Prior Learning from Experience Document Writing

Winter Signature
Class Standing

At Evergreen we recognize that adults bring to college vital learning that has taken place outside of the classroom. With the Prior Learning From Experience Document Writing Program, students earn college academic credit for what they have already learned in the workplace or community, gaining a kickstart toward completion of a degree. 

In Prior Learning from Experience, students learn to research and write essays that document the college equivalency of their own professional experience and other learning. In other words, what you have done in the workplace or community that would have given you the same knowledge someone else has gained through college classes?

In addition to compiling essays and evidence of their learning through experience, students collaborate on by sharing these with peers in and out of class. They give and receive reflective feedback to peers. Through research workshops and seminars, adult students gain the academic vocabulary of their own experience, allowing them to write scholarly reflections. Students prize learning just how much academic learning they have already accomplished through professional work and volunteerism.

“There is a high level of expertise and success among students,” noted Wendy Spencer at the time she was in the Prior Learning From Experience Program. Spencer had decades of experience with Wolf Haven International and later became director of operations at McCleery Ranch (wolf sanctuary) in Montana. “Despite our different career paths, there is a commonality, a sense of connectedness. Many of us have moved up the ranks and hold positions that typically require an undergraduate or graduate degree. The students are participating in the shared experience of academic success in a respectful supportive learning community.”

Students can document and earn credits in various areas of their expertise gained through experience. The program will help students to identify the areas of expertise that they have gained through experience that are equivalent to academic courses. As a brief example, a student may have demonstrated the academic equivalents of courses such things as leadership, project management, and many other subjects taught at the university level. We help you, and work together as a class, to understand and explain the college course equivalency of your work and experience. The essays you produce in PLE will help you earn credit toward your Evergreen degree, and may also be useful to share with employers and graduate schools all that you have accomplished.

Students may take up to 20 credits of support courses to write their documents, including Writing from Life and quarters of Prior Learning from Experience. They may then earn up to 30 credits, at one-third the cost of Evergreen tuition, following successful submission and review of documents by Evergreen faculty. As PLE credits may be awarded concurrently with other academic credits earned at Evergreen, the PLE program can significantly speed time to degree.

Students receive dedicated support from program and library faculty, as well as extensive peer collaboration. Throughout the program, students have opportunities to gain advice on next steps in their academic and professional careers. Even as we work remotely, we will form a very engaged learning community. In addition to one-on-one Zoom meetings with faculty, students will have the opportunity to self-organize small online groups to meet outside of class.

Students may enroll in PLE for 4, 6, or 8 credits per quarter, after successfully completing Writing from Life. This classwork will support students in developing a larger portfolio of their work.

Learn more about the PLE program by visiting the website.

The faculty will be available at the Academic Fair, on Zoom, on Wednesday, November 30, from 4 to 6pm:

If you cannot make the academic fair, please feel welcome to contact me at


Successful completion of Writing from Life course and application to the PLE program
Signature Required

Please contact Nancy Parkes ( for information on registering. 

Course Reference Numbers
Fr - Sr (1 - 8): 20219

Academic Details



Remote (W)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details