How to Accelerate Your Degree
(Continued from 2)
The NCCRS (National College Credit Recommendation Service), formerly National PONSI, evaluates outside education and training programs for college credit equivalency. Programs reviewed by NCCRS are offered by corporations, unions, and other organizations.
Over 1,500 colleges and universities consider awarding credit based on NCCRS recommendations.
Credit for Life Experience
Students who have gained competency in an area through
life experience may be able to earn college credit through
a life experience portfolio. But preparing life experience
portfolios can be time consuming and are not a quick route to college credit. Reports must be submitted for each course
the student seeks credit for, including supporting documentation
for learned proficiencies. Some colleges offer
courses that provide the student with direction for
developing a portfolio, while others may have advisors
available. An individual portfolio may include:
- Credit for Corporate Training.
Documentation would include certificates of completion
for employment training or seminars and workshops.
- Professional Licenses and Certification.
Licensure for profession or field of employment.
Examples include insurance and real estate licenses.
- Coursework Transcripts.
Credit may be awarded for coursework completed
from business or technical schools, and some unaccredited
- Credit for Experiential Learning. This
classification comprises non-classroom learning: i.e.,
personal and professional life experience. Examples
include business experience or volunteer work.
- Competency Credit. Credit
is awarded for out of the classroom learning demonstrated
through the creation of a tangible product: i.e.,
book publication or computer software development.
Material that may be included in a portfolio are documents
that demonstrate skills or knowledgeability: i.e., awards
received, multimedia presentations, published newspaper
or magazine articles, resumes, and references.
There are hundreds of accredited colleges and universities
that grant credit for life experience. However, not
all schools offer portfolio assessment. Each school's
policy is different - from not accepting portfolio credit
to limiting the amount of credits accepted. The national
average for credit awarded through portfolio assessment
is 21 credits - and this is usually undergraduate division
Many universities have their own institutional testing
procedures, or "departmental exams" - ways
to challenge a course. Students can obtain a list of
classes open to challenge from the admissions or testing
center of the college they are attending or plan to
attend. If they take the test and pass, they will earn
credit without having to take the class. Be aware, however,
that these are not standardized tests and are based
on lecture content and textbooks used for a specific
course. That is why it is important to talk to the instructor
before taking a challenge exam and to study the course
syllabus and other materials.