College Credit for Life Experience

The work you do, the life you live and other life experiences can count for more than memories.  To meet the needs of a diverse pool of college students, universities and colleges are adopting programs to quantify the life experiences of students in a manner that awards them college credits.

College credits for life experience enable you with the ability to step into higher education at a level that better suits your needs as an individual. While there is no official mandate for what constitutes as qualifying events that you can use as references to substantiate the claim of life experiences applicable to course credits in schools of higher education, there are several organizations and schema that are accepted by these schools as guidelines and standards for how to assess these experiences and determining college credits, if any.

Among these organizations, programs and institutions are; ACE, PONSI, DANTES, SOCAT, AP and CLEP. Interestingly enough, although ACE was one of the initial backers of the idea to provide college credits for non-traditional learning methods, CLEP is considered and often referenced when mentioning the topic. This is because people often mistake CLEP to stand for Credits for Life Experience. CLEP actually is an abbreviation of College-Level Examination Program, an examination program recognized by over 2,500 colleges and universities. And while popular, it is only one of several assessment methods that provide standard examinations currently used to determine college credits.

Assessment tests such as those CLEP provide allow you to establish that you have equivalent proficiency to the course that you are challenging. This benefits both you and the university as the teachers can focus their time and resources on students who require the knowledge to prepare them for post-graduate life and students who are already proficient can direct their tuition costs and educational efforts towards classes that are more advanced.

Another method to receive college credits for life experience is through portfolio review. Not very popular and subject to more scrutiny than assessment test because of its somewhat speculative nature, a portfolio review allows a student to challenge a course or receive credits through presenting documented evidence that he or she has received the knowledge, information and or skills presented in the course being challenged. Often included in a portfolio are resumes, work history, letters of recommendation or references, samples of work that accentuate or reveal knowledge application, certificate or awards. Check with your school to see which method the school accepts, which best applies to your situation and which will provide you the most college credits.