PLA Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a fee for the PLA Workshop?
Yes. The PLA Workshop is a no-credit, seven-week online workshop and it costs $305* to register.
Do I have to take the workshop or can I work on essays independently?
Students are not required to take the workshop to submit PLA essays. The NLC Prior Learning Assessment Guidebook provides all of the necessary information to complete the portfolio. However, it is strongly recommended that students register for the workshop in order to gain a solid framework and learn tools that will help them succeed.
I took the workshop a long time ago and can use a refresher. Can I take it again?
Of course! Students can register for the PLA Workshop multiple times if they feel it would help them succeed in submitting their essays for evaluation. However, the registration fee of $305* is required each time.
Is there a fee to review my PLA portfolio?
Yes. The portfolio review fee is currently $305* for the first 15 credits and $305* for the next 15 credits.
Do I have to pay a fee for each credit awarded for my essays?
No. While many schools charge for each credit, NLC charges a flat fee based on a range of credits (i.e., 1-15, 16-30).
What is the maximum number of credits I can receive for PLA essays?
Students can receive a maximum of 30 credits from Prior Learning Assessment essays. This only applies to students who have fewer than the maximum number of transfer credits (84), so there may be limits on the number of lower-level and upper-level essays you can write. Consult your instructor or academic advisor on your specific situation and how these limits may apply to you.
Can I write PLA essays to meet general education requirements for graduation?
No. All general education requirements must be met by completing a minimum of three semester credits within the required general education discipline (English, social science, math, arts/humanities, physical/biological science). These credits can be earned at NLC or transferred in from an accredited institution or apprenticeship, but cannot be earned through the PLA process.
Can I write PLA essays to fulfill degree requirements?
No. Each program at NLC requires 36 credits of degree-related coursework. PLA essays cannot be used to substitute for these courses.
What are the standards for PLA essays?
All essays must include a course name, description, learning objectives, college name/website, detailed analysis of your experiences and learning, and clearly referenced documentation. In general, essays should be at least one single-spaced page of text per attempted credit.
We recommend that you review the NLC Catalog first when looking for courses to use for PLA essays. All NLC courses count as upper-level credits.
What types of documentation do I need for my essays?
All essays must include documentation: a certificate, picture, letter, CD with examples, etc., to help the evaluators confirm your learning experiences. Students who do not include documentation with each essay that is clearly connected and referenced to the learning being discussed will not earn credit. Documents and other submissions become the property of NLC and will not be returned.
Who do I contact if I have questions about the PLA process, writing my essays, or providing documentation?
While enrolled in the PLA workshop, your instructors and the Prior Learning Assessment Guidebook are your best resources for information and advice. If you are not yet enrolled and have general questions about whether PLA might be right for you, contact your academic advisor or admissions counselor.
*Tuition and fees subject to change.