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Running Start

Running Start and the UW application

At the University of Washington we welcome students who have chosen to begin college coursework for college credit while still in high school. These programs are challenging and demanding, and we believe they provide excellent preparation for university study. 

Running Start allows academically qualified students in grades 11-12 to take college courses online or on the campus of the college offering the courses. In autumn 2021 we enrolled 1,624 freshmen who  participated in Running Start.

College in the High School allows academically qualified students in grades 10-12 to enroll in college courses that are offered at their high school. These programs are offered by many Washington colleges and universities. The UW partners with more than 100 high schools in Washington through UW in the High School.


If you are applying for the autumn quarter of the year you graduate from high school, apply as a freshman. (You are considered a freshman applicant in this circumstance; once you enroll as a student, your college credit may qualify you for sophomore or junior standing.)

If you start or continue college after leaving high school (excluding the summer term immediately following high school), apply as a transfer applicant using the transfer application.

Recommendations for academic planning

We encourage applicants — particularly those with a significant number of college credits — to begin their academic planning as early as possible to ensure that they make the most of their college credit.

  • Keep in mind that you have established a college record. Grades you earn now could affect admission to the UW and to your intended major.
  • Students admitted through a freshman application are expected to declare a major by the time they have completed five academic quarters (not including summer quarters) and earned 105 credits. Thus, no matter how many credits you enter with — even if your credit total exceeds 105 credits — you will have five quarters at the UW before you need to declare a major. You may declare a major sooner if you are ready.

Two online tools will help you look ahead toward UW requirements — for your intended major and for graduation — while still completing coursework at the college you are now attending:

  • For transferable courses at Washington state community colleges and transfer credit policies, see the Equivalency Guide.
  • Consult the Majors page to help you prepare for your intended major and UW graduation requirements.


You may be considered for freshman scholarships as long as you do not enroll in another degree-seeking program after leaving high school and before enrolling in the UW.

Tips for the application

Running Start students and students with other dual enrollment credits should apply to the UW with the freshman admission application. Running Start, UW in the High School or other dual enrollment classes should be entered in the high school coursework section (9th – 11th Grade Coursework and/or 12th Grade Coursework, as applicable). Be sure to select the box “I took this course at a college and/or I received college credit for this course” to let us know the course is part of Running Start.


  • Changes to your senior year schedule If you anticipate your senior year schedule might change or you haven’t met with an adviser to make your plans, please let us know in the “additional space” section of the application.
  • Transcripts are not required for admission consideration, and we ask that you do not send them unless requested. However, having an unofficial copy in hand may help you complete the application.

See the how to apply section for more details and information on self reporting your academic coursework.