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Mount Wachusett Community College

Prior learning counts. Non-Traditional Pathways to Academic Success

recognizes that students may acquire

Contact & Campuses

college-level learning outside the traditional classroom. Such learning

Advising Center

includes on-the-job and independent

Tel: 978-630-9109 Fax: 978-630-9554 Email: Web:

learning, military service, volunteer or community service, corporate training, and other non-traditional routes. A study conducted by the Council of Adult and

Office of Admissions

Experiential Learning (CAEL) found that

Tel: 978-630-9110 Fax: 978-630-9554 Email: Web:

students who successfully earn academic

Financial Aid Office

certification1 . In keeping with the national

Tel: 978-630-9169 Fax: 978-630-9459 Email: Web:

model of Prior Learning Assessment, the

Student Accounts Office

and ePortfolio evaluation.

Tel: 978-630-9386 Fax: 978-630-9459 Email: Web: Gardner 444 Green Street Gardner, MA 01440 978-630-9110

credit for prior learning graduate faster with the requisite knowledge and skills applicable towards a college degree or

college has three viable pathways for students to pursue college credit: transfer credit evaluation, standardized exams,

Be professional. Prior learning Business


Non-Traditional Pathways to Academic Success


1. Colvin, J. (2012). Earn college credit for what you know. (5th ed.). Chicago: The Council for Adult & Experiential Learning. DOI: 2. Students who intend to transfer prior learning credit accepted at MWCC will need to have each course evaluated by the transferring institution with the exception of CLEP, DSST, and ACE evaluated military credit. 3. Students with disabilities receive reasonable accommodations but must present documentation the MWCC counselor for disabilities at least two weeks before testing so arrangements can be in place on the day of the test. * Prices are subject to change

One Jackson Place 27 Jackson Rd. Devens, MA 01434 978-630-9569 Leominster 100 Erdman Way Leominster, MA 01453 978-630-9810

We generate. Opportunity.

Fitchburg 275 Nichols Road Fitchburg, MA 01420 MC098-03 Rev:Apr13 978-630-9413 AA/EEO Institution MC114-03 Rev:June13

Start near. Go far.

Prior Learning Assessment Pathways Mount Wachusett Community College offers three Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) pathways for non-traditional and adult learners to earn college credit for prior learning experiences 2. PLA credit may be granted only in areas where MWCC offers coursework related to degree or certification programs (see college catalog). The options below should be carefully reviewed in advance with an academic advisor.

Evaluation of Transcripts for Professional Learning Transfer Credit

- Provide an official copy of all previous college transcripts with your Admissions

Application. The Admissions Office will review your transcript(s) and transfer credit into your MWCC degree program, if appropriate. Military personnel should also request an American Council on Education (ACE) for a Joint Services Transcript evaluation (see below). Individuals with professional certifications should also contact ACE at

Portfolio Evaluation ePortfolio Development Course – Students can enroll in an ePortfolio course where they create an electronic portfolio to document their knowledge and experiences. Students compile evidence they have mastered the content taught in courses offered at MWCC. Once completed, the portfolio is reviewed by appropriate MWCC faculty, and credit is granted based on faculty recommendation. The process includes three phases: » Compile: With the guidance of a MWCC Advisor and the course instructor, students review syllabi and determine if they have mastered the learning outcomes associated with the course(s). They then collect and digitize artifacts which demonstrate they have learned the course content through other endeavors. A complete portfolio will include a reflection in which the student articulates the connection between the artifacts and the learning

Military Credit - Active military personnel can receive up to 45 possible transfer credits towards their associate degree for prior learning. Inactive military personal can receive up to 30 possible transfer credits. An official copy of the Joint Services Transcripts or Community College of the Air Force transcript is required and can be accessed online at Send military transcripts for review to: Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, Attn: Kristine Larkin, Mount Wachusett Community College, 444 Green Street,

objectives. » Complete: Additional artifacts (such as resumes, letters of recommendation, and biographical sketches) are added to describe the context in which the student created the artifacts that are contained in the portfolio.

Gardner MA, 01440. Active military personnel can take the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and

» Submit: A faculty member or team from the appropriate discipline will evaluate a

DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) free of charge.

student’s portfolio to determine if the portfolio provides evidence that the student has the conceptual and theoretical knowledge expected of students who earn credit in the MWCC

Credit by Examination CLEP -


The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) allows students to choose from 33 introductory-level

college subject exams to demonstrate prior learning and field-based knowledge. Subjects include composition, literature, world language, history, social science, science, mathematics and business. There is no pre-requisite to attempt a CLEP exam, nor are there age restrictions or degree requirements. These exams are administered through Testing Services at the Gardner campus. Plan on 120 minutes to complete the exam. Test takers who have not achieved a satisfactory score on any CLEP exam can retake the same exam after a six month waiting

To enroll in the course, students first meet with an advisor to determine whether or not the ePortfolio course is a viable option. Students can earn up to nine credits of prior learning credit through the ePortfolio course. » For more information regarding prior learning options, contact the Advising Center to schedule an appointment at 978-630-9109

period. Study guides are available for the CLEP. On the day of the exam a non-refundable MWCC registration fee of $25 is payable to MWCC by cash or check only. A separate CLEP testing fee of $80* is also required. All fees are due on the day of the exam. Payment must be Visa or Master card, personal check or money order. Financial aid does not apply.


DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) are available to non-military and military candidates

looking for credit for a degree in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, General Studies or Human Services. Eligible military personnel include all active-duty members. A non-refundable MWCC registration fee of $25.00 is payable to MWCC by cash or check only and is paid on test date. A DSST testing fee of $80.00* is payable on the day of the test. Payment must be Visa or MasterCard, personal check, or debit card. Cash will not be

Gain credit for learning from experience

accepted. Financial aid does not apply.

Course Specific Challenge Exams -

Students may earn credit obtaining a grade of “C” (73%) or

better on course specific challenge examinations in a particular subject area developed and scored by college faculty. The examination is equivalent in scope and content to the final examination for the selected course. The cost of the challenge exam is dependent on the course. Not all MWCC courses offer challenge exams. Financial aid does not apply. » For more information, contact the Testing Services at 978-630-9244

“I was able to test and earn credits based on my prior knowledge and experience. It saved me both time and money and I would encourage other students to take the same step.” -Jon Pike

Non-traditional Pathways  
Non-traditional Pathways