Washington's Running Start program allows for high school juniors and seniors to step into the college classroom sooner, gaining credits and building connections before they even get a high school diploma. This program offers students the chance to obtain an Associates degree and in my case, over 60 credits that transferred to my college. However, with all of the great benefits that I got from Running Start, there were also a few misconceptions that would have impact my decision back in 11th grade.
Pro: You actually make more friends.
A huge misconception with the Running Start program is that you'll lose a lot of friends at your high school. From my experience, this may be true, but you are given the possibility to interact with students from other schools that you might not have ever known. If anything, this program allowed me to make more friends than I ever would've without it.
Con: You spend a lot less time with people your age.
Although many of my classes did have high schoolers in them, there were a lot of times that I had to interact with adults going back to school or recent high school grads. While it was cool to interact with these people, it was also a little strange at times to be in that situation.
Pro: You get a degree.
The main purpose of the Running Start program is to allow students to obtain a diploma and a degree at the same time. Being able to walk out of high school with an associates degree in your hand is a really great feeling.
Con: Not all of your credits will actually transfer (probably).
The worst part about Running Start is thinking that all of your credits that you worked so hard to earn will transfer. Unfortunately, the truth is, most likely not everything will perfectly transfer unless you have a direct transfer agreement or you get really lucky. Regardless, you probably still will get a lot of college credit out of the program.
Pro: You have a lot more free time.
At the school I went to, I only took three classes a day and a lot of times, we had opportunities to take classes online. I was able to work my schedule so that I latest I had class was 11 am. Having this chance gave me so much time to practice self-care, do things that made me happy, and go to the gym.
Con: You have a lot more freedom.
In college, your teachers or professors really don't care that much if you show up or not, some might not even take attendance. This fact means that there is a lot more opportunity to skip class which can really hurt your grades. Running Start gives students a lot of freedom that if abused can turn into a really bad thing.