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Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)


Receive credit for what you have learned through your life experiences

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a term used to describe the assessment of experience or knowledge for college credit that is acquired outside of a traditional academic environment. 


PLA can take many different forms, but generally, college credit for PLA can be awarded for an individual’s demonstrated or documented learning and knowledge at the college level. Obtaining college credit through PLA shortens the pathway and saves time and money. The academic department chairs and content faculty experts ultimately determine what equivalent credit is awarded for PLA. They consider:

  • Credit for work experience
  • Credit for life experiences
  • Credit for experiential learning
  • Military credit

See our PLA guidelines page to learn more about the ins and outs of Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

PLA Process Map

To participate in the PLA program at Southwest, students must be:

  • Currently enrolled at Southwest and actively pursuing a declared program of study
  • In good academic standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0
  • In good financial standing with the College and not have any outstanding debts.


For more information:
Eddie Baker
Matthew Lexow

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