Running Start

Back to Top Get on the fast track to a college education!

Running Start allows highly-qualified high school juniors to earn a high school diploma from their local high school or homeschool while simultaneously earning a transfer degree from SWIC. While courses are offered at all SWIC campuses (Belleville, Sam Wolf Granite City, and Red Bud), specific programs and courses may be available only at the Belleville Campus. This is a two-year program and may not be completed early.

Running Start 1.0 allows highly qualified high school seniors to earn one year of college credit while simultaneously earning credit to earn their high school diploma from their local high school or homeschool. At the end of the year, high school graduates may choose to return to SWIC to complete an associate degree or they may transfer to another college or university. This is a one-year program and may not be completed early.

Running Start students will be integrated into existing college classes with advanced rigor and subject matter. Students will have the opportunity to work in a challenging educational environment and to excel academically while completing high school and college requirements.

Back to Top 2017-2018 participating high schools

The Running Start Program began as a pilot program in fall 2012 with ten students from one high school. Today, the program has 322 students enrolled for fall semester 2017, representing 17 public high school partners and area home schools.

    • Belleville 
    • Cahokia
    • Collinsville
    • Coulterville
    • East St. Louis 
    • East St. Louis Charter
    • Freeburg
    • Granite City
    • Highland
    • Home schools
    • Lebanon
    • Madison
    • Marissa
    • Mascoutah
    • New Athens
    • O'Fallon 
    • Triad
    • Waterloo

    Back to Top Get a running start on college!

    As SWIC students, Running Start participants can transfer to a four-year institution in the same manner as other community college students.  Students may choose to participate in high school athletics and other after-school programs. Running Start students may participate in SWIC student clubs, organizations, and activities, but may not compete in intercollegiate athletics.

    Program Requirements

    To be eligible for the traditional Running Start program, students must meet the following criteria:

    • Be currently enrolled as a high school sophomore, preparing to enter junior year
    • Possess and maintain a 3.00/4.00 GPA
    • Be in good standing with their high school institution
    • Be on track to graduate on time
    • Be recommended by their high school principal or counselor
    • Have completed one year of high school algebra and geometry
    • Take the SWIC placement assessment and test into college-level English and math courses
    • Have completed all documents necessary for participation

    To be eligible for Running Start 1.0, students must meet the following criteria:

    • Be currently enrolled as a high school junior, preparing to enter senior year
    • Possess and maintain a 3.00/4.00 GPA
    • Be in good standing with their high school institution
    • Be on track to graduate on time
    • Be recommended by their high school principal or counselor
    • Have completed two years of high school algebra and geometry
    • Take the SWIC placement assessment and test into college-level English and math courses
    • Have completed all documents necessary for participation

    Southwestern Illinois College has established the minimum program requirements listed above. Some high schools have enhanced the program requirements. Partner high schools may elect to limit the number of students who may participate. Please contact your local high school for more information. 

    You Should Know

    Through Running Start, students will have the following responsibilities and opportunities:

    • Be subject to all college rules and regulations
    • Begin creating their college transcripts and records
    • Be considered as both a high school and college student
    • Attend school according to the college calendar

    Tuition and Fees

    The participation fees vary by high school.

    Students are expected to provide their own transportation to the college campus. They may drive to any SWIC campus with no charge for parking.

    Need more information?

    Contact your local high school principal or the Running Start office at 618-641-5142 or RunningStart@swic.edu.

    Students who qualify for the program by meeting all standards and criteria are identified by the high school and subsequently invited to an informational meeting for students and parents.

    Back to Top Transferring after Running Start

    Running Start participants have transferred to these colleges and universities following program completion:

    Ball State UniversityMissouri University of Science & TechnologyTennessee State University 
    Barnes Jewish Goldfarb School of NursingNavy Nuclear Power School University of Alabama 
    Baylor UniversityOzark Christian CollegeUniversity of Colorado Boulder  
    Bradley UniversityPenn State University of Evansville
    Brigham Young University ProvoPurdue University University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    College of the Ozarks Quincy University University of Kansas
    Concordia University of Montreal Rockhurst University University of Kentucky 
    Greenville College Saint Louis University University of Minnesota 
    Illinois State University Sinclair Community College Dental Hygiene University of Missouri-Columbia 
    Iowa State University Southeast Missouri State University of Missouri-St. Louis 
    Kansas State University Southern Illinois University University of Southern Mississippi-Gulfport 
    Louisiana State University Southern Illinois University Edwardsville University of Tampa
    MacMurray University Southwest Baptist University Washington University 
    McKendree University Stephens College Webster University 
    Missouri State University St. Andrews University, North Carolina Western Kentucky University

    Running Start students have been accepted by these additional colleges and universities:

    Alcorn State UniversityDigiPen Institute of Technology Milikin University 
    Arizona State UniversityDuke UniversityMurray State University
    Arkansas State University Eastern Illinois UniversitySt. Ambrose University
    August UniversityFontbonne UniversitySt. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing
    Belmont University Franciscan UniversitySt. Xavier University
    Bradley University Georgia Institute of TechnologySouth Dakota State University
    Butler UniversityIllinois Institute of TechnologySouthwest Minnesota State University
    Carroll UniversityIndiana UniversityTruman State University
    Carthage CollegeJackson State UniversityUniversity of Arizona
    Columbia College-ChicagoLoyola University-ChicagoUniversity of Chicago
    Concordia UniversityMalcolm X CollegeUniversity of Denver
    Culver-Stockton CollegeMaryville UniversityUniversity of Mississippi

    College transfer information collected from 2016 and 2017 graduate surveys.