Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

PLAR FAQs

General

What is the difference between PLAR and Transfer Credit?

Transfer credit involves the assessment of any of your potential formal learning from other recognized post-secondary institutions.

PLAR involves the assessment by the PLAR Department of learning that you have gained through work and life experience or from non-recognized institutions.

How do I know if I'm a good PLAR candidate?

Please see the PLAR home page.

What is the maximum number of credits I can get through PLAR?

The maximum number depends on the program of study and any transfer credit you may have received. Please check with a PLAR Advisor at plar_ol@tru.ca.

When can I submit a Knowledge Resumé to have my PLAR potential assessed?

You can submit a Knowledge Resumé at any time, provided that you are enrolled in a TRU-OL program (certificate, diploma or degree) and have a completed Program Plan. However, we suggest that you consider PLAR as soon as you receive your Program Plan so you can avoid registering in courses for which you might attain PLAR credit.

Will PLAR credits be accepted by other universities?

Please be aware that credit earned through the PLAR process may or may not be acceptable to certain other post-secondary or institutions. Contact the receiving institution.

Will PLAR credits count toward my GPA?

No, PLAR credits do not count toward your GPA. If you are awarded PLAR credits, you will receive the letter grade "S" for Satisfactory.

How much does PLAR assessment cost?

PLAR assessment fees vary, depending on the method of assessment. Please see the PLAR Fees page or contact a PLAR Advisor.

Do I receive a tax receipt for the PLAR fee?

Yes, tax receipts (T2202A forms) for the previous calendar year can be accessed and printed from your mytru account.

Can I apply for financial assistance to pay for PLAR?

No, PLAR is not eligible for student loans, grants or bursaries.

What are the main steps in the PLAR assessment process?

Please see the PLAR Process page.

What is the Credit Bank?

The Credit Bank allows you to receive credit for pre-assessed training from selected employers, private training organizations, professional associations, or non-credit Continuing Studies programs toward a TRU-OL program. Please see the Credit Bank page.

How do I know if I am eligible to apply for credit through the Credit Bank?

Please see the Credit Bank page and contact a PLAR Advisor at plar_ol@tru.ca to find out if you are eligible for PLAR credits through the Credit Bank for training from your employer, non-credit continuing studies or a professional association. 

What is the cost for Credit Bank PLAR assessment?

Fees vary. Please contact a PLAR Advisor at plar_ol@tru.ca.

Challenge Exam

What is a challenge exam?

A a challenge exam is a possible option for earning credit earning credit for a course without either registering in it or completing the graded assignments. Challenge exam credit is earned by writing and successfully completing a standard exam for a course that is approved by your Program Advisor.

Are all TRU-OL courses available for challenge exam credit?

No. Please contact a PLAR advisor at  plar_ol@tru.ca regarding the course for you wish to take a challenge exam. 

How much is the PLAR fee for challenge exams credit?

Please see the PLAR Fees page.

When must I pay the PLAR fee for a challenge exam?

The PLAR fee is only paid after the PLAR Department has confirmed that a challenge exam is available and you are likely to succeed.

What is the process for a challenge exam?

Please see the PLAR Process page.

Competency-Based Portfolio

What is a Competency-based Portfolio?

A Competency-based Portfolio can result in you earning PLAR Applied Studies credits, used toward the unspecified elective requirements in your program. This type of portfolio is a demonstration of students’ broader learning background and is based on the assessment of eight critical competencies such as Problem Solving, Critical Thinking and Communication.

Portfolio-based Credit is earned by submitting a portfolio that documents learning you have gained from work and other life experience.

What is included in a Competency-based Portfolio?

The Competency-based Portfolio is based on the assessment of eight critical competencies such as Problem Solving, Critical Thinking and Communication. Students provide supporting evidence and demonstrate that they have acquired these skills through work and other life experience. Students will also be interviewed by two PLAR assessors regarding the documented learning.

How does the work involved in preparing a Competency-based Portfolio compare to earning the same amount of credits by actually taking courses?

Reports from successful PLAR candidates indicate that the PLAR process is quicker than earning the equivalent amount of credit through doing course readings, assignments and exams. The amount of work involved in preparing a good portfolio will depend on how much experiential learning students have and how skillful they are at describing and documenting it.

How many credits can I earn from a Competency-based Portfolio?

The credit awards given to individuals have ranged from 3 credits to 75 credits. The most typical award has been 15 credits. The number of credits you will actually be awarded will depend on how much opportunity you have had to learn from work and life experience, your ability to describe that learning in a clear and organized way, and how many PLAR Applied Studies credits (applied to unspecified electives) are allowable in your program.

How much time do I have to complete my Competency-based Portfolio?

