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Prior Learning Assessment

College Credit for Work and Life Experiences

Prior learning is defined as learning that takes place outside the traditional classroom.

Examples of prior learning are:

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is the evaluation and assessment of life and work experiences for college credit. Through prior learning, students have the opportunity to decrease tuition costs and shorten the time to graduation. Metropolitan Community College offers several options for students to demonstrate college-level learning.

The PLA Center will assist students with prior learning options in the student’s major, submitting transcripts, providing documentation for certificates and training, scheduling challenge exams, and completing portfolios.

Policies & Procedures

  1. Academic credit will only be awarded for courses listed within a student’s certificate or degree requirements for current certificates and degrees as noted in the MCC Course Catalog.
  2. Credits granted for prior learning do not apply toward fulfillment of MCC’s residency requirement for graduation.
  3. Students may apply up to twenty-five credits of prior learning credit toward the completion of a degree.  Prior learning credit includes credit for national standardized tests, industry and non-credit course alignment, MCC Challenge Exams and MCC Portfolios. 

  4. A student must be enrolled at the College with a declared major to request evaluation of prior learning. 

  5. A student may not apply for prior learning for classes for which they are currently enrolled.  A student may not apply for prior learning if the student has completed the course previously with a grade of A, B, C, D, F, I, AUDIT.

  6. Academic credits earned through prior learning are not used in the calculation of a student’s grade point average.

  7. Academic credits earned through prior learning are generally not transferable to another institution on a course-by-course basis.

Steps to receive college credit from Prior Learning

  1. Enroll in courses at MCC

  2. Submit the Prior Learning Questionnaire

  3. Meet with the staff from the PLA Center for next steps

Types of Prior Learning Assessment

There are five different types of prior learning assessment

Transfer Credits

Students who have earned college credit from another institution must submit official transcripts for review to the MCC Records Department. Credit will be granted for those courses which have agreements with MCC and that match the requirements of the program you are enrolled. Students with transfer credits must submit official transcripts to Records. (Credits must be from a regionally accredited institution)

  • College Credit from another Institution/University
  • Dual Enrollment/Concurrent Credit
  • Military Credit
  • ACE Credit

Standardized Exams

MCC awards credit to students who have earned acceptable scores on standardized tests such as Advanced Placement (AP) Exams, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Exams, and DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST) Exams. Although the college does not administer these types of exams, institutional credit may be awarded for successful completion of AP, CLEP and DSST Exams. Students must submit official transcripts must be submitted to Records for review.

Certifications and Continuing Education

Students who have earned industry certifications or non-credit training may have opportunities to align training with college credit. Students must submit the Academic Credit Petition for review by the Academic Dean. Contact the PLA Center for more information.

MCC Challenge Exams

You may have the opportunity to receive college credit by taking a challenge exam. Challenge exams will be taken at one of the MCC Testing Centers and graded by a subject matter expert. Contact the PLA Center for more information.

MCC Portfolios

Some programs at MCC provide opportunities for students to demonstrate knowledge through the completion of portfolios. Students must provide documentation and support of how they have met course objectives in an alternate way. Academic Coaches are available through the Learning and Tutoring Centers (LTC) to assist with the completion of a portfolio.  Contact the PLA Center for more information.