October 03, 2013
Think long and hard on how you would answer this question:
Would you take the same course twice, if you didn’t have to?
Hopefully, you answered no. Or, even better, answered no way!
Then why not get maximum transfer credit towards your degree by applying a little extra effort?
There are several ways to ensure that you get the optimal amount of previously earned credit to fit into your curriculum so that you can quickly finish your college degree. As an invaluable planning tool, you’ll want your customized academic evaluation to be accurate the first time around to effectively assess which courses you have left to take. Education is never wasted, so here are some smart ways to get college credit for your hard-earned past efforts:
- Send official transcripts from every institution you have attended.
Whether you attended a regionally accredited community college or a four-year institution, or multiple institutions, send all official, sealed transcripts of your past college credits for evaluation. Even if you attended five or 25 years ago, earning a grade of C or better. If you feel unsure how the credits might apply, send the transcripts regardless. They may be better suited to a specific course objective, or a different degree program should you change your mind. Credits don’t expire.
- Submit official, notarized copies of all licenses and certifications.
You may already possess specialized licenses and certifications for your workplace, and not only will you be able to earn college credit for them, but some degree programs actually require them. The complete list is extensive; it includes everything from pilot’s licenses to real estate licenses, nuclear regulatory certifications to testing certifications, and more. The list of licenses and certifications reviewed by ACE (American Council on Education) and NCCRS (National College Credit Recommendation Service) are continuously being updated, and yours can end up saving you lots of time.
- Submit official transcripts or documentation of any professional training, programs and courses.
Any apprenticeships or courses taken in your workplace, through your company, government agencies, professional associations or unions, are also evaluated for college credit. Many of these specialized training programs, like military or EMT training, or online course programs like Straighterline, have already been reviewed by ACE and NCCRS, and through Thomas Edison State College’s Office for Assessment of Professional and Workplace Learning. These credit-awarding organizations, particularly branches of the military, require individual transcripts and documentation, so make sure you submit the proper paperwork to guarantee your efforts didn’t go to waste.
- Submit all official examination or credit-by-exam scores.
If you took CLEP exams, the College’s own TECEP program, or another accredited testing option, make sure your final scores are recognized. The content reflected in the tests demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills equivalent to that of students who learn the material in a college classroom, thereby earning you credit towards your degree.
- Determine how your knowledge acquired outside the classroom can apply toward your degree program.
Prior Learning Assessment, including portfolio assessment, demonstrates that what you already know is equivalent to the course objectives that would have been learned in an equivalent course. Your past work, independent reading and study, training programs or in-service courses, volunteer service, cultural or artistic pursuits, hobbies and recreational pastimes, community or religious activities, organizational memberships, adult education, non-credit courses, study abroad, military training not evaluated for credit by ACE, or other experiences enables you to develop a portfolio for this knowledge, and potentially earn credit for it.
Ultimately, your goal is to leverage all that you bring to this endeavor, which validates the work you have completed and the expertise you have developed. Understanding how to transfer the maximum amount of credit can be a key to success.
Want to learn more about the many ways to earn credit for knowledge obtained in noncollegiate settings? Check out our Methods of Learning and Earning Credit section.
Going Back to College
prior learning assessment
Studying at Thomas Edison State College
tips and advice
August 09, 2013
"Whether you are gearing up to run a race or getting ready to return to college, you are preparing to accomplish a major milestone in your life."
As the Trenton Half Marathon approaches this fall, avid and amateur runners from all over the world are stretching, strengthening and pushing themselves to prepare for the big event. And in homes, libraries and offices across the country, students are proof-reading assignments, checking their reading lists and gearing up for exams as they head toward a different type of finish line. Whether you are gearing up to run a race or getting ready to return to college, you are preparing to accomplish a major milestone in your life. You can see the finish line as you hit the “submit” button on your application for graduation, or sprint toward the last credits you need to fulfill your degree requirements. After all that training, studying and preparing, at the end of the day, you did it. With your friends and family cheering you on at graduation or at the finish line, maybe a marathon and college aren’t so different after all:
- Start training: In each endeavor, there needs to be some sort of training, mentally and/or physically. You wouldn’t take a test without studying, just as you wouldn’t run a race without proper stretching.
- Know your limits: Early on in your training or schooling, you need to know your limits, and push them. By pushing yourself, you can go that extra mile to cross that finish line. On the other hand, it is just as important to know your limits and learn to take it easy when necessary – you wouldn’t use up all your stamina at the start of a race by sprinting. So if the training seems difficult, dial it back. Or if being a full-time student with a family and job seems impossible, consider finishing your degree on a part-time basis.
- Move at your own pace: Like finishing your degree, the time it takes you to graduation day does not matter; all that does matter is that you reached the finish line. You did it.
- Go the distance: An added benefit of marathons is that they are often held in a variety of locations, guiding you through routes that can be fun and exciting to experience for the first time. Likewise, completing your degree can advance your career, providing new opportunities and ventures you wouldn’t have been able to experience if not for that degree.
- Get rewarded: Be it a medal or diploma, there is always a reward waiting for you at the finish line. But, the personal reward is the greater one; you develop a sense of achievement and fulfillment. Just as you were inspired to run or study, you will inspire others to complete their own goals. And that’s a pretty amazing feeling.
Ultimately, you won’t finish a marathon or complete your degree unless you are motivated. With the right training, mentality and inspiration, you will get to that finish line; for our graduates this September, it will be poised right there above the commencement stage. Be it college or a marathon, understanding the expectations of any goal will only prepare you as you hit the ground running.
What other ways have you found a marathon and college to be similar? Share them in the comments!
Graduation at Thomas Edison State College
Studying at Thomas Edison State College
tips and advice