Pierce College District Running Start Tips, Reminders and Helpful Hints for RS Students

How to Plan Your Schedule

April 28

Registration deadline for RS students is December 7.

We always like for you to come prepared to your advising and registration appointments.  One of the ways you can be prepared is by bringing at least two planned schedules.  We like you to do this because it may happen that your first choice of classes is not available when you are able to register.

In order to plan a schedule, you can try a few different methods:

1. Students can view the quarterly class schedule on the Pierce College Web site.  You can look in the schedule to see what classes are offered each quarter.  This is available online at the Pierce College web site, usually about three weeks prior to the start of registration.  You can search by subject, campus, class type, days of the week, time of day, instructor, or keyword.

You also can combine search criteria. For example, if you are looking for English classes offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Puyallup campus, select English from the subject drop down menu, Puyallup from the location drop down menu, and make sure the boxes next to Tuesday and Thursday are the only ones checked in days of the week.

First, you will need to choose the quarter and campus you want to attend – Puyallup or Fort Steilacoom.  You then also have the option of choosing specific days and times you want to attend, specific instructors, or subjects available.  (Note that you don’t have to search by these criteria – they are just available if you want to use them.)  The schedule is then organized by course type.  For instance, all Accounting classes at the Fort Steilacoom campus will be located in the Accounting section. Each course that is offered will be listed, followed by a brief description of the course and a list of any prerequisites the course has.   Below that, it will list, from left to right, the four-digit item number, the section, the number of credits, the instructor’s name,  the days the class meets, the time the class meets, and the location.  If the course is offered at more than one time, you will see other options listed.For detailed information regarding open seats in a class, exact start dates, and other information, click on the item number of the class. A separate window will open in your browser.

Remember that classes fill up quickly, so just because you see that a class is offered, it doesn’t mean it is open.  You can use the Student Online Services to make sure the classes you want to take aren’t full.

2. Use the Student Online Services.  There are a number of tools available at the Student Online Services page.

  • Class Availability by Item Number – This works great for students who know exactly what class they want to take.  Just find the class in the schedule, locate the four digit item number, and type it into the box.  A window will open showing how many seats are available in this class.
  • Schedule Planner – This works well for students who have specific times when they are available and have a pretty good idea of which classes they want to take.  The Schedule Planner can help you find classes that will work with your schedule. You input the times you are available for classes and which classes you’d like to take. It will develop a sample class schedule for you to consider.
  • Matrix – Search Courses by Discipline and Time – This tool works well for students who have certain times available to take classes and are flexible about which classes they want to take.   First, choose which campus you want to take your classes at.  It will then open a schedule that is organized by time and discipline.   This helps in finding courses that fit the specific time you are available.
  • eSchedule – Quarterly Course Schedule – The eSchedule is an online Quarterly Course Schedule you can use to search the current quarter for specific class offerings or to check class availability at a specific Pierce College campus.

All of the tools above will help you to choose the classes, days, and times you want to attend at Pierce College.

3. When viewing the class schedule and the scheduling tools above, you may see classes that look interesting, but you’re not really sure what they are about.  There is another great tool available in the Student Online Services page that will allow you to learn more about the classes you are thinking of taking.  It is the e-Catalog and it lists program information, course information (including course content and course abilities), and the current syllabi for most courses.

The above tools will help you to create your own class schedule.  If you still have questions or are unsure about how to plan your schedule, always feel free to contact the Running Start office.  Remember, one of the ways college is different from high school is that you are the one who will be deciding what times you will come to school and which classes you will take.  Your Running Start advisor will help you to make decisions about which courses are best suited for your high school requirements and educational goals, but ultimately the responsibility of creating your schedule lies with you.

Expected Costs

April 23

While tuition for college-level courses (up to 18 credits) is covered by your school district, Running Start isn’t free.   You should expect, when entering the Running Start program, the following costs –

  • Testing fee – $15.00.  Please see the Testing Center website for fee information.
  • Admissions fee – $25.00 effective August 1, 2010
  • Comprehensive student fee: parking, transcripts, and graduation expenses: $1.50 per credit ($15 maximum)
  • Technology fee: to advance the use of technology by students: $3.50 per credit ($35 maximum)
  • Fort Steilacoom Recreation Center Fee: building costs of a multi-purpose student recreation center for students at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom: $3.50 per credit ($35 maximum)
  • Puyallup Fitness and Recreational Fee: the costs of a fitness and recreational center for students at Pierce College Puyallup: $4.25 per credit (No maximum)
  • Textbooks – All students are expected to pay for their own textbooks.  Textbooks can be very expensive, ranging from $50 – $200 per class.  Please plan ahead so you can cover these expenses.
  • Course fees – Certain courses have fees attached to them.  For instance, all full-online courses have a $40 fee per course.  Science or art courses may have a materials or lab fee.  You will see this fee when you look at the course in the bulletin.
  • Transportation – Students are responsible for their own transportation.  Both campuses are served by Pierce Transit.  Parking is available on campus for students who prefer to drive themselves.
  • Food – Students must pay for their own food.  Because students will be creating their own schedules, if they want a break to eat, they will need to plan their schedule accordingly.  Both campuses have a cafeteria and the Fort Steilacoom campus has a coffee stand where students can purchase snacks.

Please note that many of the fees are based on the number of credits you are taking and are quarterly fees, meaning you will have to pay them each quarter.

Student and course fees will need to be paid at the time of registration.  Students will be withdrawn from their classes if they do not pay their fees.

Pierce College does offer a fee waiver and a book assistance program to qualifying students.  For more information about this, please view the Running Start Student Fee Waiver and Book Loan Application.  Please review the document carefully and note that the fee waiver does not apply to all fees.

Fees are subject to change at any time.

See an example of fees and textbook costs for a possible schedule below.

This student is taking courses at the Fort Steilacoom campus.  Students taking 10 credits or above at the Fort Steilacoom campus all pay a mandatory $85 fee each quarter unless they have a fee waiver.   (Fees above 10 credits at the Puyallup campus are slightly higher.)  Two of the courses this student is taking also have a class fee, bringing the total fees to $111.50.  Please keep in mind that even if you qualify for a fee waiver, it only applies to the mandatory fee, not class fees.

Notice that there are two prices listed for each book – a used price and a new price.  If you purchase used books, you’ll save a lot of money.

The fees and textbook expenses would be $454.16 with new books and $368.52 with used books.

The above is an example of how much fees and books can cost each quarter.  Your own fees and books costs will depend on what classes you take.

Mandatory New Student Orientation

April 23

IMPORTANT: New Running Start students must attend a Pierce College Running Start orientation or they will be withdrawn from their classes.  Please keep in mind that this is not an information session you may have attended at your high school.   You will sign up for the orientation when you sign up for your classes.

Winter 2011 Registration for New Students

April 23

Registration deadline for RS students is December 7.

If you are planning on enrolling in Pierce College as a new Running Start student for the winter 2011 quarter, please do the following:

**Effective July 1, 2010 – prospective Running Start students must complete an admissions form ($25.00) and receive a Pierce College Student ID number prior to taking the COMPASS.  Note:  It can take 1-2 weeks to receive a Pierce College Student ID.  Students can expedite the admission process by providing an e-mail address on their form.

1. Take the COMPASS assessment.  Please call the Testing Center that is nearest to you to find out information about testing dates and fees.  You can reach the Puyallup Testing Center at 253-840-8343 or the Fort Steilacoom Testing Center at 253-964-6521.

Please note that you will need to bring with you to your COMPASS appointment a Photo ID, receipt for the COMPASS fee from the Cashier’s Office and Social Security Number or Pierce College Student ID.  You can also view important information such as sample COMPASS questions, fee information, and schedules at the Testing Center website: http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/dist/testing/.

2. Meet with your high school counselor to discuss your COMPASS scores and high school requirements.  At this time, you will fill out  a pre-enrollment form indicating which classes you plan on taking at Pierce College.

3. Schedule an appointment to meet with a Running Start advisor to register for classes.  Registration for new students will start on November 30.  You can call to schedule an appointment starting October 18.  Please have your Pierce College student ID number ready when you call.  We request that students, not parents, call to schedule their own appointments for assessment and advising.  This promotes self-advocacy, which is critical to Running Start students’ success.

You will need to bring your pre-enrollment form, completed and signed by your high school counselor and, if you are under 18, a parent or guardian.  You will also need to bring a copy of your COMPASS test scores and two planned schedules.
Students will register for their classes at their advising appointment.  Please be prepared to pay all fees at the time of registration.  You can view information about mandatory student fees here and fee waiver available to Running Start students here.

Starting November 3,  you will be able to view the winter schedule at http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/.

Puyallup: 253-840-8329
Fort Steilacoom: 253-964-6520

Winter 2011 Registration for Former Students

April 23

Registration deadline for RS students is December 7.

If you are a former Running Start student and plan on returning to Pierce College as a Running Start student for the winter 2011 quarter, please do the following:

1. Go to the Running Start office to request an admissions form.  This must be done at least two weeks before you plan on registering.

2. Depending on which courses you have already taken, you may need to take the COMPASS assessment again.  Please speak with a Running Start advisor about this at least two weeks before you plan on registering.

3. Winter registration for former students will start on November 29.  Please call the campus you are planning to attend to schedule an advising appointment on November 29 or after.   You can start calling to schedule an advising appointment on October 18.  Don’t procrastinate – classes fill up fast!

Please see the other post about winter registration for specific information about what you need to do to prepare for your appointment.

Puyallup Running Start office – 253-840-8329
Fort Steilacoom Running Start office – 253-964-6520

Winter 2011 Registration for Current Students

April 23

Registration deadline for RS students is December 7.

The Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup Running Start offices will start advising current students for winter registration starting November 4.

Make sure to meet with your high school counselor prior to your advising appointment to fill out your pre-enrollment form and discuss your winter classes.  Remember that all forms need to be completely filled out and signed by your high school counselor and, if you are under 18, a parent or guardian.

Please come to your advising appointment prepared.  Bring at least two planned schedules and any other paperwork (such as your fee-waiver or high school release form) you may need to enroll for winter quarter.

If you are planning to take any classes below 100 level, make sure you bring a high school release form signed by your high school counselor.

Starting November 4, you will be able to view a pdf version of the winter schedule at http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/pubs/schedule/.

You can call to schedule an advising appointment starting October 18.  Don’t procrastinate!  Classes fill up fast and, if you wait, you may not be able to register for the classes you want.

Please call the campus you are planning on attending to schedule an advising appointment.

Puyallup: 253-840-8329
Fort Steilacoom: 253-964-6520

Q & A with Fort Steilacoom Running Start Student Ambassadors

March 8

In Winter of 2010, the Fort Steilacoom campus hired Student Ambassadors to work in the Welcome Center.  The ambassadors work on new student orientations, give campus tours, staff the Student Information Station at the Welcome Center, and help new and current students navigate their way through Pierce College Fort Steilacoom.  Three of the ambassadors – Brenda Fernandez, Nataly Brockwell, and Hana Page – are Running Start students.  I asked them if they would be willing to share their experiences and advice with other Running Start students and they were happy to oblige.  See their answers below.

Why did you decide to become a Running Start student?

Brenda – Some of the main reasons I decided to become a Running Start student were because I wanted to better my education, save two years worth of schooling and money and graduate with a degree. In addition, I wanted to try a new school environment because in high school one can tend to get very distracted away from academics.

Hana – I chose to participate in the Running Start program because I enjoy learning and was looking for a challenge. I was excited to go on a college campus and actually take challenging courses taught by dedicated instructors.

Nataly – I decided to do Running Start because I knew it would benefit me in the future. I knew if I worked hard enough, that I could finish off 2 years of college which would be completely paid for and potentially achieve in getting my Associates degree by the time I graduated high school with my diploma. Plus at the time, Pierce had a lot more opportunities for me as a student than my high school does.

What have you enjoyed most about the Running Start program?

Brenda –  What I have enjoyed the most from the Running start program would have to be that you get to pick and choose what classes you want to take that fall under your degree plan and that you get to pick from the class times available in order to fit your schedule.

Hana – I enjoy everything about the Running Start program, from the challenging courses to meeting new people just as dedicated about their education as I am. Most importantly, I enjoy participating in the Running Start program because I am given countless opportunities to fulfill my needs, such as through the various courses offered at Pierce College.

Nataly – I enjoyed every class that I have taken and all of the people I have met. The college environment is SO different from high school, but it is really nice. People here at the college actually care about their education and want to be here. Things are taken more seriously here especially because a majority of the students are paying for their education.

Is there anything you wish you would have known before joining the program?

Brenda – No, there really isn’t anything more I would have wanted to know, because I was well informed about everything involved with the program.

Hana – Most of the information Running Start students need to know is covered in the Running Start Orientation. Therefore, to be successful, students need to make sure they truly understood what is covered in the orientation.

Nataly – I wish someone would have told me about the parking and about the stairs. A lot of the classes are offered at the same time during the day. With a large number of students attending Pierce and a limited amount of parking available it can be really hard and stressful to find a parking spot. Many students and staff have learned the hard way to come early for class just to find a parking spot. Fort Steilacoom campus has TONS of stairs. I personally become out of breath trying to get from one class to another just from the stairs.

Do you have any advice for new students enrolling in the program?

Brenda – My advice to everyone who plans on joining the Running Start program, is to prepare yourself to work hard in order to be successful and don’t ever think you can’t do it.

Hana – The best advice for new Running Start students is to do your best in your classes by completing all of your assignments, attending class, and participating in class.

Additionally, it is important to be prompt in scheduling your advising appointments and registering for your courses so you can take the courses that you need or want to take.

Nataly – My advice would be to actually attend class, to do your homework, and to get involved. I know many students who have not been successful just because they did not attend class or because they did not do their work. They are now having to take classes over or they are completely out of the program. Participating in activities, clubs, sports or anything else available on campus will give you the best college experience and help you become successful.

Is there anything you have struggled with as a Running Start student?

Brenda – The only thing I have struggled with is knowing how to study proficiently, but I attended a Student Workshop that they have here which helped me to improve my studying skills.

Hana – I have not struggled much during my first quarter because I was aware of the resources that Pierce College offers, such as the Tutoring Center, the Library, or instructors’ office hours. Therefore, a key to success at Pierce College is to know the resource available.
Nataly – I have struggled to keep a good balance between focusing on school and having a life. So far I have been doing pretty good at that. I strive to get A’s in all my classes. In order to do so I have put many many hours into studying. My friends have come to terms with me about my schedule because they know that I value my education greatly. Them doing this helps me keep the balance.

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