Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is the difference between a life-learning essay and a professional training submission?

Generally, an essay focuses on an experience a student has had: personal, professional, familial.  Credit is based on the learning outcomes articulated by the student.  A professional training submission consists of structured classes and/or seminars that are not officially transcripted by a college. The typical setting might be a proprietary school, a business, a church, or a training required by insurance or social service workers.  Credit is based on the content of the course.

What should I put for "Recommended department" on the cover sheet?

The enrollment manager who processes your submission will look through the content and decide to which evaluator the submission should go.  If you feel that the submission falls under a specific category, i.e. “Business” or “Religion,” feel free to put that category.  Otherwise, leaving it blank is fine.

Who evaluates my submission?

George Fox University professors from the Newberg and Portland campuses who are experts in their given fields evaluate your submissions.

How many credits is it possible to receive through PLA?

You can receive up to 30 elective credits through this process.

Do I really get the credits from essays/training for free?

If you have taken the Personal and Professional Assessment (PPA) class at George Fox University (3 credits) and passed it with a C- or above, you may submit both essays and trainings for no additional cost.

What if I haven’t taken the PPA course?

If you have not taken the PPA course, you may not submit essays.  You may submit professional trainings, and you will be charged $75 per credit hour earned.

Will I be charged for credits that I don't need?

If you have not taken the PPA course and submit professional trainings, you will not be charged for more credits than you need.  We charge by 0.5 of a credit, so we will round your needed electives to the nearest 0.5.

How long will it take to hear if I earn any credits?

The process is at most six weeks long.  Your submissions will be sent to an evaluator within two weeks of the office receiving them.  The evaluator then has two weeks to evaluate the submissions.  Once the evaluated submissions have been returned, your credit award will be posted within five business days.

How will I know if I have received credits?

Your enrollment counselor will inform you when credits have been posted.  Otherwise, you can see them on your unofficial transcript, in the left-hand column under “Other Credits.”

Life-Learning Essay Questions

How do you format a life-learning essay?

All essays should be written in the Kolb/Fry model, as demonstrated in the PPA course, and in APA citation format.  Each submission should include documentation and a cover sheet. Please review the Prior Learning Credit Guide, which can be found here.

What kinds of documentation can be used for essays?

Examples of documentation include a copy of a marriage certificate, newspaper clipping, photograph, letter from another person involved in the experience, etc.

How many credits can I expect to receive from my essays?

It depends on the subject and your articulation of learning, but a typical award is from 1 to 3 credits per essay.

How realistic is it that I will get any credits for my essays?

Essay credits are based on the learning communicated through the submission.  Credit is not granted for the experience itself; rather, the evaluator looks at the learning outcomes and application of learning to make sure it is complete and college-level.  Occasionally, an evaluator will return an essay for a rewrite.  At that point, the student may decide how to proceed.

If an evaluator asks for a rewrite, what do I have to do?

Revise your essay according to the evaluator’s comments.  Then submit a new cover sheet with the word “REWRITE” in your title.  The enrollment manager will then send your original essay and the rewrite together to the evaluator.

Can you have essays on similar topics (i.e. Divorce versus Abusive Marriage)?

Be very careful.  No double-dipping on experiences!  Make sure learning outcomes and application of learning are very distinct and not repeated.  The enrollment manager and prior-learning coordinator reserve the right to return submissions if they are too similar in content.

Professional Training Questions

What is needed to submit professional trainings?

In order to be evaluated, professional trainings need to have
a) documentation of seat hours (how long you actually sat in training);
b) a syllabus or table of contents (to show depth of learning and course content);
c) verification of completion (a certificate or letter); and
d) a cover sheet.
Please see the Prior Learning Credit Guide for more detailed information.

What about trainings that took place over a period of months, say one session a month or something similar?

Please provide documentation for all of the dates and hours you attended the training session.

What if I do not have all of the necessary documentation?

In order to give academic credit for prior learning, we need significant documentation. In some cases a letter from the organizing agency will suffice, but all of the above categories need to be fulfilled.  If you have specific questions about your trainings, please contact the enrollment manager.

How do I get certificates if the company I worked for (or where I took training) is no longer in business OR it was so long ago I don't know who to contact?

We need some sort of documentation of completion.  If you do not have anything that will suffice, then perhaps another training or experience would be a better avenue for credits.

How long does the training need to be in order to qualify for evaluation?

Trainings need to be at least eight hours in length to be evaluated.  If you have shorter submissions that consist of similar subject matter, they can be combined into one submission.  Each needs to have the necessary documentation.

What if I took my training online?

Many online trainings have a suggested CEU amount, which can be used to calculate seat hours.  Others have a transcript of sorts that reflects an approximate seat hours.  Otherwise, estimate but make sure you have significant course documentation and verification for your hour claim.

How much credit will I get for professional training?

Credit awards for professional training vary depending on the content of the training and the depth of the content.  A basic rule is that 15 to 30 hours of classroom instruction usually equal 1 semester hour of academic credit, depending on apparent course content and amount of study and learning activity involved.

If you have additional questions…

Please contact the enrollment manager for the Department of Professional Studies at 503.554.6102 or