Running Start

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Should I take Classes through Running Start or take AP Classes?

  • There are advantages to both.  Much would depend on whether you want to stay at your high school or want a different learning environment.  You should contact the university to which you plan to transfer to and ask about their acceptance policies for both options.

2.  What is the retesting policy if I do not pass the COMPASS test the first time?

  • After your initial test, you can retest at any time before the quarterly deadline.  You can retest any time the testing lab is open and you do not need an appointment.  Bring your photo ID.  There will be a fee for retesting – check the Clark College website

3.  How many quarters can I be in Running Start?

  • You can participate a maximum of six quarters (fall, winter, spring) in the junior and senior years.  There is no Running Start program during the summer, but you may attend and pay your own tuition.  If a student takes classes during the summer, he/she must complete a “transcript request form” through Clark College and bring it to the registrar at Prairie High School.

4.  Can I take evening classes?

  • Yes, a student may take evening classes.  Many students who begin participation in the winter quarter do so because winter quarter starts before our semester ends and they cannot drop 1st semester high school courses at the time.  For this reason, they must schedule classes in the late afternoon or evening.

5.  Can Running Start students take online classes?

7.  Should I stay at Clark College to finish my Associates Degree before transferring to a 4-Year University?

  • There are some advantages in doing so.  Talk with the advisors in the Running Start program and with representatives from the university to which you plan to transfer.

8.  If I am a senior, how do I get my college credits from Clark College on my transcript at the university to which I am transferring?

  • You will need to complete a “transcript request” form at the Clark College Registration Office to ask that an official transcript be mailed the university to which you are planning to attend.

 Parents have access to school records, student progress, and other information.

 The academic records of college students  are protected under FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). College staff may not share information without the student’s consent.
 High school is mandatory and free (unless you choose other options).  College is voluntary and may be expensive.
 Your time is usually structured by others.  You manage your own time.
 You need permission to participate in extracurricular activities.  You must decide whether to participate in extracurricular activities. (Hint: Choose wisely in the 1st quarter and then add later).
 You can count on parents and teachers to remind you of your responsibilities and to guide you in setting priorities.  You will be faced with more responsibilities and decisions you have not had to face previously. You must balance your responsibilities and set priorities.
 You will usually be told what your responsibilities are and corrected if your behavior is out of line.  You’re old enough to take responsibility for what you do and don’t do, as well as for the consequences of your decisions.
 The responsibility of identifying a student’s disability and implementing accommodations and curriculum modifications falls on the high school.  The responsibility for identifying, documenting and disclosing a disability falls on the student. The implementation of accommodations is led by the student and facilitated through a team effort involving the student, Disability Services staff, and the student’s faculty members.
 Each day you proceed from one class directly to another.  You often have hours between classes; class times vary throughout the day and evening.
 The school year is 36 weeks long; some classes extend over both semesters and some do not.  The academic year is divided into three separate 10-week quarters with three days for final exams. Summer term is slightly shorter.
 You spend 6 hours each day—30 hours a week—in class.  You spend 12-18 hours each week in class.
 Most of your classes are arranged for you.  You arrange your own schedule.  You may take classes in the morning, afternoon, or evening.  Schedules appear lighter than they actually are.
 Teachers carefully monitor class attendance.  Professors may not formally take roll, but they are still likely to know whether or not you attended. They may grade on participation.
 Classes generally have no more than 35 students.  Classes at Clark will also generally have no more than 35 students. A few lecture classes may be larger.
 You are provided with textbooks at little or no expense and you may take a school bus to classes.  You need to budget substantial funds for textbooks, which will usually cost more than $200 each quarter.  You will be required to arrange your own transportation.
 You are not responsible for knowing what it takes to graduate.  Graduation requirements are complex, and differ for different majors, transfer schools, and sometimes different years. You are expected to know those that apply to you.

