Prior Learning Assessment

Adult learners like these four can get college credit for their life experience through Prior Learning Assessment

Credit for Being You

  • Convenient: 100% online
  • Concise: only seven weeks
  • College credit: 1 – 15 Upper Division elective course credits awarded on completion
  • Pass/Fail
  • Affordable: $800 tuition with no additional per-credit charges

The Prior Learning Assessment program helps adult learners earn their bachelor’s degree sooner by granting them college credit for many kinds of work experience, professional training, and community service. Our goal is to find the ways that your prior experiences can help you professionally in your future.

The first step is to meet with one of our PLA enrollment advisors, who will help you figure out

  • how many elective credits you need,
  • how many of those credits you could qualify for through PLA, and
  • make sure those credits will apply to your program.

If you are not already a student at SNC, they can guide you through the application process. Once enrolled, a mentor will guide you as you build your ePortfolio in the Prior Learning Assessment Course.

  • At least three years of post-high school work experience.
  • Work experience with leadership or management duties.
  • Current or former member of the armed forces.
  • Formal training as part of a job.
  • Attendance at professional seminars or conferences.
  • Completion of formal non-credit courses or programs.
  • Earned certificates, endorsements, or licenses for a professional field.
  • Extensive foreign country experience or travel experience since high school.
  • Extensive community work or volunteer experience.

  • SNC Student in good standing (either ongoing or newly admitted)
  • Minimum GPA of 2.0
  • Declared a major

  1. Prior Learning Petition
  2. Educational and Professional Goals
  3. Resume and LinkedIn Profile
  4. Connections: Experiences to SNC Learning Outcomes
  5. Analysis of Learning
  6. Evidence

1. The Prior Learning Assessment Petition
The Prior Learning Assessment Petition is a formal request that describes what the learner is seeking and why. It is a summary and call to action and an executive summary of the entire ePortfolio.

2. Educational and Professional Goals Essay
This essay is a statement of the learner’s plans to incorporate prior learning in the context of their educational and professional goals. The essay explains how this learning will facilitate the accomplishment of their stated goals.

A compelling essay clearly states immediate and long-range goals, and then shows a connection to the past in a meaningful and substantive way. Other parts of the portfolio will gradually become more and more specific about the past learning gained. The essay should answer the following questions:

  • What the learner intends to accomplish professionally and educationally in the next ten years, expressed in goals.
  • Skills and knowledge needed to achieve the goals.
  • Relevant learning already acquired as a result of through professional experiences.
  • Further learning needed to achieve the goals.

3. The Resume and LinkedIn Profile
A detailed, updated resume and profile on LinkedIn is part of the Prior Learning Assessment ePortfolio. The profile serves as an outline of history for previous work and educational experience. The resume is a reference point for the Analysis of Learning and Evidence sections of the ePortfolio.

4. Connections: Experiences to SNC Learning Outcomes
Once the list of SNC learning goals is complete, the student analyzes in-depth the learning gained what they have already learned in a systematic, organized way. The purpose is to communicate the connections between past experiences and particular learning outcomes. A learning analysis is the heart of making these connections.

5. Analysis of Learning
The analysis section is a highly detailed description with an explanation of the experiences connecting SNC learning outcomes and professional expertise. The analysis uses the following structure:

  • Defining Learning Outcomes
  • Explaining Skills and Knowledge Gained
  • Demonstration
  • Description of Learning Setting
  • Specific Connection to Academic and Professional Goals

6. Evidence
The final step in preparing the Prior Learning Assessment ePortfolio is gathering and organizing documentation. Documentation is evidence that prior learning experiences identified in the resume and the analysis of prior learning activities.
Documentation verifies:

  • Employment
  • Volunteering
  • In-service training and non-credit courses
  • Community services
  • Accomplishments, especially products from your past learning experiences.

Letters of verification are a common form of documentation. Several other types of support may be appropriate for the Prior Learning Assessment ePortfolio.

Sierra Nevada College | Incline Village Nevada | 866.412.4636

Sierra Nevada College's Extension Centers bring some of our most popular bachelor's degree programs to you. Four-year degree completion at LTCC and TMCC. Bachelor's in Education at Reno and Las Vegas. Transfer your credits from other institutions, and get credit for your life experience.