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People learn in many different ways throughout their lives. Social and technical skills can develop both at work and at home. Volunteering, being involved in the arts, sports or even travel all contribute towards learning. But many people have no documentation to prove their knowledge and skills.
Prior learning assessments and recognition (PLAR) is a process that helps people show and get credit for learning that comes from outside a formal education setting.
Many colleges and universities use written tests to assess an applicant's prior learning. This helps put learners at the right level within educational programs so students don’t have to study things they already know. It also helps learners make clear educational goals and plans.
The following resources will help you get a better understanding of prior learning assessment and recognition and where to find more information about getting assessed.
Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials
This is a list of agencies that provide credential evaluation, assessment and qualification recognition services.
Independent Learning Centre – High School Diplomas
Students may have their knowledge and skills evaluated in order to earn credits towards the Ontario secondary school diploma.
World Education Services (WES)
This organization evaluates academic credentials earned abroad, helping foreign-trained people pursue further education or professional advancement in Canada. WES can assess documents and give the Ontario equivalent of each certificate, diploma or degree.
Note: Prior learning assessment & recognition will be referred to as “PLAR”
Algoma University PLAR
In order to receive credit for prior learning, students are required to demonstrate how the skills and knowledge acquired applies to their degree program.
Algonquin College PLAR
Prior learning can be demonstrated through challenge exams or the portfolio process.
Cambrian College PLAR
Subject-expert faculty in the College who have had recent experience in teaching the relevant course(s) will evaluate the prior learning. You will be expected to demonstrate learning that is equivalent to the basic learning outcomes required to pass the course.
Centennial College - PLAR and Transfer Credits (PDF)
The maximum credit allowed through PLAR is 75% of program credits. At least 25% of the program credits must be taken at Centennial College.
Conestoga College – Testing and Assessments
Prior learning must be measurable at the college level and specific standards of achievement for current courses. Evaluation is done through a challenge exam or portfolio development.
Confederation College PLAR
Candidates are permitted to obtain a maximum of 75% of credits in a program through prior learning assessment and recognition and/or transfer credits.
Durham College Prior Learning Assessments Procedure (PDF)
Candidates must complete a PLAR Registration form, PLAR Policies and Procedures form and pay a non-refundable fee.
Fanshawe College PLAR
You may have your prior learning assessed before entering a college program. However, the results of the assessment will not be recorded on your transcript until you are enrolled in a course or program.
Fleming College PLAR
You can demonstrate your learning in a variety of ways including interviews, demonstrations, simulations, product assessment, challenge exams, and portfolio-assisted assessments.
George Brown College PLAR
To assess your learning, you may be tested with written or oral exams, interviews, or case studies or assessed through a portfolio of your work that shows your skills.
Georgian College PLAR
A course is challenged using PLAR based on life and work experience gained through one or more of the following: employment, training programs, non-credit courses, travel, volunteer and community work or special skills and interests.
Humber College PLAR
Credit is not awarded for experience, but for verifiable learning that occurred as a result of that experience. The learning must be at College level and contain a balance of theory and practice, and be equivalent to the course being taught.
Lambton College PLAR Policy (PDF)
A student requesting PLAR does not need to be enrolled in a College program, but must demonstrate that through life experience, non‐formal study, or work and training experience that they have the background to undertake PLAR.
Loyalist College PLAR
Applicants with work experiences or other types of non-credentialed learning may be eligible for credits at Loyalist. Graded credits (as opposed to exemptions) are granted.
Mohawk College PLAR
You may be able to complete a college certificate or diploma program by combining prior learning with the acquisition of new knowledge and skills in a program suited to your needs and interests.
Niagara College PLAR
Candidates who can show that they have achieved the learning outcomes of a specific course may be granted Niagara College credits based on an assessment of their prior learning.
Northern College Prior Learning Assessment
Students applying for PLA should contact Student Services who will direct them to the campus-designated PLA staff member.
OCAD University PLAR
At OCAD University, Prior Learning Assessment describes three broad categories: advanced standing, transfer credit, and course challenge.
Seneca College Prior Learning Assessment
If you can demonstrate that the knowledge you have gained meets the outcomes of a Seneca subject, credit will be awarded.
Sheridan College PLAR
A student may apply for PLAR when mastery of the learning outcomes of a Sheridan course can be clearly demonstrated through the assessment of a portfolio and/or by means of a challenge process.
St. Lawrence College PLAR Package (PDF)
The PLAR process at St. Lawrence is designed to assist adult learners in identifying, describing, and demonstrating past learning which may be eligible for advanced standing or course credits towards the certificate or diploma of their choice.
University of Guelph PLAR
Each academic department is responsible for determining which of its courses may be subject to PLA challenge.
University of Ottawa PLAR Handbook (PDF)
This handbook explains the PLAR procedure and includes the required form.
University of Toronto PLA Procedure and Application Form (PDF)
An application for advanced standing may be based on one or both of the following assessment categories, with the exception of courses in the Languages and Arts programs.