How PLAR Works

There are several processes included in PLAR. The CLA administers PLAR requests for Portfolio assessment which awards credit toward a degree, diploma, post-diploma or certificate program at AU. For a full overview of the entire PLAR process, please see our comprehensive flowchart (PDF - 32KB).

Our Mentoring Process

PLAR at AU requires you to work with a mentor who will assist you through the portfolio preparation process. Research has shown us that learners both need and enjoy this assistance. You will be assigned to a mentor near the front end of your portfolio process. Our PLAR flowchart (PDF - 32KB) will give you a better understanding of the whole process. You will have the ability to drive the mentor-learner relationship on a time-line of your choosing. Your mentor will negotiate a learning contract with you. Your discussions will occur mostly by email but there will be telephone contact as well, again, on your schedule. Your mentor will advise you on all aspects of portfolio preparation.

Please do not submit a portfolio to us, or to any other office of the University, without having entered the PLAR process according to the information / steps outlined here.

Introduction to PLAR (video)

*Can be viewed with RealPlayer.

What is portfolio assessment?

Portfolio assessmentis a method of evaluating experiential learning toward AU degrees or certificates. (Please note: Graduate programs follow different procedures. Contact the Graduate program office for more information.) The portfolio assessment process considers two sources of information:

  1. The course or program based portfolio you submit that shows how your non-formal learning counts toward the credential being pursued, together with...
  2. Athabasca University requirements for the granting of academic credit. We recommend that you read the AU Calendar for regulations governing the credential you want.

Your portfolio materials are assessed by experts including academic faculty in the program for which you are seeking credit. This team uses predefined criteria to evaluate your portfolio.

When do I start?

You must be enrolled in an AU program to do PLAR. Any transfer of credit from other institutions must be complete. Start the PLAR process early in your program to ensure that whatever credits you receive will fit into your program.

How long does PLAR take?

The amount of time it takes to prepare a PLAR portfolio depends on how much time and effort you can devote to it. You may still take courses while preparing for PLAR although you should consult with an advisor to ensure that you are not enrolling in courses for which you may ultimately receive PLAR credit. It will take us between three and four months to complete the assessment once we receive your portfolio.

How much does it cost?

The process costs $866. This offers tremendous value based on the potential PLAR award. The PLAR fee is separate from the General Application fee and/or the transcript evaluation fee. You can apply to be an AU student here.

What is Challenge-for-Credit

Challenge-for-credit is available for many AU courses*. Challenge-for-credit is handled through the Office of the Registrar.

*Some AU courses are not eligible for challenge. Please review the listing of courses unavailable for challenge before requesting the challenge-for-credit option.