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Life Experience Program (earn up to 12 credits)

Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education
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Life Experience Program (earn up to 12 credits)

Life Experience programs are available at most accredited traditional and online colleges. In this program, students identify courses at City College that are likely to be equivalent to professional/work experience they have acquired in the past. For example, a student who has run a home day care as a profession may qualify for credit for a child development course; likewise, a student with many years in the business world may find that s/he has already met most of course learning outcomes for a business management class currently offered at City College.

Once an appropriate course is identified, students enroll in a noncredit-bearing online workshop that guides them in developing a portfolio that showcases their learning. Once the portfolio is complete, it is submitted to outside evaluators who determine whether the student has mastered the content that was covered in the course. If the portfolio is approved, the student earns four (4) credits (per portfolio/course submitted). Under this program, students may submit (3) portfolios for a total of 12 credits—a semester of college—tuition-free!

In order to earn credits successfully in the Life Experience Program students must:

  1. Have previous life experience and/or learning that is equivalent to college-level course work
  2. Identify appropriate courses for the petition(s) that are aligned with the student’s experience/learning background
  3. Discuss the program with his/her advisor by completing the attached intake form before submitting it to the ABLE committee and obtaining permission to enroll in the BB course
  4. Enroll in the self –directed Blackboard LEP workshop for free.
  5. Submit the completed portfolio through the Blackboard course site for approval prior to its being assigned to an evaluator

If the portfolio is deemed to be successful by the evaluator, the student will be awarded the appropriate number of credits (4 credits per portfolio/course petitioned). The credits will be notated on the student’s transcript as “Life Experience Credits” and will be counted toward the student’s graduation requirement.

Students are often curious about the typical LEP portfolio requirements.  As the portfolio is an individual project, the scope and content will vary significantly for each student. However, most portfolios are 30-45 pages in total and include the 1) syllabus for the course for which the student is petitioning credit 2) a resume 3) an essay detailing the student’s prior professional experience 4) a detailed table

including the learning outcomes for the course being petitioned for credit as well as a description of the ways in which the student met those learning outcomes through his /her prior experience and 5) documentation of the student’s experience and learning. Documentation can take many forms but may include any of the following:

  • Awards
  • Statements from employers, supervisors, teachers, trainers, and clients
  • Diploma/topic list from a certificate program
  • Job and/or work description
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Promotion evaluations
  • Samples of work
  • Explanation of tasks performed
  • Performance standards for acquiring license
  • Membership requirements for professional/trade organizations
  • Military records
  • Newspaper and magazine clippings
  • Video and audiotapes

It is important to remember that participating students will have feedback from the Blackboard workshop when developing the LEP portfolio. Credit for the portfolio is dependent upon the quality of its contents and the evaluators’ assessments—accordingly, completion of the workshop or of a portfolio is not a guarantee of credits.

Please review the descriptions our program. If you are interested in learning more about our alternative credit programs, please complete the intake forms and meet with your advisor or attend an information session. You can also email members of the ABLE committee at ABLE@.cwe.cuny.edu for more information.

Click here to download LEP Program information.