Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

What is PLAR?

PLAR is a process the college uses to assess the skills and knowledge you have gained through employment, formal and informal education, or other life experiences.

Some examples of previous learning may include:

  • training
  • independent study
  • volunteer activities
  • military service
  • work experience
  • travel
  • hobbies

By participating in the PLAR process, you could gain academic credit for prior life experience. The college’s PLAR policy and procedure are available online.

How does PLAR work?

Since prior learning must be measurable at the college level and meet Conestoga’s standards of achievement for current courses, your prior learning will be assessed through a challenge exam or portfolio.    

Your challenge exam or portfolio will be assessed and graded by experienced faculty. This grade will appear on your official Conestoga transcript (PLAR does not result in an exemption).    

PLAR is done on a course-by-course basis as not all courses are PLAR eligible. You can earn up to 75 per cent of your credits through PLAR and the other 25 per cent must come from college courses. Only one attempt per course is available through PLAR.    

NOTE: An exam is the only method available to receive credit for a computer course. Portfolios are not acceptable.    

Who is eligible?

Mature learners, that are 19 years of age or have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), with significant life or work experience are eligible to apply.    

If you can answer yes to these statements, please consider applying:

  • I have at least one year of extensive experience in one field (gained through work, volunteer, and/or leisure activities)
  • I have a broad range of experiences in a specific field
  • I have colleagues and supervisors who can attest to my learning if necessary
  • I have college-level learning that can be measured

PLAR is not available for:    

  • registered students looking to obtain credits for failed Conestoga courses or to clear academic deficiencies
  • current students looking to upgrade marks for completed Conestoga courses
  • those pursuing Better Jobs Ontario. PLAR is an assessment of an individual’s learning and is not considered to be upgrading or training as defined by Better Jobs Ontario. Obtaining credits through the PLAR could affect client’s eligibility for funding.
  • Applicants that are hoping to obtain credits through the PLAR process to guarantee entrance into a program.

Only ONE attempt per course is allowed through PLAR. Successful completion of a PLAR assessment results in a credit on a Conestoga transcript. A failed attempt would require the student to take the course./p>     

How long does the PLAR process take?

On average, the PLAR process takes two to four weeks (per assessment).    

How do I get started?
  1. Identify the courses you wish to challenge through the PLAR process.
  2. Review individual course outlines to determine if your skills align with the course learning outcomes. Course outlines for your program are available in the Student Portal, located under the "My Courses tab". Select the magnifying glass icon beside the applicable course name to open the outline.
  3. After you have reviewed the course outlines, contact our Credit Transfer team to find out if you are eligible. Provide your Conestoga student number, as well as the course codes(s) and name(s) of the course(s) you wish to challenge.
  4. Once our Credit Transfer team has reviewed your request and noted that you are eligible, submit the PLAR Registration form (pdf) and non-refundable fee. For courses of 24 hours or more, the fee is $135.57. Courses that are fewer than 24 hours are charged an hourly fee of $6.24 per hour.
  5. Check your email for updates and next steps.