Rock Valley College
Running Start students chat in the Student Center Atrium.

Running Start

Running Start is a program that allows select, qualified, academically motivated students enrolled in participating high schools an opportunity to earn both their high school diploma and associate's degree concurrently by attending Rock Valley College full-time during their junior and/or senior years of high school!

About the Running Start Program

Running Start is a program that provides academically motivated students with an opportunity to take college courses at Rock Valley College (RVC), full-time, during their junior and/or senior year of high school as part of their high school education. The courses taken will be for Dual Credit, simultaneously meeting the requirements for both a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree.

(Check with your high school for programs offered at your school)

  • 1-year program: Offers seniors the opportunity to earn 1 year of college credit (1-year program is non-degree completion)
  • 2-year program: Offers juniors degree completion of an Associate of Arts or Associate in Science.
  • Strong academic standing in high school to guarantee high school graduation completion of Running Start Program
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in high school at the time of application
  • Must be in at least sophomore year of high school to apply for the Running Start Program
  • By the end of sophomore year, students must complete one year of Algebra, one year of Geometry (or Integrated Math 1 and Integrated Math 2), two years of English, and one year of Chemistry with a grade of “B” or higher.
  • School districts may elect to add additional qualifications. Please check with your high school to see if you qualify.

Students and their families should determine if Running Start is a good fit based on the student’s maturity and ability.

Things to Consider:

  • College tuition is paid in part or in whole depending on the local school district.
  • Students are responsible for books, supplies and transportation.
  • Running Start students are NOT eligible for financial aid.
  • Students in the 2-year programs complete an Associate’s Degree at the same time as graduating high school.
  • Students in the 1-year program earn college credits, building towards a degree.
  • Transferability of credits is determined by the transfer/4-year institution.
  • Grades become part of an official college transcript.
  • Running Start extends the variety of classes available to high school students.
  • Students may miss the social aspect of high school; however, there are many opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities at RVC, including Running Start Club.
  • No parent/guardian/teacher conferences, progress reports or mid-term grades sent home.
  • The RVC Academic Calendar is different from the high school calendar and must be followed.
  • Speak with your high school counselor about eligibility and determine which program is right for you.
  • Complete and submit Rock Valley College Enrollment Form at least one week prior to testing.
  • Take the ACCUPLACER Placement Test through your high school for college-level reading, sentence skills and math. You may submit ACT/SAT scores for a possible waiver of the ACCUPLACER.

Running Start Participating Schools

School/District 1 Year Program (Senior Year) 2 Year Program (Junior & Senior Year)
Auburn #205   X
Belvidere #100 X X
Belvidere North #100 X X
Byron #226 X X
Durand #322 X X
East #205   X
Guilford #205   X
Harlem #122   X
Jefferson #205   X
North Boone #200 X X
Pecatonica #321 X X
South Beloit #320 X X
Winnebago #323 X X

Information for Running Start Students