High School Programs

Running Start Students

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Entry Services

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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 free, 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. Explore Dual Enrollment options with the Dual Enrollment Tool.

Attend a Running Start Information Session

To find an upcoming session, visit the Entry Services Calendar. Some of the benefits that will be covered in the information session include:

  • 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. You may also view and print the Running Start Checklist.

    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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      Sat-Sun Closed

      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, and weekly drop-in hours 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 complete and print the fillable PDF application or print a blank application and 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 entry requirements for programs, visit the the Programs & Degrees webpage or contact the Admissions and Student Resource Center at 360-752-8345 or email: with questions.


    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 assess your starting point at BTC:

    Take the ACCUPLACER Assessment (more information below) or complete one of the following, along with an Evaluation Request Form:

    • 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. Be sure to bring your 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:

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


    Continue the admission steps on the Orientation tab

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      New Student Orientations

      Learn the Ropes

    BTC has two required orientations for Running Start Students.

    The first orientation you will need to complete is the First Things First New Student Orientation. First Things First is online and will help with your transition to college. The second requirement is the New Student Orientation Kick-Off event (detailed information below).

    First Things First

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

    New Student Orientation Kick-Off

    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.

    There are two New Student Orientation sessions available for Fall Quarter 2017:

    Both sessions will take place in Settlemyer Hall, located in Campus Center.

    There are also three optional Computer Boot Camp sessions that will take place in the BTC Library, located on the 3rd floor of Campus Center:

    • Friday, September 16th from 9:00am to 9:45am
    • Monday, September 19th from 9:00am to 9:45am and 1:00pm to 1:45pm

    If you have any questions please contact the Admissions and Student Resource Center at 360-752-8345 or


    Continue the admission steps on the Verification tab

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      Verification/Required Forms

      Make it Official!

    Complete Required Forms


    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. For class eligibility, please visit the Registration Running Start webpage.

    Required Signatures

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

    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

    Running Start Advising

    New students are encouraged to attend a Running Start Information Session. You may view and sign up for a session at Running Start Events You may also schedule an advising appointment with the Running Start Advisor by calling the Admissions and Student Resource Center at 360-752-8345 or 360-752-8450. The following topics may be covered during an information session or advising appointment:

    • Admissions process
    • Program Options
    • Running Start Paperwork and Registration
    • Determine High School Credit Equivalencies
    • Learn About Program Costs and Benefits

    Current students may call to schedule an appointment or attend weekly drop in sessions. Drop in Advising is available for Running Start students and their parents/guardians most Wednesdays from 2-4pm. These sessions are first come, first served and can cover the following:

    • Complete Verification Form
    • Determine High School Credit Equivalencies
    • Learn About Tuition Fee Waivers
    • Register for Classes
    • Change Schedules

    Please call the Admissions and Student Resource Center at 360-752-8345 to confirm availability of drop-in hours.

    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.


    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.