High School Programs

Running Start Students

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Get a head start on college while you’re still in high school.

Running Start is a statewide program that allows qualified high school juniors and seniors to receive college credit tuition while completing high school requirements. Students are enrolled simultaneously in high school and college classes (or just college classes) and are awarded dual credits by their high school and college.

Dual Enrollment options allow high school students to take classes that will apply towards both high school and college credit. Explore Dual Enrollment options with the Dual Enrollment Tool

  • Save Money
    • Running Start students do not pay tuition for Running Start eligible credits (there is a Running Start fee per credit and other financial obligations such as fees, books and transportation)
  • Explore Career Options
    • You’ll experience real-world situations and develop in-demand career skills.
  • Expand Your Horizons
    • Learn and grow with people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Take Charge of Your Future
    • Running Start is the ideal way to start college—while still enjoying high school.
  • Follow the sequence below for an overview of the Running Start enrollment process or click on the tabs above for more detailed steps.

    To be eligible to participate in Bellingham Technical College's Running Start Program, a student must:

    • Be qualified as Junior or Senior at a Washington public high school. Home-schooled students and students attending private high schools must be evaluated as juniors or seniors by a public school official either at the high school or the local school district.

    Other important considerations:

    • It is expected that a Running Start student be academically and developmentally mature to function in a college’s independent environment. A high degree of initiative and the ability to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds will help ensure a successful experience.
    • While Running Start students may not have to pay full tuition charges, students and/or their families are responsible for expenses such as program fees, books, supplies, and transportation.
    • Holiday and break schedules differ from high school calendars - BTC is on a quarterly system, not the semester system of high schools. Refer to the BTC College Calendar for holiday and vacation dates.

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      Apply to BTC

      It’s easy and free to apply for admission!

    Explore your Options & Plan Ahead

    BTC offers a variety of exciting educational opportunities. Whether you have decided on a program of study, or not, there is lots of information available to help you understand your options. BTC offer’s Campus Tours, Career Exploration Workshops, New Student Workshops, and Weekly Drop In Counseling for new and prospective students.


    Apply to BTC

    To apply to Running Start at BTC, complete and submit this application. You can give your application to your Running Start Advisor at BTC or drop it off to the front desk at the Admissions Office, College Services Rm 106.

    • Be sure to complete all fields so we can process your application and provide appropriate correspondence with you.
    • Please write legibly so we can enter you information correctly

    Within 2-3 business days of applying, you’ll be assigned a Student Identification Number (SID).

    For further information regarding admissions to programs, contact the Admissions & Student Resource Center at: 360-752-8345 or email: with questions.

    Weekly Running Start Drop-In Advising

    Advising is available for Running Start students and their parents/guardians every Wednesday from 2-4pm on a walk-in basis. Advising sessions are typically 15-20 minutes long with the Running Start advisor, where you can complete any of the following:

    • Review Admissions process
    • Discuss Program Options
    • Complete Verification Form
    • Determine High School Credit Equivalencies
    • Learn About Tuition Fee Waivers


    Continue the admission steps on the Placement tab

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      Assess Your Starting Point


    Assessing Your Starting Point

    There are multiple measures to asses your starting point at BTC:

    • Take the ACCUPLACER Assessment (more information below)
    • Submit High School English and/or math GPAs from within the last five years for evaluation
    • Submit SAT and ACT test scores for evaluation
    • Submit other test scores for evaluation (Compass, Asset, etc.)
    • New! BTC is now implementing the use of the Smarter Balance 11th Grade Assessment for possible placement into English and math college courses

    Take the ACCUPLACER Assessment

    Students must take the ACCUPLACER Assessment to evaluate reading, math, and grammar skills if their GPA or test scores do not meet the minimum requirements after evaluation, or if they have not taken any of the tests listed above.

    The ACCUPLACER test is not a pass/fail test. It simply measures your current skill level. Your scores will help you choose the right classes, make a plan, and obtain any needed support services.

    No appointment is needed to take the ACCUPLACER. There is a fee for the placement test and this fee can be paid at these three locations: BTC Cashier, Campus Store and Campus Store Online. Be sure to bring your receipt to your test, along with government issued photo identification such as a driver's license, Tribal ID, TWIC card or passport. Plan to spend about two hours taking the exam. Your Placement Test will be in Building H, Room H4 during the times scheduled below.

    Weekly ACCUPLACER Assessment Schedule:

    • Mondays 9:00 am to 8:00 pm (arrive by 6:00 pm)
    • Tuesdays through Fridays 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (arrive by 3:00 pm)

    ACCUPLACER study guides:

    Score Interpretation Tool

    Once you have test scores, use the Score Interpretation Tool to determine where to begin your Math and English sequence.

    Please visit the Assessment Center webpage to find out more information about the Accuplacer Test.


    Continue the admission steps on the Orientation tab

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      Fri 8am-4pm
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      Complete New Student Orientation

      Learn the Ropes

    Before you register for classes, you’ll need to complete the First Things First New Student Orientation. First Things First is online and will help with your transition to college.

    First Things First covers topics like choosing a program and accessing support services. You’ll feel like a pro when you finish!

