Survey Study Guide

Please review these details before completing the survey as part of the pre-requisites in the Life Work and Portfolio Review application process.

What is Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)?

  • Prior Learning Assessment is a method of earning college credit via experiential learning.

What is experiential learning?

  • Knowledge gained outside a formal classroom setting.

Experiential learning submitted for assessment must demonstrate equivalent knowledge of an academic course and evaluates documented learning, not the experience itself.  The submitted assessment can include:

  • Actions and/or observations
  • Must articulate the understanding of the effects of the actions and/or observations
  • Understand the general principles or theories that support the learning achieved
  • Achieved learning can be applied to new circumstances or situations

                           Events + Experience + Knowledge + Reflection = LEARNING

Generally, this learning takes place on a college campus in a classroom setting, but through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), experiential learning can be achieved through work experience, employer training programs, volunteer experience, and community service, non-credit courses, non-college courses, and/or seminars.

Students who choose to earn college credit through Prior Learning Assessment are expected to document and demonstrate this learning by: 

  • Determining which Prior Learning Assessment method best matches the learning to be evaluated.
  • For Life Work credit, the student must identify the Marist course from the catalog that correlates their submission.
  • For Portfolio Review, the student must identify which discipline in which their learning corresponds to (in other words identify if it's science, math, english, etc ...).

Prior Learning Assessment measures both the quality and level of the experiential learning being assessed. This means every submission must include the following in the Narrative Statement:

  • Theory or theories applied and utilized in the learning
  • Practicum, which is a demonstration of practical knowledge learned

The only PLA methods that require Marist Faculty Expert review are Life Work and Portfolio Review.

Life Work and Portfolio Review are digitally submitted and contain the following information:

  • Student Demographic Information
  • Date of Application
  • Student Major and/or Program
  • Date of Completion of Prior Learning Workshop
  • Name of Advisor
  • Autobiographical Statement (any information not contained in your resume but pertinent to your learning experience)
  • Copy of current resume (should document events and/or places where experiential learning occurred)
  • Name of Course or Discipline Prior Learning submission is connected with
  • Supporting Documentation
  • Narrative of Experience for Submission


Supporting Documentation: can be written examples, video, graphic material, and/or certification. Anything that supports the demonstration of experiential learning and its application in a variety of situations or new occurrences. Faculty experts evaluate this information. Careful thought and selection should show quality, level, and depth of the experiential learning.

Narrative of Experience: This is the key section of the submission. Here the student should provide details about how experiential learning was accomplished: the specific experience, the knowledge acquired, and the resulting reflection that occurred. To provide the information regarding the experiential learning, a student's narrative must include:

  • For Life Work submissions: detailed information about how the experiential learning led to the same learning objectives as the specific course selected.
  • For Portfolio Review submissions: detailed information about how the experiential learning is consistent with the objectives of the discipline where the submission is housed.

When ready, please complete the survey as part of the requirement for Life Work and Portfolio Review submission:  

Take the Survey