BTC's campus will be closed Monday, May 27, for Memorial Day, and there will be no daytime classes Tuesday, May 28, for a Faculty In-Service Day.

Running Start

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.

Some of the benefits of Running Start include:

  • Save Money
    Running Start students do not pay general 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.

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 the Running Start Fee per credit, class fees, program fees, books, supplies, and transportation.

Running Start students must be registered before the first day of BTC classes. 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. This may impact the amount of time it takes to fill out and process paperwork between schools.

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Apply to BTC

Explore your Options & Plan Ahead

BTC offers Campus Tours & Career Exploration appointments.

Apply to BTC

Apply online and make sure to select "Running Start" when prompted.

Within 10-14 business days of applying, you will receive an email with your ctcLink ID number.

For more information regarding entry requirements for programs, visit the Degrees & Certificates webpage or contact the Running Start Navigator email: with questions.

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Assessing Your Starting Point

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

To enroll in degree programs at BTC, both an English and math placement are required. There are multiple methods for a new student to assess their starting point at BTC. They may use one or more of the following:

  • Submit official Washington State High School transcripts from within the last three (3) years for evaluation
    • We cannot accept out-of-state High School Transcripts for placement.
  • Submit official transcripts from other colleges or universities for evaluation
    • Must be from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Submit other test scores for evaluation (ACCUPLACER, Compass, Asset, Smarter Balance, SAT, ACT etc.)
  • Complete Bellingham Technical College Guided Self-Placement Assessments

Guided Self-Placement (GSP) consists of online English and Math assessments. They define and demonstrate requirements that are specific to the different courses in which a student can place. Guided self-placement is intended to support students to be successful in their coursework. It is designed to help them make an informed choice about which level of classes are most appropriate to start. The assessments are free, and can be accessed online at any time.

Guided Self-Placement English and math Assessments:

Official transcripts/scores must be sent directly from the institution to BTC: Electronically via or by mail to BTC Admissions & Advising, 3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham WA 98225                                                                                                 *You must have an application to BTC on file for your transcript to be evaluated

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Verification/Required Forms

Running Start Paperwork

Running Start Enrollment Verification Form

You will need to complete a Running Start Enrollment Verification Form each quarter. Running Start will not pay for classes at BTC without submitting this completed form each quarter. This form is due at the time of enrollment or no later than the day before classes start. If you are registering during the summer for Fall Quarter and cannot obtain your high school counselor’s signature, you may register and submit your form by the Friday following Labor Day in September.

Required Signatures

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

Running Start Contract

The Running Start Contract includes important information about being a Running Start student at BTC and acts as a permission slip for college field trips and marketing events. Your BTC contract also contains a FERPA release. Please see your BTC Navigator with questions about this form.

Running Start Financial Assistance

Financial Assistance programs are available for students that demonstrate a need. Please schedule an appointment with your Running Start Navigator after completing your Running Start Enrollment Verification Form for more information and eligibility requirements.

Additional Financial Assistance

If you qualify for federal basic food benefits, you may eligible for the BFET program to assist with college expenses. Visit the Workforce Funding & Student Support website for more information.

All students are encouraged to apply for the BTC Foundation Scholarship by June 30 for the next school year to assist with fees, books, tools, etc.

For more information, contact the BTC Running Start Navigator at 360.752.8345 or e-mail

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Register & Attend

Let’s get you enrolled!

Once you have turned in your quarterly Running Start Enrollment Verification Form, you will need to meet with the BTC Running Start Navigator so they can teach you how to register and help you develop an academic plan.

Each quarter, Running Start students may register online or by calling Registration at 360.752.8350. You will email your completed Running Start Enrollment Verification Form to to gain access to register for classes. Running Start students must be registered before the first day of BTC classes.

Running Start Advising

New students are encouraged to email with any questions, for example:

  • Admissions Process
  • Program Options
  • Running Start Paperwork and Registration
  • Program Costs and Benefits
  • Determine High School Credit Equivalencies
  • Learn about Financial Assistance Programs

High School Course Equivalency Guides

Select your high school to see which BTC courses equate to high school requirements. If you do not see your high school listed, please contact the Running Start Navigator at  or 360.752.8345.

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), over the phone at 360.752.8311, or at the Cashier window, College Services (CS) building, where you may use cash, check, VISA, MasterCard, or financial assistance.

BTC Student Email

BTC Staff and Faculty will communicate with you via your BTC Student Email Account. To set up your email account, view your schedule, and explore your student resources, visit the Student Links page.


If you are taking any online or hybrid classes, be sure to check your BTC email for instructions on how to access your classes.


If you have questions about registering for classes, contact our Running Start Navigator 360.752.8345 or, or talk with Registration 360.752.8350 or

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


Running Start Bookings

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Hours & Contacts

Regular Hours

Mon to Thu: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fri: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Summer Hours

Mon to Thu: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday - Closed

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