Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Learn more about NLU's Prior Learning Assessment program here

Prior Learning Assessment

Prior Learning Assessment


Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

At National Louis University, your personal and professional experience and knowledge can be worth college credit. Colleges and universities often refer to this knowledge as prior learning. NLU's Prior Learning Assessment office offers several programs for students to demonstrate prior college-level learning including; Credit by Portfolio (options 1, 2 and 3), Credit by Examination, Credit by Licenses and Certifications.

Credit by Portfolio - Option 1

ACL301 - Perspectives on Prior Learning: This 2QH course provides a structured experience in which students learn to recognize, document, and validate learning from life and work experiences for potential college credit.  Throughout this course, students are offered group and individual assistance in the development of a portfolio documenting their prior learning experiences and evidence of achievement of specific learning outcomes. This cours is offered on a quarterly basis, both online and at various site locations.  Undergraduate students enrolled in the BSM, BSMIS, ABS, HCL, Human Services,  Criminal Justice and Communication programs are currently eligible to take this course. 

Student learning outcomes are assessed and credit awarded throught the institution's standard, dual independent, faculty evaluation process. Submission and assessment of one Portfolio is included in ACL301 tuition. 

Credit by Portfolio - Options 2 and 3

Beginning fall term 2015, students in the following undergraduate programs may also elect portfolio Options 2 or 3.  Students may currently seek prior learning credit in the following programs: BA Communication, BSM and BA Criminal Justice.

Options 2: PLA Facilitator
An NLU-appointed facilitator provides students with a one-on-one experience through which they will be coached and guided in assembling their portfolio of evidentiary artifacts for award of credit. 

Option 3: Self-Submission The self-submission option is for NLU students who wish to create their own portfolio without guided assistance, other than the services available to all NLU students (i.e., the online writing center, library support staff, etc.). Option 3 is not recommended for students who have not already submitted a portfolio via Options 1 or 2.  It is important to note here that if the student's self-submission fails to achieve the minimum performance level to be awarded credit, the student may elect to resubmit only after completing Option 1 or Option 2.      

For more information, please contact, or call 1-630-874-4319. 


Credit by Examination

NLU awards credit to students who achieve acceptable scores on standardized tests such as College Board's College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSSTs). Tests measure learning in a variety of academic disciplines. The CLEP and DANTES testing hotline is 800.443.5522 x4316. Test schedules and registration information can be found on the upper right side of this website.

Credit by Licenses and Certifications

A list of faculty approved, nationally recognized licenses and certifications is available upon request. For more information, please contact 800.443.5522 x4320.


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
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    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
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    (800) 366.6581
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    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
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    (414) 577.2658
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