The Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students at The New School values your life experience and the knowledge you've gained outside the classroom through jobs, independent study, or volunteer work. That's why we allow you to receive up to 30 college credits for college-level knowledge you've gained through life experience and for your foreign language skills. These credits can save you time and money - and give you a head start toward finishing your undergraduate degree.
See the answers to frequently asked questions below to learn how you can receive credit for your life experience.
The Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students awards credit for college-level learning comparable to the content of courses currently offered for credit at The New School: for liberal arts subjects such as literature, philosophy, religion, history, sociology, anthropology, political science, creative writing, and foreign languages; and for professional and studio/performance experience (not liberal arts) such as fine arts, music, theater, dance, film production, photography, journalism, computer science, counseling, and business.
A maximum of 6 credits can be awarded for experiential learning in any specific area of study. The maximum total number of credits any student could receive for multiple areas of study is 30. This includes credits awarded through language testing and portfolio assessment, as well as for any internships undertaken at The New School. The New School requires 120 credits for the bachelor's degree. At least 36 credits must come from courses you have taken as a matriculated student at The New School. No more than 84 credits may come from any combination of the following: 1) credits earned at other colleges and universities, 2) credits awarded through foreign language examination, and 3) credits awarded through prior learning portfolio assessment.
If you are considering applying for credit for prior learning, discuss the options with your faculty advisor first to coordinate your prior learning credits with your BA or BS program at The New School. The Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students will then review your transcripts in order to determine the maximum number of credits that you could receive through a prior learning assessment. Keep in mind that any credits earned through portfolio evaluation will be assigned as "liberal arts" and "non-liberal arts" credits according to the credit distribution requirements of your degree program (BA or BS).
The first step is to take the Workshop on Credit for Prior Learning. This one-credit workshop is offered every fall and spring semester. The workshop is open to students who have significant prior experience in appropriate subject areas, are in good academic standing, and have transferred 60 or more credits into the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students or have earned at least 12 credits as matriculated students at The New School. Permission from the Prior Learning Coordinator is required to register for the workshop.
In the workshop, you'll learn how to compile the required portfolio, which consists of a narrative essay describing your previous experience in the context of your academic and professional goals; a learning assessment for each prior learning area, including the title as it will appear on the transcript, the number of credits you are requesting (from 1 to a maximum of 6 for each area of study), a description of the setting of your prior learning and of your role and responsibilities; a summary of skills and knowledge you acquired and the relevance of the experience; and appropriate documentation to substantiate and verify the learning for which credit is requested. By the end of the workshop, you should have a draft portfolio on which you can continue to work after the end of the workshop. Successful completion of the workshop and award of the credit is determined by your attendance and progress in compiling a portfolio.
During the following fall or spring semester (or any subsequent semester), you submit your completed portfolio(s) to the Prior Learning Coordinator, who assigns each portfolio for evaluation to an instructor with expertise in the field for which credit is requested. In some cases, in addition to reviewing the portfolio, the evaluator may ask a student to take an oral examination or demonstrate understanding of the portfolio contents in some other way. The evaluator assesses the quality of learning and recommends the number of credits to be awarded (which could be fewer than you requested). Credit is entered on the transcript at the end of the semester during which the portfolio is assessed. The entry includes the title of the learning area and the number of credits. No letter grades are awarded for prior learning.
Every person's experience is distinct, and the portfolio process allows you to package your specific set of skills. Submitted portfolios range from business management to ballet technique. Some recent examples are listed below, but the list is merely representative of the possibilities.
Tuition for the Prior Learning Workshop is charged at the regular tuition rate for 1 credit. For the semester in which you submit your portfolio(s) for evaluation, you register for the number of portfolios you are submitting and are charged a flat assessment fee of $600 for each portfolio (regardless of the total number of credits you seek).
The New School prefers the portfolio process for assessing prior learning because a portfolio can be developed on the basis of each student's personal experiences. We rarely award credits for examinations, such as those offered by the College Board (CLEP). The main exception to this policy is that students with ability in a foreign language can receive up to 16 prior-learning credits by passing an examination offered by New York University. Visit the NYU Proficiency webpage for a list of languages tested, fees, and examination schedules, and to download an application form for Credit for Prior Learning for Knowledge of Foreign Language. Before taking any prior-learning examination, you must obtain approval from the Prior Learning Coordinator at The New School.
If you are currently enrolled in the Bachelor's Program for Adults and Transfer Students, call 212.229.5119 for more information about earning credit by foreign language testing. If you are a prospective student, speak to an admission counselor.
If you'd like to find out more about earning credit for life experience, an admission counselor would be happy to help. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The New School has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1960. For more information, visit
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