Life Experience Credits
Not Your Run-Of-The-Mill Diploma
There are a number of schools that advertise the possibility of getting a college degree based upon life experience. You send in your resume and they send you a degree-nothing to it. This is known as the common diploma mill fraud. There are, however, reputable, legitimate colleges and universities that do give credit for life experience. The defining process for the credits is more rigorous in these accredited schools than the enticing ads in the newspaper.
Adult students, seniors, and people who went to work without going to university or college first, may be able to cash in on their work and life experience when they sign up for college courses. There is great savings in terms of tuition costs and time expenditure when a person is able to apply years of workplace training toward earning a degree.
The Application Process
Part of the process when applying for life experience credit may include taking a standardized test, such as the College Board's CLEP tests. These tests are designed to assess competency in more than 34 subjects, including literature, history, foreign language, science, and business. They are often used to determine if a student already has the requisite knowledge provided in the class. If their score indicates they are already informed on the subject matter, then there is no need for the class.
There is also a job-ready assessment used by some colleges to determine eligibility for life experience credit. This test, similar to the CLEP test, focuses on vocational training and covers more than 75 subjects. The results may be used by the school to determine particular skill sets.
Develop A Winning Portfolio
A student applying for life experience credit will be asked to provide a portfolio outlining qualifications for the credit. The best way to build a strong portfolio is to go through the school catalog, keeping in mind the importance of demonstrating the presence of certain skills or knowledge being taught in classes. The portfolio should show that the skill or knowledge is already learned and not necessary to repeat. Items to include in the portfolio are test scores, certificates of completion of courses, essays, samples of work, letters of recommendation from supervisors and co-workers and other proofs of competency.
First Things First
The first step in applying for life experience credit is to connect with the college. A person from the admissions area will be able to advise concerning the process and what is required in order to obtain credit. Each school is different and the requirements, while similar, do vary from school to school.
Legitimate, reputable schools do not give credits away, which is why the screening process for life experience credits is so in depth. It is best to ensure the portfolio is tailored to fit the knowledge gained through experience to the requisite classes in order to obtain credit.