Western students can now request that their life/work experience be considered equivalent to coursework through the process of portfolio assessment. Excluding internships, all experience-based credit must align with a Western course, as demonstrated in the portfolio.
A portfolio is a formal collection of documents you submit to a faculty evaluator to demonstrate that you have achieved college-level learning through prior work or life experience. At Western, the portfolio includes:
- Completed Application for Prior Learning Credit and Portfolio Assessment Agreement
- Brief letter of submission covering your career, educational history, and a summary of your academic/career goals
- Most recent (unofficial) Western transcript and transfer audit report
- Course for which credit is requested, a current official course syllabus
- Course for which credit is requested, an essay illustrating how your experience addresses the course goals and learning outcomes
- Appropriate experiential documents (certificates, work samples, job descriptions, letters verifying authenticity, awards, licenses, or other documents related to specific course under consideration).
- Save Money: students will be charged a non-refundable fee equivalent to one-half the tuition for each semester hour of prior learning credit requested through portfolio assessment. The fee must be paid prior to portfolio evaluation by the Faculty Mentor for academic credit.
- Save Time: attain credit for what you have already learned in at least half the duration of a typical course.
- Improve skillset: understand how the classroom concepts translate directly into the prior knowledge and experience you have gained in the workplace. Practice university-level writing skills and enhance your critical thinking skills through connecting your prior experience with course objectives and outcomes.
- Must be a degree-seeking student currently enrolled and in good standing at Western.
- Portfolio Assessment must be an approved method of credit for the department and course for which you are petitioning.
Once the portfolio is complete, students will be added to the portfolio hub in Canvas in order to submit their work for faculty review. Contact Sarah Sharsmith, Assistant Registrar, for more information.
Need support in putting it all together? Western now offers a one-credit, online, asynchronous course, ENG 297 (PLA 250), Professional Development Workshop, which can help students learn how to craft a quality portfolio for review. If you are interested in enrolling in the course, contact Assistant Registrar Sarah Sharsmith to enroll and learn more!
This course is designed only for students who intend to submit portfolio work associated with the experience-based prior learning assessment (PLA) process. It provides lessons and exercises for building the portfolio by developing writing skills and promoting analytic thinking and effective communication. While highly encouraged for students pursuing PLA credit, it is not required unless specified by the department.
Not sure which is the best option for you to pursue transfer credit? Click here for a self-guided checklist.
To learn more about the Experience-based PLA protocol, please contact Assistant Registrar Sarah Sharsmith (970.943.7005, firstname.lastname@example.org).
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