CPL is a strategy for converting knowledge and learning to academic credit. Southern recognizes that many applicants bring extensive knowledge in their fields of study and we want to reward that experience.
It's important to know that credit for prior learning is an academic process more than anything. If you apply for CPL, you can expect that you’ll be working primarily with faculty members to determine whether or not you’re eligible.
Through this process, student learning is assessed and verified to determine whether their life experience matches a college-level understanding of core academic concepts and objectives taught in courses.
Each situation is unique, we work with each individual to review their prior knowledge and life experience to determine whether or not they meet the academic standards needed.
In addition to offering financial aid for military members and their families, we do what we can to help servicemen and women finish their degrees. Often, this involves recognizing their experience and turning that into college credit.
If you’ve served in the military, then you may be offered credit for what’s recorded on your Joint Services Transcript (JST).
If you’re not sure whether your service could translate to college credit and you’re looking to find out more, check out the ACE Military Guide.
You could also get college credit for passing a standardized exam for a specific topic, which would be the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). Passing this exam to show your proficiency in certain topics could earn you credit at participating schools.
Similarly, passing a STAMP 4S exam to demonstrate your deep knowledge of a secondary language could translate to college credit as well.
What if you have advanced knowledge and skills in a college-level topic, but can’t find an exam that matches your experience?
That’s where challenge examinations come in.
This will depend on your unique situation, but you may have the chance to take a customized challenge examination to test your knowledge for specific courses in your program. With these exams, you’ll have the opportunity to demonstrate competence that’s equivalent to a required course for your program.
At a higher level, portfolio assessments are a process through which faculty experts will evaluate your various life experiences to see which college-level learning objectives have been met.
This process can take a lot of time and effort. You’ll be working with Southern, communicating with your employers, getting transcripts from your previous schools, and filling out applications to explain in detail the experience you gained.
Because of that, there are some cases in which it makes more sense to just take the class instead. That’s why it’s important to talk to an advisor who can walk you through your unique situation and help map out the best plan forward.
In this guide, we’ll explore CPL in more depth, talk about the ways in which you may be eligible for college credit, and how it works at Southern specifically, including: