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Charles Thomson, Jr., BA

Charles Thomson, Jr., BA
"My kids are very busy with sports. My wife is very busy with work, so it made it real easy for me..."
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Yolanda Soto, BA

Yolanda Soto, BA
"Just because I decided to take that leap of faith to finish my degree, all these doors opened up..."
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Corinne Rao, BSBA

Corinne Rao, BSBA
"It was a 24-year course overall, but I've succeeded and it is the most important thing. It shows my children that I can do it, it shows my self that I can do it..."
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James Hooper, BA

James Hooper, BA
"It seems like I have been going to school for 25 years. Thomas Edison was such a great thing for me because I was able to transfer so many credits..."
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Farzana Haider, BA

Farzana Haider, BA
"I feel I am more competent now and that I can show my children how valuable education is. I'm setting the example for them..."
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Herbert Coleman, BA

Herbert Coleman, BA
"I was amazed to see how many credits this college accepted... I had amassed quite a few over the years...It means the world to me..."
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Barbara Becker, AAS & BSBA

Barbara Becker, AAS & BSBA
"My experience as a student at the college was very fulfilling. It was a nontraditional way..."
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Robey Reed, BSAST

Robey Reed, BSAST
"I looked at a lot of schools when I was in the military, and from what I saw..."
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Maureen Hennessey, BA

Maureen Hennessey, BA
"I don't like leaving things unfinished... and I've gone back to college a number of times..."
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Tanvi Kothari, BA

Tanvi Kothari, BA
"Thomas Edison State College made getting a degree very convenient. Thomas Edison also offered..."
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Jim Harrington, BA

Jim Harrington, BA
"I never dreamed I would have my degree at this age. I thought it was something..."
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Helene Loeb, BSHS

Helene Loeb, BSHS
"Thomas Edison really prepared me to become a leader and interact as well as instruct and support the nurses that are out on the unit.."
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Holly Pitti, BSBA

Holly Pitti, BSBA
"I wanted to show my kids that education was important. I have five children and the flexibility..."
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Maryanne Spatola, BS

Maryanne Spatola, BS
"Finishing my degree was a tremendous leg up for me in terms of marketability..."
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James V. McGuire IV, BSHS

James V. McGuire IV, BSHS
"My father always told me he wanted me to go to college. My father never finished high school..."
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Kristina Romero, BA

Kristina Romero, BA
"...the best thing about Thomas Edison... your workload is whatever you want to make it..."
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Ashley Pistorio, BSAST

Ashley Pistorio, BSAST
"I wasn't really sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew I needed a degree to go anywhere...."
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Rolondo Gorostiza, BSAST

Rolondo Gorostiza, BSAST
"My experiences as a student were nothing short of wonderful..."
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Michael Mendes, MAEdL

Michael Mendes, MAEdL
"I can tell my expectations were exceeded. The school did so much for me. It helped me get where I am now..."
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Irving Cintron, AAS

Irving Cintron, AAS
"I have done everything online which to me was exceptional..."
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Dailys Cintron, AA

Dailys Cintron, AA
"Thomas Edison State College accepted more of my credits from my other university..."
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Adam Bernstein, BA

Adam Bernstein, BA
"I was able to complete my degree in about a year… It’s been a good experience..."
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Rachel Moore, MSHRM

Rachel Moore, MSHRM
"I work in New York and have a long commute so the ability to work on my classwork when I had the time provided a good work-life balance..."
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Pedro Amaro, BSAST

Pedro Amaro, BSAST
"I have a demanding job and a family… Thomas Edison allowed me to pick me courses and that was best way for me to finish a little faster than if I went to a more traditional school..."
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Tiffany Jenkins, BSHS

Tiffany Jenkins, BSHS
"The mentors were awesome. They were always available. It really defied my stereotype of what it would be like to go to school online..."
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Dean Clemente, BSOL

Dean Clemente, BSOL
"You come across a lot of different people geographically… that interaction added a great deal of value because I was able to obtain a different dimension and perspective from other professionals..."
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Brian Fogarty, BSAST

