Southeast expanding credit for workplace experience in admissions process

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Southeast Missouri State University is making the pathway to higher education more accessible this fall through enhanced consideration of prior learning and workplace experiences in the admissions process.

Assessing and awarding credit is key for non-traditional students, many of whom have been in the workforce and have acquired skills and experiences in their careers and now want or need to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree.

“We are excited to expand the opportunities for students to earn recognition for their real-world experiences or prior education that can translate into college credit to begin their journey at Southeast,” said Chelsea McNeely, director of Southeast Online Programs. “Prior learning assessments provide all students enhanced learning options to increase their pace of study and accelerate their path to degree completion.”

Southeast offers a variety of opportunities to assess prior learning. Beyond standard credit by exam or military-related credit, academic departments and programs offer unique ways to earn credits by portfolio, performance, certification or credentials.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is part of the University’s commitment to providing a flexible learning framework and environment that allows students to achieve their higher education goals, McNeely said.

Southeast’s PLA provides opportunities for a variety of interests and disciplines, including military and law enforcement service, management and business portfolios, nursing credentials, TG University credits and a review of MBA prerequisites. There are also considerations for those who are certified professional secretaries or administrators.

For prospective students who are veterans with military service, the Office of Military and Veterans Services (OMVS) can review their skills and experiences to satisfy specific degree requirements.

Efforts also are being made in Southeast’s Harrison College of Business and Computing where the prerequisites for entry into Southeast’s MBA Program have been reduced, and students’ work-related experiences and previously completed undergraduate business courses are being considered in the admissions process, said Dr. Gillian Nicholls, director of graduate programs in business in the Harrison College. Faculty in Southeast’s Graduate Programs in Business evaluate degrees and course materials from other institutions and allow prospective students to demonstrate their business proficiency by taking and passing program exams.

The University also provides additional credit by exam programs for a variety of disciplines to assist people in gaining recognition for what they know and can do, regardless of how or where they learned it. College credit earned by examination may be counted towards general education, majors, minors or elective requirements at Southeast. Recognized credit by exam programs include CLEP Subject Examinations, DSST/Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES), Microsoft Office Specialist, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Departmental Exams.

In addition, The Jeanine Larson Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance is exploring options for a degree plan for dance professionals who are interested in earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance by giving them credit for their previous experience with a professional dance company, allowing them to complete their degree within two years.

For more information about Southeast’s PLA program and opportunities, visit