Apply to Running Start

Running Start
Phone: (509) 963-1351
Fax: (509) 963-1690

Admission & Testing Information

Running Start is available to local high school students at the main campus in Ellensburg, at CWU Sammamish, and online. Below, you can learn more about our admission requirements, placement testing for specific courses, and apply to the program.

For more information, you are also welcome to attend one of our virtual information sessions.

Upcoming Important Application Dates:

  • Winter 2022 applications will be accepted from 9/10/2021 - 12/15/2021

  • Spring 2022 applications will be accepted from 12/16/2021 - 3/17/2021

  • Fall 2022 applications will open in February, 2022

We encourage all students to apply and complete any required testing early.

Please note: CWU requires all students, including Running Start students, to submit proof of vaccination for COVID-19 or be approved for an exemption. Information about how to submit proof or request an exemption is available on the Student Health Services website.

  • Admission Requirements

    Applicants must be a junior or senior enrolled through a public school district in Washington State. Homeschool and private school students should contact their local school district office for information about enrolling in the district to access Running Start.

    • Applicants with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher* have met the admissions requirements.
    • Applicants with a 2.00 - 2.99 cumulative GPA will be considered for admission through a comprehensive review process, which takes into consideration: high school GPA, placement test scores, personal statement, high school grade trends and course rigor. For those with a 2.00 - 2.49 GPA, a personal statement is required.
    • Homeschool students are evaluated on an individual basis and must submit both homeschool transcripts and appropriate test scores.

    To be considered for admission, students must have at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA in high school and any applicable college work.

    *Test scores are required for English and math placement for all students with a cumulative GPA below 3.0. Please be aware that regardless of GPA, placement scores are also required to enroll in English or math courses.

  • Testing Requirements

    In order to register for a particular class, students must meet the eligibility requirements as stated in the CWU Course Catalog. Requirements usually vary between classes, but two common requirements are either successfully passing previous coursework and/or placement testing. Please see the CWU College Catalog for a full listing of appropriate placement tests and scores.

    CWU offers placement testing in English, math, and world languages. Students should choose the test that is appropriate for them. Explanations and study guides for English and math testing are available below.

    Testing fees and directions for scheduling testing are available on the Testing Services website.

    Testing Resources

    CWU English Placement Exam

    The English Placement exam at CWU consists of a reading comprehension test (Accuplacer Next Generation Reading) and a writing test (Writeplacer). These are computerized tests. Please see the study guides and other information below:

    Next Generation Reading Exam Sample Questions (not timed, must earn 236 or higher to qualify)
    Writeplacer Sample Essays (60 minutes, must earn a 5 or higher to qualify)

    Accuplacer Next Generation Math Placement Exam

    The Accuplacer Next-Generation Math Placement Exam consist of three different math tests: 1) Arithmetic, 2) Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, and Statistics (QAS), and 3) Advanced Algebra and Functions (AAF). The exam is an adaptive test that starts in Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, and Statistics (QAS). If a student answers enough questions correctly, the student will then move in to the Advanced Algebra and Functions (AAF) exam. If a student answers too many questions in QAS incorrectly, the student will move in to the Arithmetic exam.

    This exam is not timed. See study guides:

    Next Generation Arithmetic Sample Questions
    Next Generation Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, and Statistics Sample Questions
    Next Generation Advanced Algebra and Functions Sample Questions

    ALEKS Math Placement

    The ALEKS exam gives students five attempts to get their best score. The first attempt is taken from your computer at home and is not used for placement. This is a diagnostic tool that reveals your strengths and areas for improvement. Based on your performance on the diagnostic attempt, you will then have access to practice modules to prepare you for attempts 2-5. These will help to prepare you to get your first best score on the proctored attempts. You must wait 48 hours after your first attempt and complete 3 hours of practice modules before your second attempt.

    Attempts 2-5 must be proctored and can be at taken at home. Testing Services has information on their website for how to take the proctored test from home.

  • Apply Now

    Students can apply by creating an account and completing the online Running Start application. Students will need to provide all information requested and submit a copy of their high school transcript before submitting the application. Students with appropriate test scores should also submit a scanned copy of their test scores in the online application.

    NOTE: You cannot be logged into a CWU account of any kind (MyCWU, Outlook, or Canvas) and complete the application. If you receive an error message, please clear your browsing history and open the application in a new window.

    Students will be notified via the email they provided in their application of their status and whether any additional information is needed.

    If you have questions about your application, please email us at