Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Prior Learning Assessment allows you to use what you already know through relevant learning, work, or life experience and apply it towards a degree.

Save Money

 

Save Time

 

Learn Efficiently

Count your prior life experiences toward graduation requirements for a certificate or degree program, saving money.

 

Reduce the number of required classes you need while applying your skills and knowledge to advance your dreams.

 

Focus on what you need to learn, not what you've already done, and take higher level courses sooner.

Dean Gina Bianco talks with a studentYou did the work. Now earn the degree. 

We want to hear your story and help you get where you want to be. Our goal is to meet you where you are and help you build the path to your success. Whatever age, demands or challenges you face, and whatever your career path, we want to work with you to find your opportunity.

We recognize a number of formal and non-formal experiences and activities as prior learning.

  • Credit from an any two or four year college, no matter when you earned it
  • CLEP and other standardized exams
  • Workshops, certificates, trainings, & licenses
  • Self-taught knowledge or skills
  • Military training and experience
  • Volunteer work and community service
  • Work experience in businesses and organizations

University College has created a smooth, easy to navigate process for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). Our process is done online, and turn around for most assessments is under 14 days. We are excited to work with you to identify what experience you have that can be translated into college credit. It costs nothing to go through the Prior Learning Assessment process, and we are here to guide and support you.

Below you will find the types of prior learning we accept, and the steps and links you'll need to get credit assessed and awarded.

Apply Now                                        Student Experience

Virtual Info Session

Hear from Prior Learning Director Amiee Shelton and and Career Pathways Specialist Jana O'Connell as they discuss Prior Learning and the admissions process.


Athol Cochrane
Athol Cochrane ’20 B.S. Management

"UC will look at who you are, where you are, and what you’ve done. In partnership with an advisor, you go through a course catalog and find out which courses match your experience. It is a tremendous resource.”


Coming Directly From High School?

Our programs are well suited for teenagers looking to get ahead or young adults looking to catch up. All of our first-time college students jump right into being difference makers in their communities.

We have agreements with local and regional non-credit programs and organizations that can get you well on your way towards a college degree in less time and for less money. Additionally, there are a variety of experiences that you may have from your years in high school that may count for credit.

Contact Us to see what experience can be considered for a Prior Learning Request.

Apply Now                                       Student Experience

RWU | UC Prior Learning Opportunities

If you have experience in the form of workshops or training programs, explore our list of approved credit to see if your experience is already evaluated for college credit. We have agreements with a wide variety of organizations that provide workshops and training and are actively working to add experiences that are already documented and standardized for college credit within our systems.

Find Your Experience                        Common Questions


Prospective Students

If you have any past experiences with workshops or trainings, browse through our list of approved credit. If you see your experience, you'll need to collect documentation to prove it This documentation may be in the form of a license or certificate- and that works just fine! Once you find your documentation you can upload it right to your application to UC. If you don't have it handy when you apply to UC, you can submit it here. For more information on what counts as documentation, find examples on the PLA Portal.

If you don't see your experience listed, you can submit it for assessment below.

Assess My Experience                   Submit Approved Experience


Current Students

Want to make sure you have all the credits you can get on your path to graduation?  Browse through our list of approved credit. If you see something that you have completed,  you can submit it right here. For more information on what counts as documentation, you can find examples on the PLA Portal.

If you don't see your experience, you can submit it for assessment below.

Assess My Experience                     Submit Approved Experience

If you have earned a certificate or license, explore our list of approved credit to see if your experience is already evaluated for college credit. We have agreements with a wide variety of organizations that provide workshops and training and are actively working to add experiences for college credit.

Find Your Experience                        Common Questions


Prospective Students

If you have any past experiences with workshops or trainings, browse through our list of approved credit. If you see yours,  you'll need to collect documentation, which is proof of your experience. This documentation may be in the form of a license or certificate- and that works just fine! Once you find that documentation you can upload it right to your application to UC.  If you don't have it handy when you apply to UC, you can submit it right here. For more information on what counts as documentation, you can find examples on the PLA Portal.

If you don't see your experience, you can submit it for assessment below also.

Assess My Experience                     Submit Approved Experience


Current Students

Want to make sure you have all the credits you can get on your path to graduation?  Browse through our list of approved credit. If you sees something you have completed, you can submit it here. For more information on what counts as documentation, you can find examples on the PLA Portal.

