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What are the 4 Main Types of Credit for Prior Learning?

Going back to school is a big commitment of time and money, but there are numerous ways to bring tuition costs down. One of the best ways to save on tuition is to shorten the time you’ll need to spend in school.

One way that schools grant credit for prior experiences is called Credit for Prior Learning (CPL). Through this assessment system, universities can offer college credit for past work experience, military service, or academic programs. It’s a process that takes some work and communication between you and your university, but the payoff of spending less time in school and less money on tuition can be worth it.

Here are the four main ways you can earn CPL:

1. College Credit for Military Service

Many schools will recognize the service and sacrifice of military members and their families, especially as they seek to return to school. One of the ways that do this is by offering academic credit for prior military experience.

If you’re an active military member or a veteran, you may be granted credit through Joint Services Transcripts (JST). This transcript describes your military training, education, and experiences in civilian terms so that your institution can easily understand what you’ve accomplished and turn it into college credits.

Another method of granting credit comes through the ACE military guide. This program helps your institution evaluate your JST and which correlating courses may give you credit.

Military Scholarships, Grants, and Financial Aid for Veterans and Active Service Members

2. Standardized Exams

Standardized exams are a fantastic way to show your knowledge base in specific subjects. Depending on your scores, you can often bypass some general education or language classes, saving you valuable time and money.

Let’s break down some of the most common standardized exams:

Advanced Placement (AP)

AP exams allow you to complete college-level work before you even come to campus. They range in subjects from history, the sciences, and English.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

An excellent way to leverage deep knowledge of a specific field, CLEP exams give you the chance to test out of a general education course. They are similar to AP exams in their specificity and preparation process.

Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP 4S) Language Test

Prove your language skills with a STAMP 4S test which assesses your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in a secondary language.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Geared to school-age children and dedicated to international education, the IB program equips students to take ownership of their education. Their programs allow students to succeed and have a competitive edge over their peers in academics.

3. Challenge Examinations

What if you have advanced knowledge and skills in a college-level topic but can’t find an exam that matches your experience?

Challenge examinations are your chance to prove your knowledge base in a format customized to your program. Usually created by the academic program you apply to, challenge examinations help you demonstrate competencies equivalent to your program's required course.

4. Portfolio Assessments

In portfolio assessments, faculty experts will examine your life experiences to determine which college-level learning objectives you’ve met in your life and career.

While your experiences are valuable, to gain college credit, your experiences must specifically match coursework in your program of interest.

Portfolio assessments are a long process of conversations with your institution, employers, previous places you’ve studied, and anywhere else you’ve gained experience. This method involves a lot of paperwork and time, all seeking to prove that your experiences match the knowledge gained from a college course.

Sometimes, it’s easier just to take the courses you’re trying to receive prior credit in, but be sure to talk to an adviser to determine the best path for you.

Ready to save time in pursuing your degree?

Credit for prior learning is a valuable tool for those looking to spend less time in the classroom and more time changing the world. Let Southern Adventist University help you reach your full potential faster through our CPL programs.

We’ll work with you to achieve your dreams in a way that’s affordable, accessible, and on your desired timeline.

For the full run-down on CPL, from helpful explanations to the steps to earning CPL at Southern, download the CPL Toolkit.

[DC] [BLOG] Post #5 - Credit for Prior Learning eBook CTA

If you’re interested in learning more, request more information today or apply. You can also schedule a meeting with an adviser to determine your next steps.



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