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School of Professional Studies | Experiential Learning FAQ

Experiential Learning Frequently Asked Questions

What is Prior Learning Assessment?
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) refers to a variety of means for receiving credit for education that has taken place outside the traditional classroom setting. TELL is one example of PLA. Others include the CLEP and DANTES exams and ACE credits.

Trinity allows students to apply up to 30 Prior Learning Assessment credits toward their degree. This can include a combination of TELL, CLEP, DANTES, and ACE credits.  Any prior learning credits awarded must also be in addition to the minimum 45 Trinity credits required for a degree.  Students must also meet all CORE and major requirements. Some of these can be met through prior learning assessment.

What is TELL?
TELL, the Trinity Experiential Lifelong Learning program, enables students to apply for credit for prior learning by putting together a portfolio of essays demonstrating knowledge equivalent to 200-level college courses. Students write their essays as part of a portfolio development course (known as the TELL Seminar) that carries 3 credits.

What is CLEP?
CLEP is the College Level Examination Program. It is a series of standardized tests that allows students to earn lower-level course credit. CLEP offers General and Subject Matter exams.

The General Exams include English Composition, Mathematics, Social Sciences and History, Humanities, and Natural Sciences. The Subject Exams are more specific (American History I: Early Colonizations to 1877, College Spanish I and II, Introductory Accounting, etc.).

These exams can be taken at University of Maryland, College Park and Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria Campus. Fees vary by site, but are generally around $100.00 to $150.00 per exam. The College Board publishes study guides for CLEP exams.

CLEP brochures are available at Trinity’s School of Professional Studies, Main 250.

Questions about School of Professional Studies CLEP policies?

You may contact the School of Professional Studies at (202) 884-9620 and your advisor will assist you.

Where can I register for CLEP examinations?

University of Maryland provides CLEP examinations, click on this link to visit the site:  CLEP Examinations at the University of Maryland.  This website provides all the information you will need to identify the specific CLEP test in which youare interested, determine available testing appointment times, locate information about parking and the building location, and similar information. Students with questions about CLEP testing at the University of Maryland  may call the UMCP Testing Office at (301) 314-7688.

 Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Alexandria Campus provides CLEP examinations, click on this link to visit the site:  CLEP Examinations at NOVA.  This website provides all the information you will need to identify the specific CLEP test in which youare interested, determine available testing appointment times, locate information about parking and the building location, and similar information. Students with questions about CLEP testing at NOVA may call the Workforce Development Office at (703) 845-6280.

What is DANTES?
DANTES stands for Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support. It is a series of exams much like the CLEP exams. These tests were originally designed for the Department of Defense and have been
used for many years by military personnel.

What is ACE?
ACE is the American Council on Education, or the College Credit Recommendation service. This organization has established policies that are followed by most colleges and universities in the U.S. ACE has evaluated courses offered by many large corporations, government agencies and the military, and recommends college credits for some of these courses. If you have taken training courses through your employer and have documentation for them, you can have them evaluated for credit by ACE for a $25 initial assessment fee and an additional $5 fee for official transcripts. Trinity may accept some of these credits (ACE: 202/939-9434).

Reminder: You may apply no more than 30 prior learning credits toward your degree and must meet all CORE and major requirements. Policies vary by department, so check with your Academic Advisor before proceeding with TELL or any examination program. It is especially important to guard against earning duplicate credits for courses that may be very similar.  Additionally, Experiential LEarning Credits do not fulfill residency requirements and may not be taken in your final three (3) semesters.


Connect with Trinity:

Contact the School of Professional Studies at 202-884-9620 or by fax at 202-884-9632.
Interested in attending Trinity? Please visit our Office of Admissions.

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