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Prior Learning Portfolio - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Am I required to submit a prior learning portfolio?
    • Students are not required to submit a portfolio.
  • How can I tell if the prior learning portfolio is a useful option for me?
    • If you have had significant university-level learning from non-academic activities and can describe and provide independent documentation for this learning, the portfolio may be a useful tool in completing your degree. There is no guarantee that submitting a prior learning portfolio will result in the awarding of academic credit. Also, prior learning portfolio credit does not meet the 30 semester hour BGS enrollment requirement nor does it apply toward academic honors distinction. However, credit awarded may apply toward all other appropriate credit hour graduation requirements.
  • Is there a limit to the number of credit hours gained through a portfolio that can be applied to my degree?
    • Yes. There is a limit of 30 hours that can be applied to your graduation requirements. Any additional hours awarded will be transcribed but this additional credit will not be applied to your graduation requirements.
  • When would be the best time to write a prior learning portfolio?
    • We strongly urge that if you intend to submit a prior learning portfolio that you start to work on it as soon as you are admitted into the degree program or as soon as is appropriate if you enter the program with little prior college or university level course experience. With the portfolio evaluation completed, you can better assess which and how many courses you will need to complete your degree. You may submit a prior learning portfolio at any time before meeting all graduation requirements if you are enrolled in the BGS degree program.
  • Can I graduate the same semester in which I submit a prior learning portfolio?
    • No. Since the actual award of academic credit is dependent upon many variables, it is impossible to predict whether you will be granted sufficient credits to meet the graduation requirements. You may not graduate in the semester that you submit a prior learning portfolio for evaluation.
  • How do I identify my prior learning which may earn college credit?
    • The simplest way is to find out whether what you know is taught in a college course. One useful approach to begin your discovery process is to review course descriptions in the WIU Undergraduate Catalog and check off the courses which correspond to your learning.

      Note: Time in itself means very little. Thirty years spent on a particular job might result in no college credit at all from a prior learning portfolio whereas one year of experience and learning may produce significant amounts of credit. What is important is time and effort spent in documenting meaningful, equivalent university-level learning.
  • Are there any courses the University does not evaluate for prior learning portfolio credit?
    • Yes. Internships, departmental independent studies, seminars, workshops, and field work are course types which are not appropriate for portfolio use.
  • How much and what kind of credit should I request in my prior learning portfolio?
    • There is no established limit to the number of course requests you may include in your prior learning portfolio; however, the number of credits earned through portfolio evaluation that may be applied to your graduation requirements is limited to 30 semester hours. The number of course requests should be based on your prior knowledge, interests, and your answers to the following practical questions:
      • How many credits do I need to graduate?
      • Do I need upper or lower division credits?
  • What kind of writing quality is expected in the prior learning portfolio?
    • Because you will be submitting this portfolio as a request for WIU credit, it is expected that your document will conform to University standards for written work; that is, it will be neatly typed, double spaced, and with adequate margins. Standard spelling and proper grammar are essential, and the content should be arranged in an orderly and coherent manner. Course requests which do not meet these standards will be returned to you for revision.
  • Can I transfer the prior learning portfolio credit to another school or program?
    • Should you decide to apply for admission to a traditional degree program after receiving a credit award for prior learning, you should be aware that each college or university has its own policies concerning transfer credits. It would be wise to check the transfer policy of a college or university on prior learning credits before making a decision to apply for admission.