Home Online Learning Jumpstart your College Degree with Prior Learning Assessment in the New Year
Jumpstart your College Degree with Prior Learning Assessment in the New Year

Jumpstart your College Degree with Prior Learning Assessment in the New Year


jumpstart-your-college-degree-in-the-new-yearIt is that time of year! Thoughts turn to turkeys, holiday gifts, and New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are highly individual, but often include educational and professional goals. Some people will fulfill their resolutions and goals; others may not. One thing is certain; motivation is a necessary component to goal achievement!

We remain motivated when we attain and recognize interim goals. Have you ever tried to lose weight? Each pound shed serves as motivation to continue with diet and exercise. Consider projects around your home or yard. As each room or garden is transformed, are you not motivated to continue improvements?

How motivating would it be to earn academic credit toward a degree for what you already know and begin ahead of the pack? You would save money and earn your degree more quickly. Prior learning assessment (PLA) can help you do just that!

There are different ways to earn credit for prior learning. The most common PLA methods are standardized exams and portfolio.  CLEP and DANTES exams are the most widely recognized. Additionally, the American Council on Education (ACE) provides credit recommendations for military and some civilian training programs. Many schools accept ACE recommendations and allow students to apply this type of credit toward a degree.

In general terms, a portfolio is a compilation of documents. Students seeking credit in subject matter for which there is not a standardized exam can benefit from creating a portfolio to demonstrate their prior learning. Portfolio development is also a good option for students who do not test well or simply prefer writing. Portfolio requirements vary from school to school, but generally, portfolios will need to contain similar components such as a resume and autobiography. Most schools will require some form of essay to demonstrate mastery of a specific subject or topic. Students include additional evidence such as work products or certificates, in the portfolio.

For more information on how you can jumpstart your academic career visit http://www.apu.apus.edu/admissions/general-information/pla.htm or http://www.amu.apus.edu/admissions/general-information/pla.htm

By Tedi Thompson-Magrini
Associate VP/Prior Learning Assessment at American Public University System