Assessment of Prior Learning

What is The Assessment of Prior Learning Program?

The Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) Program at Three Rivers Community College is a process by which a student may receive college credit for the learning achieved as a result of their life and work experience. APL was established under and continues to maintain the standards of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

You can receive up to 30 credits to be applied toward a program of study at Three Rivers Community College. The credits gained through this evaluation process are applicable towards an Associate Degree at Three Rivers. A minimum of 25% (15 credits for career programs and 17 credits for technology programs) must be granted in residence by Three Rivers.

Is the Assessment of Prior Learning Program Right for Me?

Many adults are not aware of just how the APL Program works or if it is right for them.  Whether you are a retired military person, an administrative assistant, a day care provider, a homemaker, or a volunteer fund-raiser for a civic organization, you most likely have acquired significant learning as a result of that work or volunteer experience.  This learning is called non-traditional or experiential learning, and it often translates into college-level learning. The most successful candidates have extensive experiential learning (typically 5+ years) outside of the classroom in an applicable field of study.

An easy way to ascertain if the learning you have gained outside of traditional college classrooms could be applicable as college-level learning is to think of your learning in the following terms:

    • Is the learning in a subject area taught at a college?
    • Can the learning be applied to situations other than the one in which it was acquired?
    • Can the learning be verified and documented by an expert in the field?
    • Can the learning be related to other learning from similar areas of study?

If your answers to the above questions were yes, then the APL Program is worth exploring.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How does the APL Program work?

The APL Program is offered in the form of a 4-credit Portfolio Development Course (COU* K122) and follows a regular academic term schedule (15 weeks). This course guides you through the process of identifying courses and areas of study in which to apply your college-level learning. You will develop a portfolio which documents the learning and knowledge you have acquired through life and work experiences.

At the end of the course, the portfolio is submitted to a board of Faculty Evaluators to determine the number of credits you will receive. The Portfolio itself will be built within Digication, the ePortfolio platform employed at Three Rivers. A user-friendly template is in place that will help you build your Portfolio.

  • How can I match my learning and experience to courses at Three Rivers?

Start by reading the Course Descriptions in the Three Rivers Community College Catalogue to match your non-traditional learning with the courses described therein. You can search by subject area or enter a skill/keyword in the search field to explore all courses which contain that term in the course description. If your response is positive, then it would appear that this is an appropriate program, and one which would be of benefit to you.

  • Are there alternative ways to earn credit apart from APL?

Yes. For some courses and under certain circumstances, an alternative way to earn credit may be the best option. Three Rivers offers

regularly throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. Visit the Three Rivers Testing Center Webpage for more information or the Three Rivers Time Center to view and schedule upcoming tests.

Enrollment Requirements:

  • Complete ENG* K096 with a 'C#' grade or higher or ENG* K101 eligibility
  • Complete the Self-Paced Online Information Session
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Word is highly recommended
  • Due to the significant commitment this course requires, students are strongly urged to take at most one other course concurrently with COU K122

Additional Resources:

All new student processing should be taken care of as quickly as possible (submit an application and high school verification and take the Placement Test).

If you have additional questions, please contact the APL Program Coordinator, Amanda Caffary, at (preferred) or on 860.215.9018.


This self-paced module allows you to explore the APL Program and meet the Information Session Attendance registration requirement.