A maximum of 24 weeks, after application and payment of the PLAR fee. The assessment process takes approximately 4-6 weeks.

What help can I get in preparing my Competency-based Portfolio?

If you are recommended to create a Competency-based Portfolio and have paid the PLAR fee, you will receive access to the PLAR site that offers templates, samples and instructions. Though portfolio creation is largely an independent endeavor, the PLAR Advisors also provide information and limited coaching to students.

How much is the PLAR assessment cost for a Competency-based Portfolio?

$750 flat fee, regardless of the amount of credits awarded.

Should the PLAR Committee recommend I petition for PLAR credits by creating both a Competency-based portfolio and a Course-based portfolio(s), how much is the PLAR assessment cost?

$750 flat fee (Competency-based Portfolio) + $36 per credit awarded (Course-based Portfolios) – the initial $520 portion of the Course-based Portfolio fee would be waived.

When do I have to pay the PLAR assessment fee for a Competency-based Portfolio?

The PLAR fee is only paid after your Knowledge Résumé has been reviewed (a free service) and you are recommended for portfolio creation. If recommended, you would then have the option to formally apply for PLAR and pay the assessment fee.

What are the steps involved to complete a Competency-based Portfolio?

1. Complete a Knowledge Résumé to have your PLAR potential assessed (pdf template provided on main PLAR webpage or as a Word document from the PLAR Advisors)
2. Assessment of the Knowledge Résumé completed by the PLAR Committee (free service)
3. Submission of PLAR application and assessment fee (if recommended at Step 2)
4. Development of the portfolio
5. Assessment of the portfolio (including a phone interview)
6. Award PLAR credits

Course-Based Portfolio

What is a Course-based Portfolio?

In the Course-based Portfolio, you would demonstrate that you meet the learning outcomes of a particular course (e.g. MNGT 1111). The knowledge and learning you have gained from work or other life experience must be matched with the requirements of the course. The PLAR credits earned are applied to that specific course.

How does the work involved in preparing a Course-based Portfolio compare to earning the same amount of credits by actually taking the course?

Reports from successful PLAR candidates indicate that the PLAR process is quicker than earning the equivalent amount of credit through doing course readings, assignments and exams. The amount of work involved in preparing a good portfolio will depend on how much learning from experience you have and how skillful you are at describing and documenting it.

For candidates doing Course-based Portfolios, we generally recommend that you prepare portfolios for more than one course. The second portfolio is usually much quicker than the first, since you will have already documented and organized the "raw material" of your experiential learning while preparing the first portfolio.

How much time do I have to complete my Course-based Portfolios?

12 weeks after payment of the PLAR fee. You would work on the portfolios one course at a time. The assessment takes approximately 4-6 weeks to complete. You would then be allowed 12 weeks from the receipt of your assessment results to complete the next portfolio, and so on.

What help can I get in preparing my portfolio?

If you are recommended to create Course-based Portfolios and have paid the PLAR fee, you will receive access to a PLAR site that offers templates, samples and instructions. Though portfolio creation is largely an independent endeavor, the PLAR Advisors also provide information and limited coaching to students.

How much is the PLAR assessment cost for a Course-based Portfolio?

John Smith creates three portfolios and gets credit for three courses (9 credits)
Initial flat fee = $520
Per credit fee = $36 x 9 = $324
Total amount paid = $520 + $324 = $844 for 9 credits

If the PLAR Committee recommends I petition for PLAR credits by creating both a competency-based portfolio and a course-based portfolio, how much is the PLAR fee?

$750 flat fee (Competency-based Portfolio) + $36 per credit awarded (Course-based Portfolios) – the initial $520 portion of the Course-based Portfolio fee would be waived.

When do I have to pay the PLAR assessment fee for a Course-based Portfolio?

The PLAR fee is only paid after your Knowledge Résumé has been reviewed (a free service) and you are recommended for portfolio creation. 

What are the steps involved to complete the Course-based Portfolio?

Please see the PLAR Process page.

Knowledge Resumé

What is a Knowledge Resumé?

This is a document similar to an employment resumé in which you outline the areas that the PLAR Committee uses to assess your potential to petition for PLAR credits in your program. See the template (PDF, 355 KB)

Your Knowledge Resumé is used to determine PLAR potential for general elective credits and/or course-specific credits listed on your Program Plan. To be considered for course-specific credits, identify the courses in the table on the cover sheet that you feel are a good fit with your experience.

General Education courses (math, science, humanities and so on) are normally not eligible for PLAR petition.

What information is included in a Knowledge Resumé?

See the template (PDF, 355 KB)

Why is there a Knowledge Resumé review?

The purpose of the Knowledge Resumé review is to perform a preliminary check to determine if you seem to have the kind of work, educational and life experiences that are typical of a suitable PLAR candidate