Experiential learning may be acquired in connection with careers, community, family, travel, military service or non-college-sponsored educational opportunities. The following list of criteria defines acceptable prior learning.

  1. Prior learning must be related to students' educational goals.
  2. A competence must have a subject area in which theoretical and practical elements can be identified and verified.
  3. Recognition for prior learning does not encompass experience alone.
  4. Prior learning outcomes must be current.
  5. Prior learning must have a general applicability outside the specific situation in which it was acquired.
  6. Prior learning must be publicly verifiable.
  7. Prior learning must be independent from credits previously transcripted at other institutions of higher education.
  8. Prior learning should be college level.
    To determine whether prior learning experiences are equivalent to learning results associated with colleges or universities, use the following techniques:
    • relate prior learning to subject areas taught in colleges and universities;
    • compare prior learning to individual courses listed in college or university catalogs;
    • compare learning to individuals or groups who have completed college-level studies in the identified subject area; and
    • determine if the learning is uniquely distinguished from learning that everyone gains through common life experiences.

Students are encouraged to discuss their prior learning experiences with their advisors to obtain advice on the appropriateness of any prior competence they plan to have assessed.

Certain prior and future competences fall into categories for which Metropolitan State has established uniform rules of evidence gathering and measurement techniques. For example, students with a prior competence in public speaking are advised to attend the Public Speaking Proficiency Test Assessment. Other standardized tests and workshops to assess competences have been established in subject fields. Also, the university has constructed a number of pre-tests or screening devices, including theory seminars, for students who wish to demonstrate prior learning competences in certain areas. These assessment tools enable students to run a preliminary check on the appropriateness of their prior learning within Metropolitan State standards.