University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College recognizes that individuals involved in various aspects of life have already acquired learning of a measurable, college-level dimension outside a traditional college classroom setting. This has sometimes been referred to as ‘adult experiential learning’ or ‘life experience credit’.
The assessment of learning gained during life experiences is called Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). Such learning may result from employment/work experience, professional certification, non-credit courses, hobbies, volunteer experience, civic activities, travel related specifically to a degree plan, or military and other experiences. Although there are commonly recognized avenues of assessing college-level learning at a high school level, the assessment of prior learning is primarily for students who have been out of high school and/or college for several years and who are entering or returning to UA-PTC to earn an Associate’s Degree or Technical Certificate.
Students must complete the appropriate PLA Application form to request any college credit earned outside of the classroom setting. The advantages to earning credit through PLA include lower costs for awarded credit than by taking the classes themselves and gaining advanced status toward a certificate or degree, thereby reducing the time it takes to graduate. The opportunities and policies for earning credit by PLA are summarized on our PLA Credit page.
Credit by examination includes CLEP, AP, DSST, certifications and licenses, or non-transferrable coursework evaluation. Military credit assessment and credit earned through agreements with other institutions and agencies are also considered.
Students produce a narrative and provide documentation in a portfolio in order to describe the learning that occurred during life experiences.