Earning credit for prior experience as a nontraditional student

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Earning credit for prior experience as a nontraditional student

One of the more confusing aspects of the transfer process is how different Christian universities award credits for prior experience. If individuals return to academia later in life, chances are they will have acquired a great deal of professional and personal experience that their younger counterparts may be lacking. As a result, nontraditional students who want to transfer to another institution should consider their options carefully before committing to any decisions.

Accreditation of prior learning

There are many ways that students can demonstrate knowledge of various topics to ensure they do not have to repeat classes that are beneath their level of experience. For example, the American Council on Education training programs offer students the opportunity to take exams on a range of subjects to prove they have an adequate knowledge of the subject matter equivalent to that of college classes.

Individuals with professional experience in areas such as healthcare, law enforcement and the arts can also receive college credit without taking additional classes. Licensure in fields such as nursing can count toward college credit, as can training programs offered through state police academies. Prospective transfer students with experience in the arts can have their portfolio reviewed by a panel of experts to avoid taking duplicate classes.

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Making it count

While there are many ways for nontraditional transfer students to earn credits for their previous experience, not all Christian colleges and universities will recognize all forms of prior learning. For example, some schools may accept police training courses as a legitimate form of previous experience equivalent to college credit, but not accept nursing licensure. Other schools may award different numbers of credits for this type of experience than others.

Individuals who are considering transferring to another institution should discuss their plans with an admissions adviser at their prospective school. These professionals will be able to advise transfer students on which forms of prior learning the school recognizes, how many credits a student’s experience is worth, and what forms of documentation are required in order for the credits to be applied to their transcript.

It is important for transfer students to remember that every individual’s academic journey is unique to them. What works for one student may not work for another. However, with planning, forethought and hard work, transferring to another institution could be the best decision nontraditional students ever make.

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