Brian Fogarty, BSAST
"When I looked at schools, Thomas Edison really had the edge over all the other schools, even looking at private schools near my home outside of Philadelphia..."
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Vietthi Nguyen, BSAST

Vietthi Nguyen, BSAST
"As a military member, I am busy serving our country, protecting our freedom and serving my family… TESC was the number one pick for me because it offers flexibility..."
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Fakera Nazneen, MSM

Fakera Nazneen, MSM
"I liked the flexibility it offered and that the whole school is supportive of your goal..."
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Winfried Dzandu-Hedidor, BA

Winfried Dzandu-Hedidor, BA
"Some of the courses I took included Intercultural Relationships… for an organization like the UN, that lesson of how to communicate with people of varied back-ground assisted me a lot..."
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Jessica Vaz, BA

Jessica Vaz, BA
"I loved the flexibility the school offered and that is what made me chose Thomas Edison..."
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Arthur J. Pellerin, BA

Arthur J. Pellerin, BA
"I wanted to progress and show my kids that anyone can do it and prove the point to my soldiers as well..."
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Karen Hatcher, BA

Karen Hatcher, BA
"The prior learning assessment option for me was really amazing..."
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Joshua A. Grimm, MSM

Joshua A. Grimm, MSM
"Without the degree I would have been passed over for the management position..."
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Lauren Centrella, BA

Lauren Centrella, BA
"I've always worked and gone to school part-time at other universities...and I wanted to finally finish up my degree..."
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Sudesh Joshi-Chhibbar, BSN

Sudesh Joshi-Chhibbar, BSN
"Online courses are very helpful for busy nurses because we don't have to leave our home..."
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Jason Didomenico, BA

Jason Didomenico, BA
"I liked the curriculum and I liked this school is regionally accredited versus nationally..."
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Barbara A. Hare, BSBA

Barbara A. Hare, BSBA
"I was determined to remove an obstacle to success by actually starting to complete my bachelor's degree..."
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Bill Benson, BSAST

Bill Benson, BSAST
"Once I talked with the people here at Thomas Edison, they guided my through the process..."
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Annevictoria Palumbo, BSHS

Annevictoria Palumbo, BSHS
"The online was nice because it was flexible it gave me the flexibility of doing it when it was convenient for me..."
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John Kurzenberger, BA

John Kurzenberger, BA
"Coming to Thomas Edison State College was the only way I could complete my degree..."
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Cheryl Jefferson, MSM

Cheryl Jefferson, MSM
"The experience developed my leadership skills much more than I already had..."
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Saher Malik, BA

Saher Malik, BA
"Thomas Edison was very flexible and the professors were very accommodating and very helpful..."
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Dexter Trotter, BA

Dexter Trotter, BA
"My inspiration for going back and finishing my degree was my daughter and my family..."
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Towanda Edwards, BA

Towanda Edwards, BA
"I didn't want to be one of those parents who says you must to go to college but hadn't done so..."
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Julio Hoyos, BSBA

Julio Hoyos, BSBA
"I wanted to show my kids that no matter what, you can do it..."
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Benjamin Vonderreith, BSAST

Benjamin Vonderreith, BSAST
"One of the reasons I went to Thomas Edison is that they accepted so much of my Navy training..."
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Angela Gibson, BSBA

Angela Gibson, BSBA
"In order to get back out into the workforce, I had to complete my degree..."
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Anne Rudolph, BA

Anne Rudolph, BA
"I finally found a profession I was interested in and I had to have a degree within that field, so that was what inspired me to comeback..."
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Joyce Serdinsky, BA

Joyce Serdinsky, BA
"I had to say no to certain things and yes to my books, and it was worth it 100 percent..."
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Jennifer Consuegra, BS

Jennifer Consuegra, BS
"I think what I liked best about it was that I could make my own schedule..."
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Joan Martins, BA

Joan Martins, BA
"My inspiration for returning to college to finish my degree was a personal one. I needed to finish something I started before I had a family..."
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Patricia Stevens, BSN

