Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) is an opportunity to demonstrate knowledge that you have gained through a variety of experiences such as: military training, corporate trainings, work or volunteer experiences, MOOCs or other non-academic activities prior to enrolling at Bristol. You can demonstrate you have met course outcomes outside of your academic program in one of three ways:

  • Credit By Credential - You may earn equivalent course credit for prior learning from instruction sponsored by the military, business and industry, public and private agencies, associations and educational institutions, and/or licensure preparation by regulatory agencies and associations that resulted in an acknowledged credential. 
  • Credit By Examination - You may earn equivalent course credits for prior learning and/or experiences by taking a Challenge Exam for certain CPL designated courses that demonstrates you have met course outcomes.
    CPL can be achieved for certain courses by College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and Advanced Placement (AP) exams.  
  • Credit by Portfolio - You may earn equivalent course credit for prior learning by submitting a digital portfolio. The portfolio has several components and documents college-level competencies acquired through educational, vocational, or personal learning experiences. 

MassReconnect students can use CPL as another valuable tool toward earning a degree. If you are a MassReconnect student with experience outside of college, please contact the CPL office.

Benefits of CPL

  1. Research indicates students are more likely to graduate if they have earned CPL credits.
  2. Students are connected to program coordinators and faculty as part of the process.
  3. Time to graduation is shortened.
  4. Shortened time to graduation equals financial savings.
  5. Students often choose to take electives or other courses in their discipline that there is usually no room for – widening their knowledge base.

Limitations of CPL

If you pass an exam or portfolio, a “T” is noted on your transcript – not a grade; a “T” is not transferable to 4 year institutions usually. If you plan to transfer to a 4 year institution, contact their admissions to confirm if the CPL will be accepted for that course. 


To get started, visit the My Experience Counts website. Be sure to use your email when asked. Once registered, you will be connected to the CPL coordinator with next steps.

Please email or call 774.357.2123 with any questions.

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