    • Time commitment: 1.5 – 2 hours
    • Access anywhere, any time
    • Self-paced: complete in one or multiple sittings
    • Reflect and ask questions privately via email
    • Customized: information is tailored to your needs and circumstances
    • Virtual campus tour (available soon!)
    • Periodic quizzes test your learning

    Begin First Things First New Student Orientation now!

    Equal Access

    If you need accommodation, email Accessibility Resources or call 360-752-8576.

    New Student Orientation

    The New Student Orientation is for new students to make connections, learn about resources available to them, hear useful tips for college success and meet faculty members. This is a great opportunity to explore BTC’s campus and mingle with other new students.

    The New Student Orientation for Spring Quarter 2016 will take place on Monday, April 4th from 10:00am to 12:30pm in Settlemyer Hall, located on the first floor of Campus Center.

    There are also two optional Computer Boot Camp sessions on April 4th from 9:00 to 9:45am or 1:00 to 1:45pm in the BTC Library, located on the 3rd floor of Campus Center.

    You can RSVP for the celebration through our Entry Services Calendar.

    Continue the admission steps on the Verification tab

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      Complete Running Start Forms

      Make it Official!

    Running Start Enrollment Verification Form

    You will need to complete a Running Start Enrollment Verification Form each quarter. Have your counselors and parents assist you with completing this form and sign it! You are unable to register for classes at BTC without this completed form each quarter. Exception: if you are registering during the summer for Fall Quarter and cannot obtain your high school counselor’s signature, please see your BTC Running Start Advisor to discuss your options.

    Required Signatures

    • Your parent or guardian
    • Your high school counselor or school district representative
    • Your own
    • Your BTC Running Start Advisor

    Required Details

    The Running Start Enrollment Verification form must be complete to be valid.

    • Number of high school FTE (full time equivalent) you are attending at your High School
    • Number of college credits you are eligible for Running Start at BTC
    • List of classes/credits remaining for high school graduation requirements. Please also indicate which classes are being taken at the high school, if any.

    Class eligibility

    Each class must meet all of these guidelines to qualify as Running Start.

    • College level class (100-400 level, not below 100, not in 900 level)
    • Credit class – for College credit (non-credit or non-graded are not covered)
    • State Support (not self-support)
    • Within the allowed hours/credits (FTE) indicated on the Running Start Enrollment Verification Form as determined by the number of minutes attending at the high school. Tuition Fee Waiver students may be eligible for additional credits, please see the Running Start Advisor for more information.

    • You will be attending class all quarter (not challenging the class – If you challenge a class, you will be required to pay full price.)
    • Class is taken during Fall, Winter, or Spring quarters (Running Start funding is not available Summer quarter. If you would like to take summer classes, you would pay full tuition).

    Running Start Contract

    Now is a great time to fill out your Running Start Contract. Your BTC contract also contains a FERPA release, please see your BTC Advisor with questions about this form.

    Tuition Fee Waiver (If Applicable)

    If you are low-income, please complete the Running Start Tuition Fee Waiver for financial assistance. This waiver will take care of tuition fees and some other administrative fees. Please see the Tuition Fee Waiver for eligibility requirements.

    For more information, contact the BTC Running Start Advisor at 360-752-8385 or e-mail

    Continue the admission steps on the Register tab

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      Register and Attend

      Let’s get you enrolled!

    Each quarter, Running Start students must register in person. Once you have met with the BTC Running Start Advisor, you will take your completed Running Start Enrollment Verification Form to Registration to register for classes, obtain a copy of your schedule and see your balance. Running Start Students register during New Program Student Registration as posted on the campus calendar. If you are on a waiting list for a program, watch for a letter from the Admissions Office. Check your BTC email account and your postal mail. Don’t forget to activate your BTC email account and check it frequently! Please keep all of your contact information up-to-date with BTC.

    Tuition and Fees

    For information regarding tuition and fees, please see Running Start Costs. All tuition and fees are due by the tuition due date for the quarter. Exception: if you register during the summer for Fall quarter, your tuition and fees are due in full by the Friday following Labor Day in September. This extension is to allow adequate time to obtain your Running Start Enrollment Verification Form signatures from your high school counselor or district office.

    Students can pay online with a VISA or MasterCard credit card (not debit) or at the Cashier window, College Services (CS) building, where you may use cash, check, VISA, MasterCard, or financial assistance.

    Tuition Fee Waiver

    If you are low-income, please complete this Tuition Fee Waiver for financial assistance. This waiver will cover the Running Start Fee and credits beyond your allotted amount. Please see the Tuition Fee Waiver for eligibility requirements.

    Student ID Card

    A photo ID or Student ID card (available for $8.00 at the Campus Store) is required for some registration transactions. Your Student ID qualifies you for discounts on Whatcom Transit Authority (WTA) bus passes and at many local vendors, plus access to the Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College libraries.


    Find textbook lists. Or, take your printed class schedule to the Campus Store, in the Campus Center (CC) building. Tip: We do NOT recommend purchasing texts for any other quarter than the current one in which you are registered.


    If you are taking any online or hybrid classes, be sure to setup and check your BTC email for instructions on how to access your classes. To setup your email and to explore your online classes, please visit the Student links page


    If you have questions about registering for classes, contact our Running Start Advisor 360-752-8345 or or talk with Registration 360-752-8350 or

    Additional registration resources are available to you on the Registration webpage.