Prior Learning from Experience (PLE)

At Evergreen we know that vital learning takes place outside of the classroom. With the Prior Learning from Experience program, you can get credit for what you’ve learned in the workplace or the community.
Prior Learning from Experience

Prior Learning from Experience allows students to earn credit for skills gained during the course of their professional careers through writing pieces that outline the work they have done and what they have learned on the job.

Is Prior Learning from Experience (PLE) right for me?

If you’ve got years of work experience and/or community involvement, yes.

Most likely, you have gained some expertise that can earn you credit toward your degree. For instance, instead of taking a college course on leadership, you learned leadership skills and theory through your professional work. We’ll guide you through the process of earning credit by documenting your experience. In Writing from Life and PLE Document Writing, you’ll discover how much college equivalent learning you already have. The collaborative learning community will also help you succeed at Evergreen.

Credit may be offered for learning experiences that are equivalent to college level. Past participants have received credit for:

  • Developing plans for wetlands remediation
  • Union administration and organizing
  • Human resources management
  • Developing and managing a domestic violence program
  • Marketing and graphic design
  • Running a small business
  • Grantwriting and nonprofit management

PLE credit is not available for vocational or craft skills, self-improvement, or any experience accepted through Prior Learning Assessment.

How do I earn credit for life experience?

You document your experience and pay to have the document assessed for credit.
You submit a portfolio of essays, research, and supporting materials that document your knowledge and how you acquired it. Faculty with relevant expertise evaluate your work and determine how much credit you’ve earned and in what areas.

How many credits can I receive?

Up to one full-time year’s worth.

The documents you turn in for assessment can earn you up to 30 credits total. Additionally, you can earn 12–20 credits through the support courses.

How does PLE save me money?

The fee for PLE-awarded credit is about one third the cost of regular in-state tuition.

Instead of paying tuition for the credits you’ve documented, you’ll pay a $651 non-refundable assessment fee per 10 credits.

How long will it take me?

As little as three academic quarters at Evergreen.

It all depends on how long you take to write your documents. You must take one quarter of Writing from Life, and two quarters of PLE Document Writing. After completing the courses, you have up to one year to turn in your documents for assessment.

How do I get started?

Take Writing from Life. This 4-credit course will help you through the process, and is offered Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. You can take Writing from Life even before being admitted to Evergreen, but you must be admitted to Evergreen in order to take PLE Document Writing and to receive PLE credit.

Prior Learning from Experience

Students in the 2014 EWS program Prior Learning from Experience.

I wanted to figure out how my professional training and experience equates to college learning. I always regretted not getting my degree, and the time bonus through PLE was fantastic. Read about our students.



YouTube video about the PLE program

See what students and faculty have to say about their PLE experiences.