Patricia Stevens, BSN
"I finally had the opportunity after my children were grown to fulfill my dream..."
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Kyle Robertson, BSBA

Kyle Robertson, BSBA
"My target was to graduate before my first child and he just turned 13, so I made it with some spare time..."
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Michele DeNoia, MSM

Michele DeNoia, MSM
"It was a wonderful experience..."
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Tambra Butler, BA

Tambra Butler, BA
"It was a goal of mine ever since I graduating high school 20 years ago...for my parents, and my dad especially..."
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Keisha Patrick, BSBA

Keisha Patrick, BSBA
"Pretty much I wanted to get my bachelor's degree to pursue other opportunities and because I have two teenage boys so I wanted for them to see that this is possible..."
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Mia Keay, BSBA

Mia Keay, BSBA
"I always wanted to get my degree but I started working right after high school and a certain point I realized I would probably not be able to advance in my career unless I had a four-year degree..."
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Tina Smith-Jeffries, BA

Tina Smith-Jeffries, BA
"it was challenging at times... There were long nights, large cups of coffee but it paid off in the end..."
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Hazel Gordon-Suppa, BSN

Hazel Gordon-Suppa, BSN
"It's about getting the patient care possible; the more knowledge you have, the better equipped you are to take care of the patients..."
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Daniel Palermo, BA

Daniel Palermo, BA
"I had to take the time for my children to go college, which they have successfully done, and I felt it was time with the military's assistance for me to return to school and accomplish my degree..."
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Victor Dent, BA

Victor Dent, BA
"It is very convenient taking classes online. You can do your studies over the weekend, at night or in the wee hours of the morning..."
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About Prior Learning Assessment 

Note: This option is not approved for Financial Aid or Veterans’ Benefits.

Overview
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a flexible, efficient way of earning college credits for college-level knowledge you have acquired through expertise developed outside the classroom. Thomas Edison State College has already helped thousands of adults save countless in-class hours by earning credits based on their college-level knowledge acquired beyond the classroom. Moreover, these credit awards are honored in transfer by many other colleges and universities throughout the country.

PLA operates on the philosophy that college-level learning, no matter how it is gained, may warrant consideration for credit. Therefore, nearly any area of learning can be converted into college credit as long as it is corresponds to what is taught in a course at a regionally accredited college or university, and you can demonstrate your expertise in it through the portfolio process.

With portfolio courses, you work with a mentor to determine what materials are appropriate for you to demonstrate college-level knowledge of the course content and outcomes. These courses require that the mentor approve credit based on prearranged criteria. No letter grade is assigned when credit is earned for PLA. To earn credit through PLA, select a course in the subject in which you plan to demonstrate college-level knowledge. As a PLA student, you will demonstrate college-level knowledge of this subject by creating a PLA electronic portfolio, or e-portfolio. You have one 12-week semester in which to complete your PLA e-portfolio, which is developed under the guidance of a mentor. The narrative and supporting documentation compiled during the PLA will serve as proof of your college-level expertise and the value it has in the academic world. Such documentation can include evidence of learning gained from a wide variety of sources, but these are some of the most common sources used for Prior Learning Assessment:

  • full- or part-time jobs
  • prior independent research
  • training programs or in-service courses
  • volunteer work
  • cultural and artistic pursuits
  • hobbies and recreational pastimes
  • community or religious activities
  • study abroad

Preparing for PLAs:  A Step-by-Step Process
To learn more about PLA and to complete the PLA Self-Assessment Guide go to www.tesc.edu/pla. To prepare for development of an electronic portfolio you will: 

A. Inventory Your Knowledge and Skills.
Review your job history, hobbies, areas of study or special training, volunteer work and other activities. Then make a list of all the areas of college-level knowledge and skill you have acquired as a result of these experiences. Further information is available at www.tesc.edu/pla

B. Choose the Areas for Which You Want to Earn College Credit.
Evaluate each area of your prior college-level learning to determine which ones to select for PLA. Your decision about each subject area should be based on two factors: whether you can prove that your knowledge is equivalent to a college-level course and whether you need college credits in that subject area. With the exception of physical education courses, field experience, student teaching, cooperative study, practicum courses, English Composition I and II, internships, seminars, “Selected Topics” courses, current independent study or stand-alone lab courses, any college-level subject is eligible for PLA, although there are some subjects that are not well-suited for portfolio assessment. It is strongly recommended that your selected PLAs be reviewed and deemed appropriate by the Advisement Center for your degree program or certificate program.

