Eastern has been involved with Running Start for more than 17 years and has since seen a steady increase in the number of participating students.
EWU currently has 375 Running Start students, according to Program Director Sara Sexton-Johnson.
“There has been a healthy interest in the program for many years. Running Start is not for every student so it is important that both high school counselors and EWU staff work together to assist students in their decision to participate in Running Start,” Sexton-Johnson said in an email.
Students in high school participating in the Running Start program are required to apply to EWU as incoming freshman. In addition to meeting admission requirements, students are also required to attend Eastern’s summer orientation program.
Freshman Conner McNeilly said, “Not a lot of my friends from [high] school are doing Running Start with me and I think that’s the only downfall. I like the freedom and the class environment of college classes. Even though it’s a lot harder than high school, I know it’s important for me to learn sooner than later and Running Start does just that for me.”
McNeilly is in his last year at Cheney High School. He hopes to pursue a career in chemical engineering.
In the last two years, the academic advising office and running start office have worked together in helping students from high school in the Running Start program make the transition into EWU.
“Eastern’s done a lot and still has more we can do in relation to having a policy that all freshmen are assigned an academic adviser,” Assistant Director of General Undergraduate Academic Advising Patty Rockwell said.
Other universities offering the Running Start program include Washington State University, Central Washington University and Evergreen State College.
“Running Start student needs are accommodated through an office of staff specifically designed to serve Running Start students,” said Sexton-Johnson. “Running Start is a vital program that serves not only to enrich our campus, but creates good will and positive relationships with area high schools.”