Experiential essay credit conversion

Your professional and life experience could help you earn one to three credits that can apply toward an associate or bachelor’s degree. To receive credit through the experiential essay program, your submission must follow specific guidelines and be approved by the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) department.

If you’d like to know more about the process of submitting an essay, please review the experiential essays page.

An experiential essay specialist from the PLA department carefully reviews each submission. In addition to making sure that all of the required information is submitted and in the format requested, the specialist evaluates the essay to determine if you have proven experiential learning in the essay.

What determines how many credits I receive?

An experiential essay can earn you one, two or three credits toward an associate or bachelor’s degree. The experiential learning essay topic must be from our approved list, include two, four or six subtopics, and meet a specified word count.

For instance, if your essay is 3,000–4, 500 words and includes six subtopics, it will be eligible to receive three credits. See the table below for credit requirements.

Essay credit conversion table

Credit amount Word count Number of subtopics
Original 3-credit essay 3,000–4,500 words All 6 subtopics required
Convert to a 2-credit essay 2,000–3,000 words Choose only 4 subtopics
Convert to a 1-credit essay 1,000–2,000 words Choose only 2 subtopics

Note: If an essay doesn’t meet the standards established by PLA, it may not receive credit.

Download the one-credit essay template
Download the two-credit essay template
Download the three-credit essay template

How essays receive credit

In order to receive credit, each essay must demonstrate the elements of Kolb’s experiential learning model:

  1. Concrete experience
  2. Reflective observation
  3. Abstract conceptualization (generalization)
  4. Active experimentation (testing and application)

For a comprehensive explanation of these requirements and how to apply them, please review Kolb’s experiential learning model. You can also review a sample essay that has received credit.

Your explanation of each of these subtopics will help determine how many credits you will receive for your essay. The experiential essay specialist may apply full, partial or no credit. You’ll receive an email that informs you of the outcome of your experiential essay submission.

Do I have options if my essay is denied credit?

You may rewrite and resubmit a denied essay to the PLA department once at no additional charge.

If your essay is denied credit following a rewrite and resubmission of your original essay, you can submit a credit challenge letter. This letter should address why you deserve credit for the essay and provide supportive information to substantiate your claim.

Email your letter to plac@phoenix.edu within six weeks of receiving your denial. You will receive notification by email about the status of your challenge.

Your future begins here

Related Links