Are you a Washington State Running Start student?

Every year over 140 students start at PLU with college credits and/or an AA degree earned through the Running Start program.

*Running Start is a Washington state program in which high school juniors and seniors take part-time or full-time courses at a community or technical college.

I’m a Running Start student. Am I a transfer student?

This is the most common question we get about Running Start. If you’re a Running Start student and a high school senior when applying to PLU, the short answer is “no”. Because you haven’t yet obtained your high school diploma or GED, you are considered a first-year student with advanced standing and must apply as a first year student.

Do I still get to transfer my college credits to PLU?

Absolutely! And it will count toward your class standing at PLU. For example, if you earn an AA-DTA (Associate of Arts – Direct Transfer Agreement) degree through Running Start, you’ll be granted PLU junior academic status and could potentially complete your PLU degree in just two years.

There are two distinct advantages to being a First-Year Student with Advanced Standing:

  1. You will be able to transfer your college-level credits to PLU and may start at PLU with a higher academic status.
  2. You’ll be considered for higher-level freshmen academic scholarships, which are awarded for four years (including our top academic and leadership Presidential Scholarships). You will also be considered a freshman for financial aid purposes, granting you eligibility for up to four years if needed.

Meet Your PLU Admission Counselor

Your personal Admission Counselor can answer any of the questions you have about Running Start, as well as anything else PLU related!

Additional Running Start FAQs

How will my Running Start credits transfer to PLU?

In order to transfer Running Start credits to PLU:

  • Courses must be from an accredited Washington community college.
    • Only 100-level or above courses will transfer credit.
  • Students must submit an official college transcript.
  • Grades in Running Start courses must be a C- or higher.

If you earn an AA-DTA (Associate of Arts – Direct Transfer Agreement) or AS-T (Associate of Science – Transfer) degree through Running Start, you’ll automatically be granted junior class standing.

If you do not earn an AA-DTA or AS-T, your Running Start courses will be evaluated on a course by course basis.

To see course by course transfer credit equivalencies from a specific community college or university, please visit our Interactive Equivalency Guide.

Do I have to submit an official transcript from my Running Start college when I apply?

For admission purposes you only need to send official transcripts from your high school – your Running Start classes and grades will be on that transcript. We do not require transcripts from your Running Start college as a part of your application for admission.

In order for you to transfer your credits to PLU, you will need to submit an official college transcript before you enroll as a student. Once we have your official college transcript(s), your credits will be evaluated and class standing (i.e. sophomore standing, junior standing, etc.) determined.

I’m doing Running Start full-time. What should I do for the recommendation for the application?

We require one letter of recommendation at PLU for admission purposes. The Common Application will ask for a high school counselor recommendation, but we do recommend in this case that you also include a recommendation from either a high school teacher who has taught you a core academic class or one of your Running Start professors. We will accept up to three letters of recommendation as part of your application.

What if I’m both a homeschooled AND Running Start student?

You’ll find additional helpful information on our Homeschool webpage.

I already know what I want to major in. What Running Start classes should I take to get started on my major?

We have a number of major-specific two year transfer guides for some of our nearby community colleges that can help you determine what Running Start classes will benefit you the most. You’ll find those guides on our Washington 2 Year Colleges to PLU webpage.

If you’re interested in PLU’s Nursing program, please note that as a Running Start student, you are eligible to apply for Conditional Admission to Nursing, but will have to complete all Nursing prerequisite courses at PLU.

If you are planning on completing Nursing prerequisites through your Running Start program, you’ll find PLU’s Nursing prerequisites for Direct Admission on the PLU Nursing webpage.

I want to major in nursing - what are my next steps?

If you’re interested in PLU’s Nursing program, please note that as a Running Start student, you are eligible to apply for Conditional Admission to Nursing, but will have to complete all Nursing prerequisite courses at PLU.

If you plan on finishing your degree and all nursing prerequisites through your  program you can apply to the School of Nursing early using this Application for Degree Seeking High School Seniors. Please note – with this option you still apply to PLU Admission as a first-year student, but this program will allow you to be considered in the nursing program as a transfer and requires an application fee.

You’ll find PLU’s Nursing prerequisites as well as other helpful notes for Direct Admission on the PLU Nursing webpage.

I see that PLU will weight GPAs as part of the application process. Will you weight Running Start classes?

Our policy is to weight only IB, AP, Cambridge, Honors and Accelerated courses. We do not weight Running Start classes.

I'm a member of PTK at my Running Start college, and I see that PLU offers a PTK scholarship - am I eligible?

Our PTK Scholarship is a transfer scholarship, and because you are a first year with advanced standing (see above), you are eligible for our many first year scholarships, but are not eligible for any of the transfer-specific scholarships we offer.

What if I am not a Running Start student, but I’m doing other college in the high school programs (AP, IB, Cambridge, college courses not in Washington state)?

You’ll find additional information about those programs on our College-Level Credit at PLU webpage.

What if I did Running Start as a high school student, graduated, then went back to my community college to finish my transfer degree?

If you have earned college credits after achieving your high school diploma or GED, you are considered and must apply as a transfer student.

Am I required to live on campus?

At PLU all we require students to live on campus for 2 years unless:

  • They live with a parent, spouse, or child within 25 miles of PLU’s address (Notarized/Certified documentation is required)
  • Are 20 years of age or older
  • Are junior status (60 semester hours, 90 quarter hours) on or before September 1 to be exempt for the academic year, or on or before February 1 to be exempt for the spring semester

It is common that running start students are able to commute if they wish because of these exemption policies, however, we highly encourage students to consider living on campus for at least 1 year to gain the traditional college residential experience. You can read through our residential life policies here.