PLA FAQs

Andrews University recognizes that college-level learning can occur in a variety of personal and professional settings.  The Prior Learning Assesment (PLA) Office in the School of Distance Education, coordinates the assessment of adult learning experiences that demonstrate achievement of undergraduate course outcomes.

Credit for prior learning may be earned through taking standardized exams or departmental challenge exams, through military/armed services educational training and other professional certification recognized through the American Council on Education, or through preparing a portfolio, product, or performance using the Andrews PLA application process.

Who can apply for course credit for life learning?

Adult learners (24 and older) may apply for academic credit for learning through personal achievements and professional expertise. Evaluations are done on a course-by-course basis through portfolios including reflections on what was learned and documentation of college level learning.  Credit may be granted for on-the-job training, community-service activities, non-credit courses, and/or special accomplishments which provide evidence of learning aligned with specific college course outcomes.

How many credits can I earn through PLA?
Do they count for residency?

Up to 30% of the total number of credits for a degree program may be earned through one or more methods of recognizing prior learning.  So, if you are completing a bachelor's degree requiring 124 credits total, up to 37 credits may be earned as credits for prior non-traditional college-level learning.  If you are completing an associate degree, requiring 62-66 credits, up to 18 credits may be accepted for prior non-traditional college-level learning.

Credits earned by departmental challenge exams and portfolio(s) completed through Andrews University count towards residency requirements. 

When can I apply for PLA through portfolio evaluation?

An application for credit through portfolio may be submitted after completing twelve or more college credits within the past five years and prior to completing the last twelve credits of a degree. 

How do I get started?

Talk with your academic advisor.  Read the steps to earning credit for prior learning.  Then contact the PLA Coordinator with any further questions.

Recommended PLA Courses and Evaluators:
Andrews Partners with CAEL

The portfolio development process is more successful when a portfolio course is taken prior to developing the portfolio.  Andrews University recognizes the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) portfolio development course and recommends LearningCounts for portfolio evaluation and transferable credits.

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Berrien Springs, Michigan 49104