~n_PLAR - O'Neill
Mary Curnow, PLAR administrator, encourages students to take advantage of her open door policy. Any student can earn a PLAR credit if they demonstrate sufficent knowledge through a test or portfolio.

For students falling behind in an elective or those who need an extra credit, a PLAR, or preliminary learning assessment recognition credit, is an option.

A PLAR credit can be earned when a student has a sufficient amount of knowledge in a course and can demonstrate, through an assessment, that they are eligible of a condensed course credit, said Mary Curnow, PLAR administrator.

“There are two ways to be exempt from a course,” said Lee McCoy, a general education and English coordinator.

McCoy explained that if you have taken a post secondary course that is considered the same or similar to one offered at the college, you can be exempt. The other option is a PLAR.

“The PLAR option is specified on every course outline,” said McCoy. “But sometimes students neglect to read through those.”

The course outline and personal experience of the student will determine which type of assessment is best suited for the credit.

As an example, Curnow said if a student demonstrates adequate knowledge in a language and has assisted others with it in the past outside of school, they may be eligible for a credit. She said it is hard for students coming straight from high school to earn a PLAR credit because they don’t necessarily have enough life experience.

“Everyone has a different story,” said Curnow. “We have to go about accommodating them personally.”

Curnow is seeing more and more students from Media and Design programs seek out the PLAR option. She recognizes that the programs in that faculty are intense.

“The summer is a good time to work on your general electives,” said Curnow, who aims to remind students that as long as the credit is on your transcript, it doesn’t matter when it was earned.

“Students aren’t as focused on general electives,” said Deborah Buck, student success specialist.

Buck sees students in her office in May who need an extra credit to graduate and refers them to the PLAR option.

Curnow stated that a portfolio option is available for the price of $95 and an exam, including an oral presentation, for $119.

The PLAR office, in room C214, is open Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The webpage, www.algonquincollege.com/plar, displays a step-by-step process of how the process works and what options are available.