Shouldn’t there be a way for colleges to recognize the significant knowledge that adult students have acquired at other institutions of higher learning and outside of the classroom, however long ago the knowledge was gained? At Linfield, there is. In fact, we champion our Adult Degree Program students earning college credit for their prior learning experiences!
In our new video Linfield Honors Your Past: Transferring Credits, Prior Learning & Life Experience, John Gallagher, Associate Registrar of Linfield’s DCE, explains how the DCE’s application and transfer process works. It’s great news: if you’re a prospective ADP student, it’s a real possibility you will receive academic credits for the academic and life lessons you’ve already learned.
When you apply to the Adult Degree Program, you’ll send in official transcripts from any regionally accredited community colleges and four year colleges and universities where you’ve completed college coursework. Gallagher and the ADP’s transcript evaluator will then review all your transcripts. They’ll identify courses that are comparable with Linfield degree requirements and they will award you full value for as many courses and credits as possible – making sure you receive transfer credit in the best way to count toward your degree program. Gallagher explains, “Once those credits are in we will make sure that we get every credit we can get for you that is transferrable to your program.”
Being awarded transfer credits for your prior academic achievements means you will take fewer courses as you work toward your accredited online degree at Linfield, which translates to lower tuition costs and a quicker graduation for you. Transfer credits do not “age out” at Linfield. With a few specialized exceptions, like computer science and advanced level accounting credits, your transfer credits from other regionally accredited colleges will be accepted by Linfield.
Many ADP students have been awarded Credit for Prior Learning by successfully challenging courses. For example, ADP alumna Debbie Watkins saved over $5,000 in tuition costs by securing 12 semester credits. Alumna Michelle Lagos earned 23 semester credits. To learn more about their experiences in the portfolio writing course, check out interview with portfolio writing course.
What kind of prior learning can earn you college credits? In the video, Gallagher explains three typical routes toward college credit:
- On-the-job or clinical training done through a formal program often leading to licensure or certification
- Military transcripts that come in through the American Council on Education
- Life experience, formalized through a Linfield portfolio writing course
It is also possible to gain college credit through exams such as the DANTES or CLEP exams.
Registered nurses in the online RN to BSN degree program receive a Credit for Prior Learning award of 32 Linfield nursing course credits that recognizes their formal clinical training program and RN license in the state where they practice as a registered nurse.
Military service members and veterans often receive credits for training completed while on active duty or in the reserves. If this is your situation, you can request a copy of your SMART or AARTS official record, and have it sent to Linfield College, Adult Degree Program for evaluation.
If you are interested in the portfolio option of gaining college credit for life experience, you can take the ADP’s online portfolio writing course. In this class, an instructor will lead you through established steps to document how you’ve met the requirements for Linfield courses that correlate to what you’ve learned. This process is called “challenging” a course. Ann Sukalac, instructor of the Writing the Portfolio course, explained how you can gain college credit for real-world learning. She explains, “You have to show what you’ve learned on the job matches up with something that you would have learned in a classroom.” Once you’ve assembled a portfolio showing this, professors who teach the courses you’re challenging will review your portfolio to officially determine if you’ll receive credits for the course challenges.
While securing credits for your prior academic accomplishments can be a confusing process at some institutions, Gallagher wants you to know that at Linfield “it’s actually a fairly easy process” and that “We make sure that every concern that the applicant has is addressed throughout the whole [application] process.” Gallagher knows that returning to college as an adult can be intimidating and in the video he tells prospective students: “If someone feels hesitant after they’ve applied, we strongly encourage them: Don’t lose steam, don’t lose heart.”
You’ve made it this far in life and you deserve the credit – at Linfield’s ADP, you can get it!