Assessment of Prior Learning

What is The Assessment of Prior Learning Program?

The Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) Program at Three Rivers Community College is a process by which a student may receive college credit for the learning achieved as a result of their life and work experience. APL was established under and continues to maintain the standards of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

You can receive up to 30 credits to be applied toward a program of study at Three Rivers Community College. The credits gained through this evaluation process are applicable towards an Associate Degree at Three Rivers. A minimum of 25% (15 credits for career programs and 17 credits for technology programs) must be granted in residence by Three Rivers.

Is the Assessment of Prior Learning Program Right for Me?

Whether you are a retired military person, an administrative assistant, a day care provider, a homemaker, or a volunteer fund-raiser for a civic organization, you most likely have acquired significant learning as a result of that work or volunteer experience.  This learning is called non-traditional or experiential learning, and it often translates into college-level learning. The most successful candidates have extensive experiential learning (typically 5+ years) outside of the classroom in an applicable field of study.

An easy way to ascertain if the learning you have gained outside of traditional college classrooms could be applicable as college-level learning is to think in the following terms:

    • Is your learning in a subject area taught at a college?
    • Can your learning be verified and documented by an expert in the field?
    • Can your learning be related to other learning from similar areas of study?

If your answers to the above questions were yes, then the APL Program is worth exploring.


How does the APL Program work?

The APL Program is offered in the form of a 4-credit Portfolio Development Course (COU* K122) and follows a regular academic term schedule (15 weeks). This course guides you through the process of developing a portfolio documenting the learning and knowledge you have acquired through life and work experiences. At the end of the course, the portfolio is submitted to a board of Faculty Evaluators to determine the number of credits you will receive.

How can I match my learning and experience to courses at Three Rivers?

Start by reading the Course Descriptions in the Three Rivers Community College Catalogue to match your non-traditional learning with the courses described therein. You can search by subject area or enter a skill/keyword in the search field to explore all courses which contain that term in the course description.

Enrollment Requirements:

  • Demonstrate college-level English readiness by either
    • Testing into Composition (ENG* K101) via accuplacer or
    • Completing Intro to College English (ENG* K096) with a 'C#' grade or higher
  • Complete the APL Self-Paced Online Information Session or attend an On Campus Information Session
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Word is highly recommended
  • Take at most one other course concurrently with COU K122 (students are strongly urged to follow this due to the significant commitment this course requires)

Are there alternative ways to earn credit apart from APL?

Yes. For some courses and under certain circumstances, an alternative way to earn credit may be the best option. Three Rivers offers

  • CLEP (College Level Examination Program)
  • DSST (formerly DANTES) and
  • Advanced Placement Equivalency Exams

Visit the Three Rivers Testing Center Webpage for more information.

Additional Resources:

All new student processing should be taken care of as quickly as possible (submit an application and high school verification and take the Placement Test).

If you have additional questions, please contact the APL Program Coordinator, Amanda Caffary, at (preferred) or on 860.215.9018.


This self-paced module allows you to explore the APL Program and meet
the Information Session Attendance registration requirement.
No Information Sessions currently scheduled. Please check back soon!

Please RSVP to the APL Program Coordinator, Amanda Caffary,
at if you plan to attend.

Visit the Registrar's Office for more Information and Helpful Resources.