The regional and online campuses offer a process to validate college-level knowledge acquired through prior learning or experiential learning to assist with degree acceleration. In addition to transfer credit, the School recognizes that college-level learning can occur outside of the traditional classroom through:

  • Work experience
  • Volunteer activities
  • Military service
  • Independent reading and study
  • Community activities
  • Participation in training programs and workshops and certificate programs
  • Cultural and artistic pursuits

The School's Experiential Learning Committee oversees the process and monitors policies and procedures that are consistent with principles of good practice established by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

Identifying potential college-level learning can impact your undergraduate academic program by saving you both time and money. Earning credit through prior learning, or experiential learning, can accelerate your path to completing your bachelor's degree. 

If you to apply to the regional and online bachelor's programs, you will have the opportunity to claim credit for what you already know.  

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Accelerator

Upon acceptance to the School's undergraduate program, you will be assigned an academic advisor who will discuss prior learning options with you. If determined that prior learning is beneficial for you, you will be directed to take the PLA Accelerator. This tool provides valuable information for you and your advisor. Together you will review potential prior learning credits and the process for identifying and presenting your learning, and steps for obtaining these credits. 

These steps may include:

  • Enrolling in the Human Services Portfolio Development course where the portfolio process is covered in great detail
  • Taking a standardized exam to prove what you already know. Exams may include CLEP or DSST and are offered in your region
  • Submitting proof of certifications, licenses, and professional trainings, or documentation such as Joint Services Transcripts, for review. 

Prior Learning FAQs

How does the assessment of experiential learning help me earn credit towards my degree?

  • It offers you an opportunity to demonstrate and document college-level learning gained through any or all of the following:
    • Non-transferable courses
    • Licenses
    • Certificates
    • Personal and professional experience

How do I present my college-level learning?

  • The first step is to take a course called Human Services and Portfolio Development where you will learn how to identify and present your learning, document it, and submit it for assessment. The Portfolio process is covered in great detail in this class.

Are there any guidelines which the Springfield College and other institutions follow for assessment?

  • Yes, Springfield College is one of over 1500 institutional members of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and follows the CAEL assessment guidelines.

How can I earn credits through the Prior Learning Process?

  • All of the following are options for obtaining credit:
    • Military trainings
    • Standardized tests such as DANTES and CLEP
    • Written claims for credit
    • Assessment of professional trainings, licenses, and certifications

What is a claim for credit?

  • It is a unique and comprehensive essay format for presenting college level learning. You must first select a college course paralleling your own experience, explain what was learned, and how you have grown as a result of the learning. Finally, you must cite corroborating theory, principles, and generalizations, and present adequate proof that the college-level learning experience actually occurred.

What kind of verification is required?

  • All of the following are the most common forms of verification:
    • Certificates
    • Legal documents
    • Personnel records
    • Letters from supervisors
    • Work evaluations/descriptions

Who awards credit for the content of the Portfolio?

  • Faculty evaluators at the regional and online campuses review the Portfolio for college-level learning.

How do I know that I earn credit for the material I prepare?

  • Evaluators compare the content of the prepared material to similar college courses. All requests for credit must show college-level writing skills and the content must demonstrate knowledge at the level of the course for which you have requested credit.

How many credits may I earn through the Portfolio?

  • The maximum number of credits available through the experiential learning process is dependent upon state regulations. The average experiential learning credit award is 30 credits.

What kinds of licenses and certificates earn credit?

  • LPN, EMT, and CADAC are just a few examples of the kinds of licences and certificates that may earn credit. Students requesting only a review of professional trainings, licenses, and certificates will be assessed a $200 nonrefundable fee. This fee will be charged to the student's account at the time of review.

I am fluent in a foreign language, but I haven't had courses in the language. Can I earn credit for my language ability through assessment?

  • Yes, you may take a language evaluation test (CLEP) covering comprehension, speaking ability, pronunciation, use of grammar, reading, and writing. The credit award is variable depending upon the test results.

How much does it cost to have my portfolio assessed?

  • Credits earned through assessment are very cost effective when compared to the cost of elective courses. The Portfolio fee is $500, which is payable at the time of registration for the Portfolio course.