Credit For Life and Work Experience
Your Experience Counts
We recognize that significant learning occurs outside the formal academic experience in work and home settings, through community activities, military service, or in individual reading and study. Students may receive credit for such experiences through a number of programs that are detailed below. The Academic Advising Coordinator can assist students in determining which option would be best suited to awarding credit for their experiences. Individuals interested in seeking credit for learning experiences outside of college must begin the process by contacting CSSE / Advising at 413-662-5400 or firstname.lastname@example.org . It is important to note that credits awarded through AP, IB, CLEP and Prior Learning are not included in the 45 credits that must be taken at MCLA to earn a degree from the college.
Prior Learning Credit- Students can earn up to 30 credits for learning experiences outside of college. To apply for these credits, students develop a portfolio documenting life experiences (work, community, military service etc). The content of the portfolio must be consistent with the educational goals and outcomes of specific courses or general areas of study. A meeting with the Academic Advising Coordinator is held to discuss the nature and extent of the experiential learning for which credit is sought. The student then submits a 2-3 page summary of his/her experience to CSSE / Advising for an initial evaluation. Students should meet with the appropriate department chairs, particularly when seeking substantial credits in a single academic area.
The prior learning process involves the completion of a portfolio, including a reflective narrative that describes the experience and the learning that took place. Appropriate documentation is required to support the student's explanation of the overall value of the experience as well as specific skills, abilities and knowledge that was gained. Students seeking prior learning credit must enroll in MCLA's Experiential Credit Portfolio Preparation and Writing (ENGL 395) course to receive additional support and assistance with the process. The ENGL 395 requirement may be waived by the Academic Advising Coordinator based on factors such as demonstrated writing proficiency, the nature of the portfolio's content, and/or the number of credits being sought.
The completed portfolio is submitted to CSSE / Advising along with the application sheet. CSSE / Advising transmits the portfolio to the appropriate academic department(s) for faculty review by the department chair(s) or his/her designee(s). Evaluators make a recommendation of the number and distribution of credits awarded. These recommendations are reviewed by the Academic Advising Coordinator and then transmitted to the Dean of Academic Affairs, who makes the final decision. A $100 per credit fee is assessed prior to posting the credits to the student's MCLA academic record.