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 (Optional)

To find an upcoming session, visit the Event Calendar. Some of the benefits that will be covered in the information session 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.

Follow the sequence below for an overview of the Running Start enrollment process. 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 the Running Start Fee per credit, class fees, 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.

Apply to BTC

Explore your Options & Plan Ahead

Attend an optional Running Start Information Session and learn about the exciting educational opportunities that BTC has to offer. BTC also offers Campus Tours, Career Exploration Workshops, and weekly drop-in hours for new and prospective students.

Apply to BTC

Apply online and enter "Running Start" & your program of interest in the "your intended major/area of study" field. You can also complete a paper Running Start Application and submit it to Admissions & Advising in College Services Rm 106.

  • Be sure to complete all fields so we can process your application and provide appropriate correspondence with you.
  • If you choose to complete the paper application, 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 more information regarding entry requirements for programs, visit the the Degrees & Certificates webpage or contact the High School Relations Program Manager at 360.752.8365 or email: with questions.


Assessing Your Starting Point

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

Take the ACCUPLACER Next-Generation Assessment (free for Running Start students) or complete one of the following:

  • Submit high school transcripts from within the last five years for evaluation
  • Submit official college transcripts for evaluation
  • Submit SAT and ACT test scores for evaluation
  • Submit other test scores for evaluation (Compass, Asset, etc.)
  • Submit Smarter Balance Assessment scores for evaluation


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. 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 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 Advisor 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 Advisor 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 Advisor at 360.752.8345 or e-mail

Register & 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. New 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 & Advising 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.

Running Start Advising

New students are encouraged to attend an optional Running Start Information Session. You may view and sign up for a session through the Running Start Events page. You may also schedule an advising appointment with the Running Start Advisor by calling the Admissions and Student Resource Center at 360.752.8345. 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 Tuesdays from 2 p.m. (please call to confirm availability). These sessions are first come, first served. The following topics may be covered during an information session or advising appointment:

  • 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 High School Relations Program Manager 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) 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 setup your email account, view your schedule, and to 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 Advisor 360.752.8345 or, or talk with Registration 360.752.8350 or

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


New Student Orientation

New Student Orientation is for new students to connect with faculty, staff, and students. Meet program faculty and tour your program. Learn about campus resources and what to expect your first quarter.

You can sign up online at our Events Calendar

If you have any questions please contact the Student Life Director at 360.752.8587 or

Hours & Contacts

Regular Hours

BTC is operating remotely - email and calls only
M-Th 8:00am-5:00pm
F 8:00am-12:00pm

Virtual Assistance Hours

Admissions Virtual Assistance
Tu-Th 10:00am-1:00pm