Running Start

Fast-Tracked and Cost-Effective College Education

Washington State University Tri-Cities is proud to offer the Running Start program for qualifying high school students. Upon acceptance to this program, high school juniors and seniors can take free* WSU courses on the Tri-Cities campus while earning high school credit. The courses they take here will fill high school requirements and earn them college credits.

Students can take up to 15 credits at WSU, paid for through the school district, which would equate to a full-time schedule at their high school. If desired, students can split their schedules between the high school and university in order to continue participation in high school extra-curricular activities.

*A balanced full- time schedule either at the university or split between the high school and university is covered and paid for by the student’s school district as long as the student does not exceed state full-time FTE limitations. If a student exceeds full-time credit status, they are required to pay for the overloaded credits.

Interested in Running Start?
As a parent, it is a great experience to see your child go through such a unique program. I also save tons of money with both of my daughters in the WSU Tri-Cities Running Start program....I love seeing my daughter get ahead on her education, and I cannot wait until my second daughter begins in the fall. I would recommend this program to all of the students who think they are up for the challenge.” – Veronica I., parent of Diana.

WSU Tri-Cities Running Start Information Nights are a great way to familiarize yourself with the program and to ask questions. If you weren’t able to attend an info session this year, then you can download the presentation.

Students who have a 3.50 or higher cumulative, unweighted high school GPA (on a 4.0 scale) are admitted without test scores or other documentation of performance besides the high school transcript.

Students who have a 3.30 to 3.49 cumulative, unweighted high school GPA may be admitted with additional information about their ability to succeed in college-level course information besides the high school transcript:

  • Test scores on national standardized tests such as PSAT, ACT, SAT, and PLAN (Smarter Balance Assessment Scores and/or End-of-Course scores are reviewed for applicants without national standardized tests)
  • Personal statement indicating the student’s personal goals
  • Letter of recommendation from counselor
  • Previous college course grades, if applicable
  • Evidence of progress on the College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADRs), if applicable

Home schooled students will be reviewed by a faculty admissions committee on an individual basis based on standardized test scores, previous dual credit courses, and evidence of progress toward the CADRs.

Students whose cumulative unweighted high school GPA is below 3.30 at the time of application are not eligible for consideration but are encouraged to improve their GPAs and apply for the next term.

NOTE: The priority Fall 2017 application date of May 1 has passed and we are not currently evaluating new applications.

Please contact us if you are still interested in submitting a paper application for review. If seats become available over the summer, we will review applications by date received.

If you have started an online application, you can still complete it, but it will not be evaluated unless seats become available.

    1. Complete the online application. (Closed for Fall 2017 admission)
    1. Print, sign and upload the Parent Permission Form
    2. Upload, mail, or drop off your unofficial transcript.
    3. Submit any additional documentation if your cumulative GPA is between 3.30 and 3.49.
    4. Monitor your application status online.

    Note that admission to the Running Start program is not considered for general admission to a degree-seeking program at WSU Tri-Cities.

All Running Start students are required to meet with an advisor in order to set up their course schedule each semester. Upon receiving placement results, the RS office will notify students about scheduling their initial advising appointment. Each RS student will work closely with their advisor in the Running Start office and with their high school counselor to ensure they are on track for a successful academic year and high school graduation.

photo of Shannon Horne
Shannon HorneRunning Start Academic AdvisorCIC Building509-372-7438

Enrolling in dual credit programs such as Running Start or College in the High School may seem complicated because it is a different process than registering for your high school classes. But don’t worry.

See our Frequently Asked Questions about dual enrollment and contact us with any other questions or concerns. We’re here to help and we want to hear from you.

The application for Fall 2018 is open…