If you don't see your experience, you can submit it for assessment below.

Assess My Experience                     Submit Approved Experience

Are you the one in five working American adults who has some college credit but no degree? Many weigh the decision to resume their pursuit of an education without the benefit of knowing that their prior learning and/or work expertise could be worth credit at a college or university. With the Portfolio Pathway,  you not only have a clear visualized path towards your college goals, but also recognizes your skills and expertise from work and life experiences.

What is a Portfolio?

A portfolio, in terms of prior learning, is an extensive written presentation of evidence assembled by the student and reviewed by a faculty member, under the direction of the Academic Dean. The award of prior learning portfolio credit is dependent on relevancy to courses in the student’s degree program; including general education, major and elective courses.

The portfolio package includes a resume, a personal narrative summary, and explanation and documentation of your proficiency in each published course objective, as though you had successfully completed the course. Examples of the types of documentation that you may submit include work samples to demonstrate competencies, examples of trainings (that have not been award prior learning credit on their own), or reference letters from those who have observed you demonstrating the competencies. Your portfolio will be sent to subject-matter expert who will evaluate it and provide a credit recommendation.

More information about this process is found on our PLA Portal.

Common Questions


Prospective Students

To begin the Portfolio Process you must be accepted and enrolled in courses. However, you can plan ahead by reaching out and/or looking at the requirements and process breakdown on the PLA Portal.

You can submit an inquiry form as part of your application to UC, and someone will reach out to discuss the portfolio.  You can also submit an inquiry with the button below.

Inquiry Form


Current Students

Any student enrolled in courses can go through the Portfolio Process. The process is streamlined and detailed on the PLA Portal.

If you are new to the process, the first step is to submit a PLA Portfolio Meeting Request, which will trigger a meeting between you and the Director of PLA to get you on your path towards assessing your experience for credit.

Portfolio Meeting Request

 


 

University College firmly stands behind the idea that a person’s skills and learning should be valued by higher education, regardless of how those skills and learning were acquired. In short, this prior learning option is the evaluation and assessment of an individual’s volunteer experience or community service for college credit.

To have your volunteer work or community service be considered for college credit, go through a portfolio review.

What is a Portfolio?

A portfolio, in terms of prior learning, is an extensive written presentation of evidence assembled by a student and reviewed by a faculty member, under the direction of the Academic Dean. The award of prior learning portfolio credit is dependent on relevancy to courses in the student’s degree program; including general education, major and elective courses.

The portfolio package includes a resume, a personal narrative summary, and explanation and documentation of your proficiency in each published course objective, as though you had successfully completed the course. Examples of the types of documentation that you may submit include work samples to demonstrate competencies, examples of trainings (that have not been award prior learning credit on their own), or reference letters from those who have observed you demonstrating the competencies. Your portfolio will be sent to subject-matter expert who will evaluate it and provide a credit recommendation.

More information about this process is found on our PLA Portal.

Common Questions


Prospective Students

To begin the Portfolio Process you must be accepted and enrolled in courses. However, you can plan ahead by reaching out and/or looking at the requirements and process breakdown on the PLA Portal.

You can submit an inquiry form as part of your application to UC, and someone will reach out to discuss the portfolio. You can also submit an inquiry with the button below.

Inquiry Form


Current Students

Any student enrolled in courses can go through the Portfolio Process. The process is streamlined and detailed on the PLA Portal.

If you are new to the process, the first step is to submit a PLA Inquiry Form, which will trigger a meeting between you and the Director of PLA to get you on your path towards assessing your experience for credit.

Portfolio Meeting Request


             

University College provides Challenge Exams. We are updating our challenge exam list continuously. Currently we have exams in Math and Modern Languages

Math Exams

Incoming or enrolled students who feel they have knowledge in Math can choose to take a Mathematics Challenge Exam. Upon successful completion, the requirement for will be met and the appropriate course will be added to the students’ academic transcript. Grading for Math Challenge Exams is pass/fail.

