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But she wasn't done. "I still believe that I have a lot to offer," she says. At age 55, Loduha decided to pursue a bachelor's degree at UW-Superior, a decision she says was made easier by the Credit for Prior Learning program.
"For me, it was pretty scary to take that step," she says. "I liked the idea that after teaching for 23 years, and counseling for four years, UW-Superior was willing to acknowledge what I had learned through these experiences."
Credit for Prior Learning offers students four ways to demonstrate their college-level knowledge and skills, according to Jamie White-Farnham, professor of writing and Credit for Prior Learning coordinator. They include standardized testing and review of military training and certifications.
The option Loduha chose, credit through portfolio, is well-suited for students with extensive work experience and training. That can be in such areas as law enforcement, education, and human services, as well as life experiences like starting and running a small business.
White-Farnham is quick to clarify that credit is not granted for experience alone. "You have to articulate what you know that matches college course outcomes," she says. "It's not a slam-dunk."
Like Loduha, credit through portfolio students usually enroll in a one-credit writing course that guides them in creating a portfolio. Loduha's portfolio included a personal history, essays connecting experience to specific classes, and other documentation.
Faculty members reviewed Loduha's portfolio and granted credits for two communicating arts classes. Although there were fees associated with the process, Loduha still was able to earn the credits at a fraction of the cost of enrolling in the classes.
These days, Loduha is a full-time Distance Learning student as she works part time at a homeless shelter in Rhinelander, Wis. She's grateful that Credit for Prior Learning gave her a jump start on progress to her degree.
"This program made me feel that UW-Superior was willing to hear me out and if I could provide the required evidence of knowledge, they would acknowledge that and give me credit for it," she says. "This 'dialogue' put me a bit more at ease with this scary decision as well as gave me some confidence to go forward."
Credit by standardized tests (CLEP and DANTES)
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