Adult Considering College

Did you know that Eastern recognizes and rewards you for the valuable skills you have learned and developed over your lifetime, even if it was outside the classroom? Some of the life lessons and skills you have learned may be very similar to what is taught in various college-level courses.

Because we believe that you can continue to build a strong educational foundation, and because we want to you reach your future goals as quickly as possible, we offer several pathways — including the statewide Board of Governors Adult Degree Completion Program — for you to earn college credit for your life experiences that are comparable to college-level learning. 

The Assessment Of Prior Learning program allows students to earn college credit for learning that occurs outside of the traditional college setting. To earn such credit, the student — working with Eastern advisors and faculty — must show that the “non-traditional” learning is comparable to college-level learning and meets requirements for the degree program in which the student enrolls.

(Learn more about Prior Learning Assessment at WV’s Credit For Prior Learning webpage:

 “Non-traditional” learning that qualifies for college credit equivalence may include learning and skills acquired through any or all of the following :

  • Military training
  • Work and life experience
  • On-the-job and vocational training
  • Personal development and enrichment activities such as private reading and serious hobbies
  • Independent study
  • Schools and institutes that are not accredited
  • Special licensure, certification and formal training programs

To validate and award credit for "non-traditional" college-level learning, Eastern will use testing instruments and assessment measures including, but not limited to, the following:

For more information about how to apply for College Credit for Lifelong Learning, please contact
Monica Wilson, Dean of Student Access and Success; or Lacey Koontz, Student Program Advisor, at 304-434-8000; or tollfree: 877-982-2322.

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What Is Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)?

"Prior Learning Assessment is a term used to describe learning gained outside a traditional academic environment. Put another way, it’s learning and knowledge your students acquire while living their lives: working, participating in employer training programs, serving in the military, studying independently, volunteering or doing community service, and studying open source courseware.

In short, PLA is the evaluation and assessment of an individual’s life learning for college credit, certification, or advanced standing toward further education or training." -- Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)

How PLA Contributes to Academic Success

"CAEL recently conducted a study on PLA and adult student outcomes. The study examined data on 62,475 adult students at 48 colleges and universities across the country. CAEL found that graduation rates are two and a half times higher for students with PLA credit. PLA students also had higher persistence rates and a faster time to degree completion." --  Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)

“Adult students who receive PLA [Prior Learning Assessment] credit are two and a half times more likely to persist to graduation — and complete their degrees — than students who do not receive PLA credit….Many PLA students also shortened the time required to earn a degree, depending on the number of PLA credits earned.”
--Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success, The Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL) Research Brief, August, 2011



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