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Establishing Life Experience Credit Through Portfolio Development

All of us gain experiences as we walk through life, and very often we learn important lessons through these experiences. It may be that you have done this, and that the lessons you have learned and the skills you have developed correspond to those you would have received in a college-level course. If you think this may be the case, you can pursue the demonstration of this learning and transfer of it by discussing the option with your Dean or Faculty Advisor.

CLU recognizes experiential learning generally to be at least as valid as classroom instruction, and in some cases even superior. Classroom learning often begins with receiving information through lectures or reading, assimilating and organizing that information into principles, and then applying the principles to specific situations. In experiential learning, one begins by acting and observing, then understanding the effects of his action in a specific circumstance. From that a general principle is developed, which can then be applied to a new set of circumstances.


What life experiences can be applied toward each degree?

Bachelor degrees tend to deal with general studies. Therefore, Life Experience credits applied to undergraduate degrees may come from any and all life learning experiences.

Graduate-level degrees involve specialized training, so any Life Experience credits applied to graduate degrees must be from actual training in the specialized area which relates to the degree title being awarded. This means actual training seminars and courses attended, and books read, not just the fact that you worked in the area.

The Priority of Life as a Teacher in the Bible

God places a very high value on life as a teacher. Paul was full of classroom instruction when God revealed Himself on the Damascus road and then took him into seclusion in Arabia for three years to learn directly from Him (Gal. 1:15-18).
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the devil (Lk. 4:1-14). He then returned “in the power of the Spirit” to begin His public ministry.

God took Moses to the backside of a wilderness for 40 years of preparation so he could be sufficiently trained to lead the Israelites out of Egypt (Ex. 2-4).


Jesus called the 12 disciples to “be with Him,” to be mentored by Him and thus equipped to be world-changers (Lk. 6:12-19). His classroom was in the streets and the hills. The Twelve learned by watching Jesus minister and ministering along with Him. The Master Teacher chose this teaching methodology rather than sitting them down in a classroom to instruct them.

At Christian Leadership University, we believe that the lessons you learn from life are the truest and usually most valuable and enriching lessons you will ever experience. They are often far superior, far deeper, and far more life-changing than what is learned in the classroom. Many who have both walked the road of life and tasted of the classroom scenario would vouch for this truth.

That is not to say that all people learn from the experiences they have. The Israelites did not learn from life, and so they died in the wilderness. It is tragic to live and not learn from what life is saying to you.


We highly honor the wisdom and knowledge that has come through the experiences of life. We are pleased to give credit for the education you have received simply by living an active life.

Credit can be awarded when you demonstrate two things:

  1. You spent a certain number of hours in a learning experience, and
  2. You learned something.

 Basic Policies Which Guide the Establishment of Life Experience Credit

  1. Credit is awarded for experience that results in learning.
  2. The learning must be college level. For Christian Leadership University, that means the learning provided a balance of academic insights, attitudinal changes, and behavioral out-workings.
  3. Since CLU allows students to develop individual course topics in conjunction with their faculty mentor, there is not a need for their life credit to perfectly match any particular course listing in CLU’s catalog. As long as it could be a course listed in a college catalog, it is acceptable, presuming the learning will be helpful to one’s overall educational goal. Remember, one’s educational goal at CLU is to become a multi-gifted leader.
  4. Credit cannot be given twice for the same learning experience.
  5. If a student wants to appeal the decision on how much credit was awarded (or not awarded), he may do so. In such a case, his Dean or Faculty Advisor will take the documentation to two additional qualified instructors and together as a team they will reach an agreement on the credits to be awarded. This decision will be final and binding.
  6. A deposit of $100 is to be submitted along with your documentation for life experience credit. After the Dean evaluates your portfolio, you will be charged $100 per life experience credit received. The $100 deposit will be applied toward this charge.
  7. A limit of one-quarter of the total credits received toward any degree may be achieved through life experience credits.
  8. You may purchase a Life Experience Portfolio for $30 + S&H by checking the appropriate box for LIF100 on the New Student Application, the course order form, or simply follow the instructions in the sample format below.
As I completed my Life Experience Portfolio there was great joy as I recalled many opportunities that have been afforded to me over the years. I came to realize many opportunities led to additional opportunities. The most interesting fact I uncovered was my gifting for administration, research and teaching. When I took the course Gifted to Succeed, I was surprised to discover my strongest heart motivations were for the whole and truth. It seems I have been exercising giftings that go along with these my whole life. I shouldn’t have been so surprised when I took your course.

I am enjoying all the courses and sharing them with those around me. My pastor has asked me to teach a seminar on Gifted to Succeed in April. Thank you for making available the wonderful information in the courses. My life is greatly enhanced and my relationship with the Lord is deeper than I thought possible.


Conchita Cassin

For a sample of a Life Experience Portfolio: