It is not possible to do it with a shell script. Your shell script can't run until the computer is booted up. Are you using Grub or Lilo.
If you are running Lilo, at the boot prompt you can just type the boot label and the runlevel you want to go to.
So if you wanted to go into runlevel three you would type: linux 3.
You can edit the /boot/message file to display what the users can type at the Lilo prompt.
YOu could also edit your lilo.conf file to create new labels so you could have them type a more descriptive label. For example, if you wanted them to go into X server, you could create an entry in your lilo.conf file with the label X. Then they could just type X at the lilo prompt.