C. Find a Standard or Individualized PLA Course Description to Match Your Learning.
For each subject you have chosen, select an appropriate course description from either the Standard PLAs or the Thomas Edison State College PLA Course Description Database, which can accessed at www2.tesc.edu/plasearch.php. For Individualized course descriptions you may also search through catalogs from regionally accredited colleges to locate a description that best reflects your knowledge, if Thomas Edison State College does not already have a course to match your learning in its course description database. Course descriptions must come from catalogs that are no more than two years old. The catalog entries you select must represent courses taught in semester hours (not quarter hours) at regionally accredited colleges or universities. Please note that if you select a course description from another institution’s catalog, there is no guarantee that it will be assigned the same course code by Thomas Edison State College. If you plan to enroll in an Individualized PLA, fill out and submit the Undergraduate Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio Proposal Form and be sure to identify the semester in which you hope to take the PLA. This form can be found at www.tesc.edu/studentforms.

It will be reviewed by the College. If the application is accepted, a PLA course section will be set up and you will be informed that you may register for it. You must submit your proposal form at least two weeks prior to the end of the registration period for the desired semester so that a mentor may be identified before the registration period ends.

D. Register for the PLA Course.
You may register for standard PLAs directly with the Office of the Registrar just as you would for any course, except that Individualized PLAs do not have the online registration option because they are specially activated for you. See the section in this Catalog on Course Registration. Once the semester begins, you may contact your mentor and begin to follow the timeline provided in the Assignments section of the course. 

E. Describe What You Know and How You Learned It.
After reviewing the course description and learning outcomes set out in your myEdison® PLA section, you will create a portfolio by writing a narrative that describes your college-level learning and addresses the subject area content as defined by the learning outcomes. You will also explain how your knowledge was acquired and introduce the materials you are providing as evidence. This narrative, which may vary in length and format depending on the subject area, is developed under the guidance of your mentor and is your forum for demonstrating to the mentor that you possess sufficient college-level knowledge to warrant credit for the subject.

F. Provide Evidence of Your Knowledge.
In your portfolio, you will assemble a compilation of material that documents your knowledge of the course content and outcomes. Evidence submitted is not limited to written documents such as a resume or an annotated bibliography, but can also include video and audio clips as well as scanned documents. Examples may include a performance evaluation, certificates, samples of your work, letters of verification from employers or others who have firsthand knowledge of your abilities, or any other material that offers proof. 

G. Put it All Together.
After you have registered for a PLA, interacted with your mentor to write an appropriate narrative and collected sufficient evidence to prove your knowledge of the course, your PLA portfolio is complete and ready for final assessment. If a piece of evidence is not conducive to electronic transmission, you may mail it to the mentor, but only copies should be sent as evidence cannot be returned. There are two types of Prior Learning Assessments, Standard and Individualized, and these differ only in the initial registration process.

Prior Learning Assessment Courses
Before registering, the student will submit the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Portfolio Proposal Form. If there is no appropriate Standard PLA, the student may propose an Individualized PLA by selecting a course description from the PLA Description Course Database or by submitting a course description from a catalog from another regionally accredited institution of higher education within the United States. A PLA proposal that uses a description from either of these sources must be reviewed and approved before the student can be allowed to register for the assessment.

If the description on which the PLA is based is from outside the College, the student must include a photocopy of or an active link to both the course description and the cover of the catalog from which the description was taken. On the proposal, the student must also include a brief account of how and where the knowledge was gained. Proposal forms must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the end of the registration period for the desired semester. Once the proposal is reviewed, the student will receive clearance to register for the PLA for the next available semester.

