Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

You may be eligible for advanced standing or course credits from your previous education and learning, either in school or through work experience.

Through the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) program, we'll help you assess that learning to determine your eligibility.

Recognition for learning acquired outside the classroom

St. Lawrence College recognizes that college-level learning may be acquired through employment, volunteer activities, self-directed study, travel, or other life experiences. The PLAR program recognizes military on-the-job training programs as prior learning.

PLAR credits are awarded for demonstrated learning, not just from various experiences. To be eligible for credit, the learning achieved must be applicable to the courses offered in your chosen program at St. Lawrence College.

PLAR is not credit transfer

PLAR is separate from credit transfer. Credits transferred from colleges or universities in full or in part with prior learning combinations do not qualify for the PLAR program.

Applying to PLAR

You must be 19 years of age or older, or a high school graduate with prior learning that can be demonstrated, and is related to your chosen program at SLC.

Fees (effective September 1, 2019): Approximately $122.28 for each course application request­ing PLAR credit, generally higher for work place­ment/clinical experience.

How to apply for PLAR

  1. Contact the PLAR Advisor listed below
  2. Review the PLAR Student Checklist
  3. Get the PLAR Package
  4. Complete the PLAR Application Form

Instructions for the PLAR Form

  1. Download the PLAR Student Checklist and complete the first seven items.
  2. Have your Program Coordinator email once they have reviewed and approved PLAR eligibility.
  3. Complete the online PLAR application form, then print and sign it. Scan and email the completed form to
  4. The PLAR Advisor will check your application, sign it if approved, and return it to you. You can then pay the fees per course. Return the form with your receipt to the PLAR Advisor.
  5. The PLAR Advisor will inform you of your assessor.

Frequently Asked Questions

You must be 19 years of age or older or have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent. If English is your second language, you'll have to meet language requirements at the level required for admission to the College. This may require a language competency test. Other eligibility requirements will depend on the course(s) for which you are seeking PLAR.

You must also ensure that you HAVE NOT:

  • Registered in or audited the course you want to PLAR in the previous ten months
  • Failed the course in the previous two academic years
  • Previously attempted to PLAR the course
  • Misrepresented your performance in a college course to obtain marks or recognition

Prior learning can be demonstrated through a challenge or portfolio process. The process is determined through consultation with St. Lawrence College’s PLAR Advisor and the appropriate program coordinator, dean, and or faculty. Using course-based learning outcomes, you can compare them to your learning achievements through a formal process.

The challenge process measures your prior learning experience against the specific learning outcomes of an individual course. This can be achieved through methods such as:

  • Tests, both written and oral
  • Performance activities observed and evaluated by the assessor, including presentations, demonstrations, etc.
  • Product development specifically assigned by the assessor, including case studies, reports, etc.

Challenging a course may be the only option to measure your prior learning when a portfolio would not be possible or appropriate. Challenge activities may be required for courses that are mostly theory-based, such as Nursing Theory. Challenge activities may also be the only option to assess your prior learning when you don't have enough supporting documentation to complete a portfolio.

The portfolio process helps you assemble a learning portfolio used as part of the assessment and recognition of your learning experiences outside the classroom.

A learning portfolio is an organized collection of materials developed by you that records prior learning achievements and relates them to college courses' learning outcomes. It describes the relevant experience, identifies and analyzes learning achievements, and provides validation or proof through a collection of documents. What you include in your portfolio depends on the subject area's particular requirements, as outlined by the faculty involved.

The first step when seeking assistance with a PLAR application is to contact the PLAR Advisor. They will be the main resource that can assist you during the application process and offer guidance. The PLAR Advisor can be reached by email at

You will be charged a fee for each PLAR course assessment. The fee is subject to change, as directed by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Please contact the PLAR Advisor to confirm the current fee.

There is no guarantee that you'll obtain credit through PLAR. However, the PLAR Advisor and appropriate program coordinator will help you pre-determine your chances of success. It is important to weigh the benefits against the risks.

Please note that PLAR fees are not reimbursed in the event of an unsuccessful challenge.

It is possible to achieve a maximum of 75% of a college program through the PLAR process. The number of credits you earn depends upon the nature and extent of your learning and program type. Therefore, a minimum of 25% of the total program courses must be achieved under St. Lawrence College faculty's direct supervision. Please be aware that some programs have other residency restrictions related to licensing and credentials.

Candidates may appeal the assessment result. To do so, you must contact the PLAR Advisor within 10 working days of the results' notification.

It can. If you do enough recognition of prior learning (i.e., Credit Transfer and PLAR) that your status drops from full-time to part-time, your eligibility for residency, OSAP, and bursaries could be impacted. Contact financial aid or your funding organization(s) to determine their specific requirements.

Contact Information

To begin the PLAR process and open the door to advanced standing in a college program, please contact:

Kingston: 613.544.5400 ext. 1423
Brockville: 613.345.0660 ext. 1423
Cornwall: 613.933.6080 ext. 1423