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What is Running Start?


Running Start is a partnership between Whatcom Community College and the local, public high schools.  Students can take courses tuition-free at WCC in addition to or instead of their high school classes.  Students may enroll simultaneously in high school and college classes, or solely at the College. 

When a student completes a course through Running Start, the credits count for both high school and college credit.  The college credits completed will transfer to most universities and save the student time, effort and money towards their university degree.

Students can still compete in athletics and clubs at their high school and be as involved in their high school as they choose.  Additionally, students can easily coordinate their classes with work, family, faith and personal commitments.

Click here to read more in our Brochure


Who's eligible for Running Start?

Students must be in 11th or 12th grade as determined by the public high school and demonstrate the ability to enroll at college level English as determined by the WCC Placement Policy.  Math Placement is not required for Admission.

Home schooled students will work with their school's district office annually to determine grade level (home school students in the Bellingham School District should contact the high school registrar). Students attending a private school must register with a public high school to receive Running Start funding.

How will I be admitted to Running Start?

For Running Start Admission students should contact the Running Start Office at 360.383.3123.

WCC Running Start Placement Policy

Participation in Running Start requires that students demonstrate the ability to enroll in college level English.  The two most common ways to qualify for Running Start at WCC are to demonstrate college level English ability through High School GPA or the Accuplacer Reading Test. 

High School GPA

Students who have earned a cumulative high school GPA of 2.5 or higher and/or a high school GPA of 2.5 over the three most recent consecutive semesters are eligible for Running Start admission at WCC.  Students' high school records must include a minimum of 15 graded courses.  Students must provide documentation (i.e. transcript, report card, Skyward report) to verify the high school GPA requirement.

Call us to schedule a review of your documentation 360.383.3123.


Accuplacer Reading Test

Students who have not earned the minimum high school GPA required for Admission may take the Accuplacer Reading Test to demonstrate college level English ability. Student who complete the Accuplacer Reading Test must place at college level in order to be admitted to Running Start.

Call 360.383.3123 to sign up for a test. 

Important testing information: 

  • A one-time testing fee of $20 will be charged unless the student is eligible for a Fee Waiver.
  • Bring picture ID with you. Arrive on time. Before paying the testing fee, go to the assigned testing room unless otherwise directed.
  • When you complete the English and reading tests, you will be given your scores. Please bring them to the Running Start Office where you will receive more information and learn about your next steps. If you need further information about enrolling in courses, please contact the Running Start Office at 360.383.3123 or email
  • For directions to the campus and to locate Laidlaw Center, please view our campus map.

Practice questions:
Practice questions are available for review (on the right-side column, select Free Sample Questions. Review the Sentence Skills and Reading exercises only - DO NOT USE the Math or ESL questions).

Special testing instructions for students with an IEP or 504 plan:
Students who need to test under special conditions should make arrangements through a Running Start advisor before coming to the College by calling 360.383.3123. Please do not sign up for a group test before speaking to an advisor.

English as a Second Language  (ESL) testing:
Students who were enrolled or are currently enrolled in ELL or ESL classes in high school should contact the Running Start Office at 360.383.3123 and arrange to take the QUIA test at the College. Please allow 3.5 hours for this test.

Math Placement

Math Placement is not required for Running Start Admission.  Students who wish to take a math class or a math-based science class at the College must first take the WCC math placement test. Students are encouraged to take math either at the high school or at the college every year. The math placement test is usually completed in a separate session after students have taken the initial sentence skills and reading tests outlined above. 

Students take the math test independently in the Testing Center (Laidlaw 133). Please arrive in the Testing Center at least 1.5 hours before it is scheduled to close. When re-taking a math test, please report to the Running Start office before going to the Testing Center. Contact the Testing Center at 360.383.3050 or for hours and more information.

  • Study help can be found on WCC's Online Math Center. This site has a list of concepts covered on each math test. Paper handouts of this information are also available in the Running Start Office, Laidlaw 134.
  • No calculators needed. 
  • Bring photo ID and your Whatcom Community College ID number. 
  • Only college-level math is funded by Running Start. However, students may self-pay for below-college level (algebra) courses.

When you have your math placement results, bring your score sheet to the Running Start office in Laidlaw 134, or call a Running Start advisor the next day.


Attend an information session

To learn more about Running Start, please attend one of the upcoming one-hour information sessions listed below. No RSVP necessary.




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