The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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The Hawkeye May 2024
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Running start into your career

By+Rodney+Budden+
©HAWKEYE image credit: Rodney Budden
By Rodney Budden

Imagine being a college student at 16. It can be intimidating, like having to be a grown-up without actually being a grown-up. But it also offers the opportunity to start moving as an individual early on. This is what the Running Start program can offer, but is it for you? 

While it’s common to consult your teachers and counselors for the pathways you should take, it’s also important to look at the experiences of current and past students. As a current Running Start student, here are a few things to consider.

As you may know, Running Start allows students to take college-level courses at a nearby community college while still in high school. These courses can count towards both high school graduation requirements and college credit. However, it’s important to carefully research the transfer policies, as some credits may not transfer. Ultimately, when deciding whether Running Start is right for you, think about your individual goals and learning styles.

One of the reasons I chose Running Start is being able to graduate early. I made sure to research which credits could transfer so I could knock out some of the prerequisites for the University of Washington. 

I especially wanted to get ahead in math and finish taking the calculus series, as I’ve heard how much more challenging it is in university. Although I’ve considered taking AP classes, the idea of studying for one big, timed test that determines whether I get college credit or not stressed me out too much. I preferred getting credit over the consistency of my work.

Running Start is best for those looking for flexibility, as the scheduling is more individual. Unlike most high school classes which follow a fixed schedule, Running Start courses are often offered at various times throughout the day and week, allowing students to create a more customized schedule that fits their needs. I appreciate this, because I can create a schedule that starts later in the day since I’m not a morning person. 

But it can be especially helpful for students who have other commitments, such as part-time jobs, extracurricular activities or family responsibilities. You are also able to choose your professor for each class and look at their class reviews at RateMyProfessor.com. This can be reassuring if someone is uncertain about a class they’ll take. In particular, it helped me to find a great math teacher. 

In addition, Running Start also allows for more independence and responsibility compared to traditional high school classes. Students are responsible for managing their own schedules and balancing their high school and college coursework. With fewer classes but more work per class, Running Start can be helpful for those who want to focus more deeply on specific subjects. 

For me, this makes tracking what I need to do for each class simpler and helps to get the most out of my classes. Additionally, Running Start courses may require more independent study and self-discipline, as students are responsible for keeping up with college-level coursework outside of the traditional high school setting.

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At a community college, the campus is usually open for longer hours than in high school, giving students access to a quiet place to study after hours. As someone who cannot focus at home, I take advantage of studying on campus, where I find myself more productive. Community colleges also often offer resources such as tutoring and advising to help students succeed in their courses.

On a typical day, I would go to the high school for 2nd period. Then I get picked up during PASS and arrive at Edmonds College at around 9:20 a.m. There, I grab a coffee at the on-site cafe and study before my 10:30 a.m. math class. After class, I have lunch and then either go to my 12:30 p.m. history class or go to the library to study if I don’t have class that day, and usually stay in the library until around 4 or 5 p.m. 

From my experience, since studying alone every day can be daunting, once in a while it’s good to study with a friend or two. However, I’ve also found that studying with others can be distracting more than beneficial depending on who you are with, so experiment with finding a balance. Another aspect to consider with Running Start is that it puts you out of your comfort zone. There are times when you’ll find yourself in a class without knowing anyone. But, don’t be afraid to reach out to your college professors and classmates; many are willing to help and can assist you in navigating the college lifestyle. 

You’ll also find plenty of other Running Start students from other schools who are in the same boat as you. I’ve been able to meet many people similar to me from different high schools through this program, and it’s made the unfamiliar college environment a little bit more familiar. 

Running Start can be a great opportunity for high school students who are looking for more flexibility, independence and an early start to their college education. It’s important to carefully consider your goals and learning style before deciding whether it’s the right fit for you. 

Some other factors to consider include transportation to and from the college, the cost of tuition and textbooks, and the availability of specific courses you are interested in. With careful planning and consideration, Running Start can be a great option for motivated and responsible high school students.

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About the Contributors
Arabella Devera
Arabella Devera, Tempo Co-Editor-in-Chief
Tempo Co-Editor-in-Chief Arabella Devera is a senior at MTHS and joined HSM to pursue a variety of interests including design, photography, and writing. This year, she hopes to grow her skills in her field of interest and become more confident in her work. Arabella also strives to become more supportive and offer assistance to others when needed. In addition, she enjoys watching anime, reading webtoons, and playing RPGs.
Rodney Budden
Rodney Budden, Graphics Editor
Rodney Budden is a senior at MTHS and is the graphics editor of The Hawkeye. He joined in his freshman year in order to expand his horizons, as well as make a few new friends. This year, he aspires to help newer members of the team and hone in on his drawing skills. In his free time, he likes to play the drums and collects band shirts as a hobby. His favorite bands are Mastodon, A Perfect Circle, and Type-O-Negative. He also enjoys traveling to new places around the state.
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