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Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a process by which learning mastered outside of the classroom is reviewed for college-level equivalency. Credit for PLA may be granted for learning acquired from work and life experiences; civic, community, or volunteer work; individual study; and in-service training sponsored by associations, business, government, and industry, including the military. Students can demonstrate that they have achieved college-level learning obtained as a result of prior experiences in a particular area and validate their relevant learning.

PLA creates a pathway for non-traditional students to accelerate their academic progress toward earning an Etown SGPS undergraduate degree.

How It Works

How do you apply your prior learning for credit? The first step is to complete a one-credit course, PL 1500 – SGPS Experiential Learning Portfolio which will prepare you to submit a PLA application and portfolio. Approved portfolios will demonstrate college-level competencies and writing skills and include a narrative explaining how specific experience aligns with the student learning outcomes of a course(s) in your program. Each statement must be accompanied by tangible evidence and support documentation. With the fee of $450 charged for the assessment of a PLA portfolios students can earn up to 32 credits for a portfolio which equates to savings of over $17,000

Qualifications to Earn PLA Credit

  • Must be an active Etown SGPS student who has completed a minimum of 6 credits prior to applying for PLA.
  • Students must be in good academic standing with Elizabethtown College.
  • Students must be in good financial standing with Elizabethtown College.
  • A student has not previously attempted, completed, or transferred in the equivalent course for which PLA credit is being sought.
  • The PLA credit must apply to the student’s major or program of study.


Students interested in pursuing PLA credit should check with their academic advisor to ensure that they do not enroll into a course for which they may later be seeking to earn PLA equivalent credit.


Contact us:

For more information on Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) at Etown, complete this form or contact Julie Walton, Director of Program Operations.

Elizabethtown College