remain at high school.