Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press


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The running start program offers drawbacks and benefits

Many Liberty students have heard of the state funded program called Running Start, which gives students a chance to experience college early, but not everyone knows all the things the program has to offer.  Most prominently, students work toward an associate’s degree in science or arts, which they earn through classes at a local community college, which additionally count as high school credits replacing of the usual high school classes.

“If you’re someone who likes that independence, freedom, and flexibility in their schedule, but also likes to switch things up, that can be a benefit [of Running Start],” Counselor Maren Holzinger said.

While public state colleges accept Running Start credits, most other colleges prefer AP credits to Running Start ones due to more recognizable standards of achievement and simpler transferability.

The program also allows students to jump straight to their junior year of college after graduating from high school, potentially saving them both time and money in college.  They could either take other classes, or graduate early in order to lower their student debt and get into the workforce early.  Commuting to campuses for Running Start may also be an issue.  Students can’t get financial aid for courses and textbooks in Running Start; however, the tuition is pre-paid by the state government, which does significantly limit the cost.

“I would say that [Running Start] is meant for people who are driven and have a good idea what they want to do after high school because you transfer in as a junior (in college),” Holzinger said.  If a student is not ready for the college environment and level of responsibility, they may not be prepared for Running Start either.

But there’s something to say for the experiences as well.  Classes at Running Start are student chosen (just like at a college) and can be taken during multiple periods of the day, allowing for students to schedule classes later in the day than would normally be possible at high school.

“My favorite experiences in Running Start so far have been getting up every morning around 8:30 or even 10 if I want. Sleep is more awesome than ever,” Samantha Stewart, a student currently enrolled in Running Start, said.

Students also have the potential to engage in extracurricular activities at both their chosen community college (as part of the Running Start program), and at their high school, although the amount of free time of the students may inevitably limit the amount of activities they can engage in at one time.  “You’re not part of the Liberty community; you’re not quite as connected there,” Holzinger said.