Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)

Up to 30% of the credits for an Andrews University undergraduate degree may be earned through prior college-level learning.  Personal and professional development is assessed externally through advanced placement or standardized exams most commonly.  Occasionally, internal assessments are possible through departmental challenge exams, validation or proficiency assessments, and through course-specific portfolio assessment.

Some high schools offer courses at a level equivalent to US college courses.  Other high school courses include the option to take standardized advanced placement exam. Andrews University grants credit for qualifying scores on the following exams:

Andrews University may grant up to 32 undergraduate general education credits for advanced high school examination grades from European countries. Student should notify advisors of European high school completion before their first registration to avoid paying for courses while official transcripts are evaluated by World Education Service (WES ICAP) for Andrews transfer credit.

Completing a national or standardized exam listed as assessing outcomes for a particular college or university course is an efficient way to earn college credit for what you have learned through personal study, work or life experience.  While CLEP is most common in the USA, DSST and UEXCEL transcripts are also recognized.  Other national or international exams may also qualify, so discuss your prior learning with your academic advisor in your first term.  

Steps to take:

  1. Discuss credit options with your academic advisor before or during your first semester at Andrews University.  Prior learning assessments should be completed early, and must be done before the last term in your program of study.
  2. Look up exams using the links above. Carefully review what is tested - do you have prior learning that you could quickly review and do well on an exam? If yes, review the Andrews University equivalents table (links above) to see which course would be articulated for a qualifying score.  You will earn elective credit if no equivalent Andrews University course exists, which will help you finish your degree requirements faster.  
  3. Register online to take an exam at any recognized testing center listed on the website.  CLEP and DSST exams may be taken at the Andrews Counseling and Testing Center, located in Bell Hall 123, phone 269-471-3470.
  4. Prepare to take the exam, using the official review materials and any other sources you find helpful, e.g. khanacademy.org   Even if you thinkou're an expert on this topic, this review will prepare you for the exam format, and help you explore new ways of connecting concepts as expected in this exam.
  5. Request an original transcript be sent directly to Undergraduate Admissions.  Scores at or above the Andrews University minimums (see equivalency tables) will be articulated to show on your university academic record, visible through IVUE. 

A limited amount of credit may be earned through departmentally constructed written, oral or skill assessments, or nationally formed professional examinations administered by the department. For example, modern language and biblical knowledge may be assessment by departments to waive some general education requirements.

Special assessments may also be taken for reasons other than earning credit. Certain published curricular or degree requirements may be waived, or transfer credits from an unaccredited college or training program may be validated through special examinations. For further information, contact the dean of the respective school.

Andrews University may recognize college-level learning through professional development and training which led to certification, courses or testing recognized by entities such as:

Students may apply for academic credit for learning through personal achievements and professional expertise where no standardized or departmental examination is available. 

  • 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.
  • Evaluations are done on a course-by-course basis through portfolios including reflections on what was learned and documentation of college level learning aligned with specific course outcomes.
  • Talk with your academic advisor, then work with the CPL Coordinator to best apply for credit.
  • 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. 
  • The portfolio development process is more successful when a portfolio course is taken prior to developing the portfolio. Andrews University recognizes and recommends the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning's portfolio development course available through their educational partner, LearningCounts. Register online for the course, which includes evaluation of as many course-specific portfolios as you submit within the course period.  Request a CAEL transcript sent to Undergrad Admissions for articulation of passing grades.
  • In some disciplines such as Religion and Communication, Andrews University faculty can best evaluate portfolios, so always discuss credit for prior learning options with your advisor and the CPL Director before preparing a portfolio.  Review the Andrews University steps to portfolio development and assessment.

Are CPL credits transferable?  As the decision to accept credit for prior college-level learning is determined by each college or university in the context of a specific program of study, be aware that any internally evaluated CPL credits (departmental challenge exams, validations, portfolio assessments) on your Andrews University record may not transfer.  Externally evaluated credits earned through advanced placement and standardized exams, while still subject to each institution's CPL policies, are more readily transferable.