Credit for Prior Learning

When I registered for college and received the finalized statement about my transfer credits there were 20 courses for which I still needed credit.  Three of these (two general education and one for my psychology major) I had taken before but they did not transfer in correctly.  I managed to acquire syllabi from my previous colleges so that my advisor can try to get those transfer credits adjusted.  So that would bring my total number of needed courses down to 17.

Then I went to orientation and discovered credit for prior learning.  Two courses I need (one general education and one for my major) have DSST exams I can take to get credit.  Even with buying a book to study and paying for the exams, that will only be around $200 per course rather than the roughly $1,200 it costs to take it through the college.

There is also an advanced writing course for general education for which they offer a portfolio option.  Given that I was an English major for a while in the past, I am reasonably sure I can manage a passable portfolio.  Now we are down to 14 classes.

Then I had a moment of panic.  I looked at the admissions requirements for the MSW program and saw that it requires courses in psychology, sociology, and statistics.  No indication of how many courses.  Obviously my major will cover the psychology, and hopefully the statistics class I need for my major is enough, but what about sociology?  After asking and being referred to several people, I finally got the answer that I only need one course in each area and the ones I transferred in would be sufficient.

But wait – the only sociology class I have credit for is the one I’m trying to get moved over to psychology because it’s required for my major.  So again I would need a sociology class and would have to take the intro class because it’s a prerequisite to everything else.  Mom was clever enough to ask if I could test out of that, and in fact there is a CLEP test offered for that course.  So there’s one more text book I need to buy and study, but I’m not going to push myself to finish that one anytime soon.

If you’re going to college and need some general education requirements, even if you’re a new high school graduate, look into the credit for prior learning option at your college.  Even if you don’t have a lot of experience with the subject, you can probably pass the exams if you’re good at studying and learning on your own.

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