High School Programs

Running Start Students

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

  • Save Money
    • Running Start students do not pay full tuition for Running Start eligible credits (you will be responsible for fees and your books and supplies).
  • Explore Career Options
    • You’ll experience real-world situations and develop in-demand career skills.
  • Expand Your Horizons
    • Learn and grow side-by-side 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.
  • Running Start is a statewide program that allows qualified high school juniors and seniors to receive college credit tuition while completing high school. 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.

    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.
    • Be between 16 and 21 years of age.
    • Follow the sequence below for an overview of the Running Start enrollment process or click on the tabs above for more detailed steps.

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      Fri 8am-12pm
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      Discuss a Plan of Study with Parents & Counselors

      Planning Your Future

    Beginning college early is an important decision. We recommend you discuss your goals and interests with your parents or guardians, your high school counselor, and a BTC advisor as soon as possible.

    Your high school establishes graduation requirements. Before enrolling in Running Start, it is important that you work with your high school counselor and verify exactly what credits you need for graduation.

    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.



    BTC offers a variety of exciting educational opportunities. Visit the Degrees and Classes Overview webpage to see a listing of:



    Sign up for a campus tour! Campus tours are offered twice weekly and by appointment when possible. Sign up by calling 360.752.8345. Please note: Programs with off-site classrooms and lab facilities, such as our Fisheries Technology program, must be arranged with faculty and scheduled separately.



    Attend a 60-minute workshop where you can:

    • Take career/vocational assessments
    • Learn about career and wage outlook
    • Get connected with other related resources

    See when the next workshop is and sign up by calling the Admissions and Student Resource Center at 360.752.8345 or email:



    BTC offers several workshops to help students understand enrollment processes and provide the support you need when you need it. View the Entry Services Calendar for find dates and times for :

    • Future Student Advising
    • Paying for College
    • Program Info Sessions
    • And more!

    Reserve your spot now online. If you have questions, please contact the Admissions & Student Resource Center at 360.752.8345 or email Drop-ins are also welcome.



    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
    • Overview of RS requirements
    • Complete Verification form
    • Determine HS credit equivalencies
    • Learn about fee waivers

    Meet with our Running Start advisor so you can strike a balance between your high school goals, college goals, and financial abilities.

    Continue the admission steps on the Apply tab

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      Apply to BTC

      It’s easy and free to apply for admission!

    Once you have decided on a program of study, submit an application.

    Important Tips:

    • Before you start, review the certificates and degrees BTC offers and choose your program of study.
    • Be sure to complete all fields so we can process your application and provide appropriate correspondence with you.

    How to Apply:

    To apply to Running Start at BTC, complete and submit this application. You can give your application to your high school counselor or to the Running Start Advisor at BTC during Running Start drop-in advising or at an appointment.

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

    Plan ahead! Several BTC programs have additional admissions prerequisites/requirements which must be completed before you can be considered program ready. Visit the Program & Degrees page for details.

    Please review the Running Start Checklist to help guide you through the process.

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

    Continue the admission steps on the Placement tab

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      Take the Placement Test

      Assess Your Skills

    Degree or certificate-seeking students take the Accuplacer assessment test to evaluate reading, math, and grammar skills. Please note the following certificate programs do not require placement testing: Child Development, Hypnotherapy, Personal Fitness Trainer, Project Management, and Residential Home Inspection.

    Accuplacer 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. Starting off with Accuplacer means a more successful college experience.

    No appointment is needed to take the Accuplacer. Just pay the $21 fee to the BTC Cashier or Campus Store, and bring your receipt to your test. Plan to spend about two hours. 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)

    You may take one free retest on any of the five Accuplacer subject areas within 12 months of your initial test.

    If you have assessment scores or official transcripts from an accredited college or university, please see the Transfer Student tab.

    We recommend you refresh and review your skills before you take the test. Prepare for Accuplacer with a helpful study guide available on our Assessment Center page.

    Once you’ve completed placement testing, advisors are available to review your test score results with you. You can also contact the Admissions and Student Resource Center for more information, or whenever you need some guidance.

    You’re well on your way!

    Equal Access

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

    Continue the admission steps on the Orientation tab

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      Fri 8am-12pm
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      Complete Mandatory New Student Orientation

      Learn the Ropes

    Before you register for classes, you’ll need to complete the First Things First orientation, either online or in person. First Things First will really help with your transition to college, and it’s mandatory for all BTC students.

    First Things First covers topics like paying for school, enrolling in classes, choosing a program, and accessing support services. You’ll feel like a pro when you finish!

    Choose either online or in-person orientation.

    Online option:

    • 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 online orientation now!

    Equal Access

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

    Transfer Students

    While every student can benefit from the orientation, you are eligible to waive First Things First if you’ve earned more than 30 college credits. Keep in mind that the online orientation is customized to provide you the most relevant information to better meet your needs.

    If you’d still like to opt out of First Things First, submit the verification form.

    Continue the admission steps on the Verification tab

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      Complete Running Start Verification form

      Make it Official!

    Running Start Verification Form

    You will complete a new Running Start Enrollment Verification Form each quarter. Have your counselors and parents assist you with completing this form and sign it! Your quarterly Running Start status is dependent on this form.

    Required Signatures

    • Your own
    • Your parent or guardian
    • Your high school counselor
    • 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 allowed for Running Start at BTC
    • College classes or program your high school has approved for you to take including both Running Start and non-Running Start eligible classes.

    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 (not non-credit or non-graded)
    • State Support (not self-support)
    • Approved by the high school on the Running Start Enrollment Verification Form
    • Required as part of the program you are admitted into
    • 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.
    • 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 is not available Summer quarter. Summer students pay full price.)

    Running Start Contract

    Running Start students will need to complete the Running Start Contract and submit the contract to the Admission’s & Student Resource Center, or directly to their Running Start Advisor.


    Running Start Tuition Fee Waiver

    Student who are eligible may complete the Running Start Tuition Fee Waiver and submit the form to their Running Start Advisor. Criteria and eligibility is listed on the waiver.


    For more information, contact: Britny Covert at 360.752.8385 or e-mail

    Continue the admission steps on the Register tab

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      Running Start Register and Pay

      Let’s get you enrolled!

    Now you have been advised and have your Running Start Enrollment Verification Form completed, you are ready to sign up for classes!

    When can I register?

    If you have completed the Admissions Steps and are a new Running Start Student, register during New Program Student Registration as posted on the campus calendar.

    If you are being admitted into a program, check with Registration and watch for an invitation to register into the program. Check both your BTC email and your mail.

    BTC will contact you primarily through your BTC student email account. Don’t forget to activate your email account! Please keep all of your contact information up-to-date!

    How do I register?

    Bring your completed Running Start Enrollment Verification Form to Registration. You will register in person each quarter.

    Pay Tuition and Fees

    • Running Start students do not pay full tuition for Running Start eligible credits.
    • You will pay certain program fees, class fees, administrative and student approved fees. Program and class fees are class specific. See Running Start Costs to see rates for Administrative and student approved fees
    • If you are enrolled for more high school and college credits than are identified in the Running Start Funding Limit, you will be responsible for paying your college tuition for the additional credits.

    Pay When?

    • All tuition and fees are due by the tuition due date for the quarter.
    • If you register during the Summer for Fall quarter, your tuition and fees are due in full by the first Friday in September to allow for you to obtain your Running Start Enrollment Verification Form signatures.

    Pay Where?

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

    Low Income?

    Contact the Running Start Advisor or call 360-752-8345 if you think you may qualify for the Low Income Running Start Waiver.

    Keep in touch! Ask questions!

    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.

    Continue the admission steps on the Attend tab

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      Prepare to Attend

      Gear up for class

    As you get ready to attend, there are a few more items you need to consider in order to be prepared for your first day of class.

    Studying at a Distance

    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. BTC is in the process of transitioning to a new learning management system called Canvas. Our older system, Angel, will be retired after winter quarter 2014.

    To setup your email and to explore your online classes, please visit the Student login page.

    Need more help? Contact e-learning at:

    Attend New Student Workshops

    Learn how to use the BTC Student Portal, network log-in, and much more. Find workshop dates, times, and locations.

    Get a 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.

    Purchase Books

    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.