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Adult and Graduate Studies

Prior Learning Assessment

The following documents are in PDF and refer to the PLA.

What is it and what will it do for me?

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is the process used by Bethel College to validate college level learning obtained outside the college classroom. This learning could include professional training and/or lifelong learning experiences used in conjunction with course work to help you reach your educational goals. It utilizes the knowledge you have already gained through life and it can save time and money.

Since Prior Learning Assessment is an active process, you must first reflect and think critically about your prior learning experience to determine what you have learned and whether the learning is college level. After a time of reflection, you can decide how you want to validate this knowledge and whether it can be used as credit toward your degree.

How can I validate my learning experience?

At Bethel College you can validate your experiential learning in three ways:

1. Written Documentation

A maximum of 30 credits may be earned through this method.

Structured Learning

This is structured college–equivalent learning for which academic credit has not been awarded. It is comprised of continuing education courses, professional workshops, company–sponsored seminars, apprenticeships, licensing preparation and other structured instructional experiences for which verification can be obtained and significant learning can be demonstrated. Credit is not given for attendance but only upon verification of college level learning which demonstrates a balance between theory and practice.

Self–directed Learning

This learning may come from professional positions, volunteer work, civic responsibilities, travel and other significant life developments. Verification is accomplished through essays, which are presented to appropriate faculty evaluators in related disciplines. A balance between theory and practice must also be demonstrated.

Workshops and online resources are available to help prepare essays for submission.

2. Examinations

Externally Developed Examinations

College credit may be earned through CLEP, DANTES, NLN and Regents Examinations.

3. Evaluated Programs

Transcripts may be obtained from the appropriate agency.

ACE: College credit is awarded based on recommendations by the American Council on Education, the National Program on Noncollegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI)

MILITARY: Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services.