Forecasting for next year is coming up soon and there are a variety of class and programs for students to choose from. One of these programs is running start. This is a program where students can take classes at Clark College and get high school and community college credit at the same time. This program is great for students who want to save money and get a head start at their college career.
Mrs. Elizabeth Rollman, one of the counselors at CHS comments, “Running start is one of the many options of programs that we have, and I think that it’s a great program for the right student.” All students have an equal chance of getting into this program. In years past, students have had to take a qualifying test to see if they qualify for this program. Now, students just have to have a high enough GPA to qualify.
“You do have to be really ready to be independent and a self-starter and very organized to do well there,” comments Rollman. This program is great for students who are organized with both their schedule and their schoolwork. Since this is a college, students will be treated more like adults and will have to be more independent. This program also has a wider variety of classes than at CHS for students to choose from. So, students are able to take more classes based on their interests. This is also a great program for students who want to get an AA degree and would like to go to a public Washington college. These colleges will count the credit that students receive from this program.
Though, even with all of the good with this program, there still are a few drawbacks. One of these drawbacks includes how not all colleges will accept the credit from this program. For out of state colleges, it is up to them on whether they take the credit or not. Students in this program also miss out on some of the big parts of a normal high school experience, which for some students is important. Rollman says, “For some people, that’s not important at all, and for other people, they think it’s not important and then miss it when they leave.”
Students have many reasons for why they join running start. Rollman mentions that one of the main reasons is that students want a new environment, which running start provides. Many students also join running start because they want to save money for college and they want to get a head start on getting their AA degree. “It’s cheaper than paying for those classes during college. I’ll be able to complete my high school requirements in a shorter amount of time. Then, I’ll also probably be able to get my AA degree if I work hard enough and do enough classes,” says Caitlin Soler, a sophomore at CHS. For a student to get their AA degree through this program, they have to take a specific amount of classes and get eleven college credits each term, which is equivalent to six high school credits.
All in all, this program is great for students who want to get college credit and an AA degree before they graduate. This is a great program for students who are willing to work hard and become more independent. Rylee Malen, a sophomore at CHS, who is planning on joining running start next year says she is most excited, “to get the college experience, while still being in high school and having the pressure of college, but not all of the pressure of it at one time.”