Recognition for Prior Learning

We want you to succeed and recognize that learning happens in many ways and places. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) allows you to receive credit for learning you’ve acquired elsewhere through courses, workshops, employment, volunteering and other life experiences.

There are several formal assessment options for recognizing prior learning. The assessment method is set by each department. It is important to note that all assessment options require the student to submit evidence. The evidence of the student's knowledge, skills and abilities will be assessed for possible academic credit.

The PLAR Process

To evaluate your prior learning, the first step is to contact the Coordinator of Assessment Services. The coordinator will work with you and the Department Chair of the program you wish to take to determine the best way to assess your prior learning. Prior learning is evaluated in one of two ways: Portfolio/Flexible Assessment or Challenge Exam, often combined with personal interviews.

Portfolio/Flexible Assessment

The Portfolio Assessment process usually involves a combination of documentation, skill demonstrations, assignments and, sometimes, tests. The program PLAR advisor/Department Chair will provide written authorization to proceed by signing the Application for Prior Learning Credit form.

Challenge Exam(s)

Challenge exams recognize a student's prior learning through a formal examination. Students write one or more examinations to prove their knowledge in an academic subject. The course faculty will provide written authorization to proceed by signing the Application for Prior Learning Credit form.

Following the assessment, you will receive feedback and work with the Coordinator on the next steps to receive credit. The time to complete the PLAR process will vary according to the assessment measure used. Applicants for PLAR credit have one regular college semester to complete the process.

What will it cost?

The cost for the PLAR process is determined by the number of credits being requested. Fees are calculated at 75% of the tuition for each course and are due prior to the assessment. If any additional costs are required they will be explained by the Coordinator of Assessment Services or the department contact.