Note: Upper-division or graduate nursing PLA Portfolio Proposal Forms will be reviewed by the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing prior to approval.

The Assessment of Your PLA
Each PLA portfolio is assessed by a mentor to determine whether your knowledge of the subject and corresponding outcomes is comparable to a college-level grade of C or better. If it is, the mentor will award a grade of “credit (CR).” You will not receive a letter grade.

If the mentor decides that more information is needed to make a grade determination, you may be asked to submit additional evidence, take an examination or be interviewed. The latter practices are often used in cases where students have acquired knowledge of a subject that cannot readily be documented. If your knowledge is judged to be insufficient, the mentor will award a grade of “no credit (NC).”

The only limit to the number of credits you may earn through PLA is that English Composition I and II cannot be taken as PLA courses. In a few cases, students have earned enough PLA credits to fulfill most of their degree requirements. Students may not exceed the College’s maximum number of credits carried per semester without permission of their academic advisor and/or dean.

At the end of the 12-week semester, you will receive a grade report, within the same time frame as for any other course at Thomas Edison State College. If you are a student at another school, you should request in writing from the Office of the Registrar that a Thomas Edison State College transcript be sent to your home institution.

PLA Policies and Procedures

1. It is recommended that students enrolled in Thomas Edison State College check with the Advisement Center to be certain that all selected PLA course descriptions are applicable to their degree program before registering for a PLA. Students enrolled in other institutions should make sure that credits earned through PLA will apply toward their degree programs before registering for PLA at Thomas Edison State College. Course descriptions from colleges other than Thomas Edison State College may not be used as a basis for PLA if Thomas Edison State College has an equivalent course in its PLA Course Description Database.

2. Because the portfolio narrative requires substantial writing, it is strongly advised that students attempt PLA only after they have fulfilled the requirements for English Composition I and II with a grade of C or better.

3. The topics of human knowledge are virtually limitless. It is important for students to remember, however, that the College can only assess knowledge based on courses taught at regionally accredited colleges and in subject areas for which mentors can be located. Every effort is made to find mentors in the student’s area of expertise, but occasionally, no such mentor can be located, so PLA may not be pursued.

4. The College reserves the right to refuse to grant credit for any PLA portfolio that does not meet the standards set by the College. Students should work closely with their mentor to ensure the best possible chance of earning credit through the PLA process.

5. The College cannot award duplicate credit for both a PLA and a course that cover essentially the same content. PLA students need to work closely with their academic advisors early in the process to avoid duplication of content when selecting their course descriptions. It is not unusual for courses with different titles to cover the same content.

6. Physical education courses, field experience, student teaching, cooperative study, practicum courses, English Composition I and II, internships, seminars, “Selected Topics” courses, current independent study, stand-alone lab courses or other courses whose subject matter may be inconsistent with demonstrating prior learning through a narrative- centered e-portfolio process are not eligible for PLA.

7. A mentor may determine that a student has adequately demonstrated competency of a course in fewer than 12 weeks but the assessment may not be completed in less than 30 days from the start of the PLA. Even when a PLA is completed early, the grade will not be issued until the end of the semester except for compelling reasons such as a graduation audit or to meet requirements for retaining employment.

Graduate PLA
Students enrolled in a Thomas Edison State College graduate degree may apply to earn PLA portfolio credit for any course required by the degree. Portfolio assessment opportunities for Thomas Edison State College courses will be based on the stated learning outcomes. For other approved electives, matriculated students may present course descriptions from graduate courses offered at other regionally accredited colleges or universities as a basis for earning credit through Prior Learning Assessment subject to the dean’s approval. This policy may be limited by external accrediting bodies or by the nature of the course. Not all graduate degree programs will accept PLA credit. Please check with the college academic dean regarding whether that degree program accepts PLA credit.

Graduate PLA Course Proposal Forms can be found on the Student Forms page and must be sent directly to the dean's office for approval.