 Teachers check your completed work.  Professors may not always check completed homework, but they will assume you can perform the same tasks on tests.
 Teachers remind you of your incomplete work.  Professors may not remind you of incomplete work.
 Teachers have been trained in teaching methods to assist in imparting knowledge to students.  Professors have been trained as experts in their particular areas of research.
 Teachers provide you with information you missed when you were absent.  Professors expect you to get any notes from classes you missed from classmates.
 Teachers present material to help you understand the material in the textbook.  Professors may not follow the textbook. Instead, to amplify the text, they may give illustrations, provide background information, or discuss research about the topic you are studying. Or, they may expect you to relate the classes to the textbook readings. You will be expected to take notes and learn from the textbook on your own.
 Teachers often write information on the board to be copied in your notes.  Professors may lecture nonstop, expecting you to identify the important points in your notes. When professors write on the board, it may be to amplify the lecture, not to summarize it. Good notes are a must.
 Teachers approach you if they believe you need assistance. Teachers are often available for conversation before, during, or after class.  Professors are usually open and helpful, but most expect you to initiate contact if you need assistance. Professors want you to visit during their scheduled office hours if you have questions.
 Teachers impart knowledge and facts, sometimes drawing direct connections and leading you through the thinking process.  Professors expect you to think about and synthesize seemingly unrelated topics.
 Teachers often take time to remind you of assignments and due dates.  Professors expect you to read, save, and consult the course syllabus (outline); the syllabus spells out exactly what is expected of you, when it is due, and how it will be graded.

 You may study outside of class as little as 0 to 2 hours a day, and this may be mostly last-minute test preparation.  You need to study at least 2 hours outside of class for each hour in class.
 You often need to read or hear presentations only once to learn all you need to learn about them.  You need to review class notes, textbook material and textbook notes regularly.
 You are expected to read short assignments that are then discussed, and often re-taught, in class.  You are assigned substantial amounts of reading and writing which may not be directly addressed in class.
 You will usually be told in class what you needed to learn from assigned readings.  It’s up to you to read and understand the assigned material; lectures and assignments proceed from the assumption that you’ve already done so.
 Testing is frequent and covers small amounts of material.  Testing is usually infrequent and may be cumulative, covering large amounts of material. You, not the professor, need to organize the material to prepare for the test. A particular course may have only 2 or 3 tests in a quarter.
 Makeup tests are often available.  Makeup tests are seldom an option; if they are, you need to request them—prior to the test.
 Teachers frequently rearrange test dates to avoid conflict with school events.  Professors in different courses usually schedule tests without regard to the demands of other courses or outside activities.
 Teachers frequently conduct review sessions, pointing out the most important concepts.  Professors rarely offer review sessions, and when they do, they expect you to be an active participant, one who comes prepared with questions.
 Mastery is usually seen as the ability to reproduce what you were taught in the form in which it was presented to you, or to solve the kinds of problems you were shown how to solve.  Mastery is often seen as the ability to apply what you’ve learned to new situations or to solve new kinds of problems.
 Teachers provide step by step assistance with essay or research papers.  Professors outline the topics and format of papers in class or in the course syllabus and expect students to use the library, writing lab and other resources for assistance.
 Grades are given for most assigned work.  Grades may not be given for all assigned work.
 Consistently good homework grades may help raise your overall grade when test grades are low.  Grades on tests and major papers usually provide most of the course grade.
 Extra credit projects are often available to help you raise your grade.  Extra credit projects cannot, generally speaking, be used to raise a grade in a college course.
 Initial test grades, especially when they are low, may not have an adverse effect on your final grade.  Watch out for your first tests. These are usually “wake-up calls” to let you know what is expected—but they also may account for a substantial part of your course grade. You may be shocked when you get your grades. If you get a low grade, see your instructor, tutoring center or academic advisors to get help. It’s always better to “over prepare” for your first test.
 You may graduate as long as you have passed all required courses with a grade D or higher.  You may graduate only if your average in classes meets the degree or departmental standard—typically a 2.0 or C.
 “Effort Counts”. Courses are usually structured to reward a “good-faith effort”.  “Results Count.” Though “good-faith effort” is important in regard to the professor’s willingness to help you achieve good results, it will not substitute for results in the grading process.

 Parents and students may both be informed of important upcoming events, deadlines, academic progress, or due dates through handouts, conferences, emails,  phone calls etc.  Students, not parents, are expected to check their Clark College student email account or the college website for important updates or information and refer to their course syllabus for pertinent dates and deadlines.  The STUDENT is the one responsible to acquire this information and follow through.
 Most high schools operate on a semester based system that have varying start dates, end dates, school breaks, teacher work-days, observed holidays, etc.  Clark College operates on the quarter system.  Start dates, end dates, school breaks or cancellations may vary from the high school.  Compare the academic calendar for both and plan for these differences.
 High schools are likely to present more age-appropriate content and discuss less controversial issues due to the predominately “minor” population.  Clark College welcomes the expression of diverse and opposing views that foster learning in a collegiate setting.  This adult environment includes potentially uncomfortable viewpoints that challenge closely held beliefs. Instructors are not required to substitute assignments if the student chooses not to complete them.