Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)

PLAR is a process of evaluating the knowledge and skills gained through experiential and/or non-formal learning for the purpose of obtaining academic credit. You may have your prior learning assessed before entering a college program. Courses with successful PLAR attempts will be recorded on a transcript.

You can acquire post-secondary level learning through:

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

International students

International students are encouraged to consider any impact to their current study permit and working eligibility, or impacts to their future post-graduate work permit eligibility, if their course load drops below that of a full-time student because of credits earned through transfer credit. Contact an Immigration Consultant at the International Centre to learn more.

Credits through PLAR

You can receive credit for up to 75% of a college program through Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition, depending on the nature and extent of your learning and how well your learning matches the college course requirements (learning outcomes). You must be enrolled and complete a minimum of 25% of the program credit units at Fanshawe. NOTE: Degree programs are subject to requirements established by the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB).

PLAR assessment

Challenge Evaluation Portfolio
  • Written exam
  • Oral exam
  • Project and/or presentation
  • Skill demonstration
  • Interview
  • Essay
  • Chronological and academic records
  • Life history paper
  • Goals paper
  • Educational plan
  • Learning outcomes or competency statements
  • Verification of learning (documentation)
  • Resumé

NOTE: Other modes of assessment may be used depending on the nature of the course.

Apply for PLAR

  1. Contact an Admissions and Pathways Advisor in the Office of the Registrar, by phone at 519-452-4277 or email at
  2. The PLAR application fee is $105 per course. This fee applies to both the challenge evaluation and the portfolio assessment. The fee is non-refundable.
  3. If you fail to prove that you have met the learning outcomes, you do not get a refund. If you have paid for a challenge evaluation and then decide to take the course instead, you are not eligible for a refund. You should review the material before deciding to complete a challenge evaluation.

PLAR affecting OSAP

If your course load drops below that of a full-time student because of credits earned through PLAR, your eligibility for financial assistance through the Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP) might be affected. PLAR candidates are encouraged to contact Financial Aid and Student Awards for questions about OSAP eligibility.

PLAR Learner Guide

A PLAR Learner Guide is a resource for candidates and students to help them decide whether they should move forward with a PLAR application. Learner Guides are developed for specific courses and contain general PLAR information, as well as detailed course information relevant for applicants wishing to PLAR the specific course. 

Book an appointment with an Admissions and Pathways Advisor, or contact your Program Coordinator to inquire about PLAR and see if a Learner Guide is available for the course you wish to PLAR. 


Chris Dennis

After over 30 years since last sitting in a classroom and at the age of 51, I made the exciting decision to pursue post-secondary education. […] Having spent my entire career in Office Administration and knowing that I would have to complete courses online on a part-time basis, I contacted the Registrar’s Office at Fanshawe College – London Campus. An appointment was set up with one of their very knowledgeable & friendly advisors to come in and discuss my educational path. Going into the appointment, I was fairly confident that I had enough of a knowledge base to complete at least 4 of the courses through PLAR.


To my surprise, I was informed that I could challenge up to 75% of the courses for a flat fee. By the end of the meeting and a few words of encouragement, I had enrolled in the one-year Office Administration program and decided to challenge 75% of the courses through PLAR.  […] Because I live 2 hours outside of London, I was able to write the PLAR tests at the Fanshawe-Simcoe Campus, a half hour from my home.  I successfully passed the maximum amount of PLAR courses within a 4 month time frame.


From that first meeting in London to graduation less than a year from when my journey began, it was a stress-free, enjoyable and seamless process.  It is a daunting thing to return to the classroom all these years later, let alone do it online. The support staff at both campuses and professors went above and beyond to set me up for success. Their knowledge and genuineness in wanting to see me succeed confirmed I chose the right College to continue my education.  The skills I have learned through this program have definitely further enhanced my job performance. […] An opportunity for a promotion [also] became available at my workplace!


Office Administration Executive Certificate, Fanshawe College


Chris Dennis - Pathway Photo