  • Math in the Modern World
  • College Algebra
  • Statistics

Schedule A Challenge Exam

Language Exams

Incoming or enrolled students with language knowledge beyond English can take a Language Challenge Exam to determine what level of proficiency they have obtained and receive credit based on their test score. A maximum of 12 credits can be given per language. Students are urged to continue their studies in the language based on their placement results. Languages available for testing:

  • German
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Latin
  • Spanish
  • Italian

Challenge examinations may not be repeated and may not be taken for a grade replacement for previously completed courses or if a similar course was granted credit through Prior Learning Assessment. Successful completion of a challenge examination results in the listing on the student’s permanent record of the course equivalent, and the amount of credit granted

Schedule A Challenge Exam

The college accepts the results of multiple standardized exams for college credit, and makes use of the guide prepared by the American Council on Education (ACE) and other sources that contain evaluations of a wide variety of training opportunities sponsored by the armed services, business, industry, and labor communities. Students need to achieve the scores recommended and published by the American Council on Education. Scores at or above the minimum will lead to equivalent credit for the associated RWU course, but no letter grade will be awarded 

Standardized Exams Accepted

  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
  • Advanced Placement Exams (AP)
  • Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)
  • The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)

Students should upload any transcripts when they apply for admittance to RWU. If you did not upload transcripts when you applied, reach out to your Pathway Specialist or Advisor for the process to evaluate your transcripts.

Your advisor will reach out to you to confirm receipt of the transcripts and discus what credits were transferred in, how they fit in your degree plan, and what requirements you have left to complete you certificate or degree at RWU.  Roger Williams University College accepts up to 90 credits towards an undergraduate degree. A degree program consists of a total of 120 credits. 

For transfer credits, we accept up to three years of applicable college credit from an accredited two-year, or four-year college/university, provided the student maintained a letter grade of “C” or higher.

We do not charge your account for this process. This process is 100% free.

Two-Year Institution Transfer Credit Standards

Transfer credit may be awarded at University College from a two-year school based on the maximum number of credits you need to earn to achieve the highest degree offered, which is the Associate’s degree. Accredited institutions who offer an Associate’s degree award it based on a satisfactory earning of 60 – 66 undergraduate college credits.

  • If you have earned an Associate’s degree from an accredited two (2) year institution, you may transfer a cumulative total not to exceed (NTE) 66 credits.
  • If you have not earned an Associate’s degree from an accredited two (2) year institution, but have earned college credit from there, you may transfer a cumulative total not to exceed (NTE) 60 credits. If you have earned over 60 credits, but have not graduated with your Associate’s degree, you may only transfer up to 60 credits.  Additional courses cannot be accepted.

University College requires transfer students to complete a minimum of five (5) undergraduate college courses at RWU in order to satisfy their residency, and earn a Roger Williams University Associates degree

Four-Year Institution Transfer Credit Standards

Transfer credit may be awarded at University College from a four (4) year school based on the maximum number of credits you need to earn to achieve the highest degree offered, which is the Bachelor’s degree. Accredited institutions who offer a Bachelor’s degree award it based on a satisfactory earning of approximately 120 undergraduate college credits.

  • You may transfer a cumulative total not to exceed (NTE) 90 credits from a four (4) year institution as applicable. If you submit an official transcript that has more than 90 credits, we can only accept up to 90 credits. Additional courses cannot be accepted.
  • If you have a two (2) year, AND a four (4) year transcript to submit for transfer credit, credit may be combined.  If you have an earned Associate’s degree (66 credits), and submit a four (4) year transcript you may add up to 24 additional college credits if applicable.

University College requires transfer students to complete a minimum of ten (10) undergraduate college courses at RWU in order to satisfy their residency, and earn a Roger Williams University Bachelor degree.

As much as three years of college credit (90 credits) may be granted for military training and/or experience. University College awards credit for educational experiences during military service according to the recommendations of the American Council on Education as published in “The Guide to the Evaluation of Military Experiences in the Armed Services."

  • Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps: Submit an official Joint Services Transcript. Official Joint Service Transcripts may be requested here.
  • Air Force: Request an official transcript from the Community College of the Air Force for work taken as an undergraduate, or from the Air University for work taken as a graduate student

We also accept previous versions of military documents such as the SMART transcript and AARTS. Other versions of service member accolades may qualify.  Please share with us your past experience if applicable so that we may acknowledge them if possible.

You may transfer up to ninety (90) credits of military credit as applicable. You may combine transfer credit options in other ways, but you may only transfer a combined total of 90 credits towards your bachelor’s degree.