Assessment of Prior Learning

Receive college credit for your life and work experience

The Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) Program at Three Rivers Community College is a process by which you may receive college credit for learning achieved as a result of your life and work experience. You can receive up to 30 credits through this evaluation that can be applied toward an Associate Degree at Three Rivers.

Whether or not you have taken college courses, whether you are a veteran, an administrative assistant, a sales person, a day care provider, a homemaker, or a volunteer fund-raiser, 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.

Is APL for you?

The most successful candidates typically have over 5 years of experience outside of the classroom.

An easy way to ascertain if your non-traditional learning could translate to college credit 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 or someone such as a prior supervisor or instructor?
  • Can your learning be related to other learning from similar areas of study?

If your answers to the above questions are 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) which is Financial Aid and Veterans Benefits eligible. This course guides you through the process of identifying areas of study and courses in which to apply your college-level learning. You will develop a portfolio which documents 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 Catalog to match your non-traditional learning with the courses. You can search by subject area or enter a skill/keyword in the search field to explore various courses.

Enrollment Requirements

  • Demonstrate college-level English readiness by either:
    • Placing into Composition (ENG* K101) or
    • Completing Intro to College English (ENG* K096) with a ‘C#’ grade or higher
  • Attend an Information Session
    • Information Sessions are currently being held remotely. Please contact the APL Program Coordinator, Amanda Caffary, at to schedule an appointment.
  • Be familiar with Microsoft Word (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 the following testing options (Contact the Testing Center on 860.215.9061 or

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

Learn more about these tests on our Testing page.


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