Information for Students

Accredited Prior Learning

Entry with credit or prior learning/experience


You may have studied elsewhere for all or part of a qualification and wish to progress or complete here at Swindon College.

There are two terms which define these possibilities Accredited Prior Learning, and Accredited Prior Experiential Learning. 

 

APL- Accredited Prior Learning 


This is a way of gaining access or ‘direct entry’ to a course using previous learning, which has been certificated or for courses partially completed, that credits have been or will be awarded before entry.

To accept applicants we will need to see an official transcript of results. Generally to enter directly into a programme, the programme you had studied previously should be very similar to the course you wish to study here.

The following conditions would also apply:

Level 5 entry (year two of a degree or HND programme): requires you to have gained 120 credits at Level 4.

Level 6 entry (year three of a degree*) requires you to have gained 240 credits at Level 5. This is subject to the awarding university regulations on APL.

*entry to a defined one year ‘top up’ programme may not require APL, unless the previous course studied is not sufficiently comparable to the level 5 programme offered here.

Where Modules differ between the course previously studied and the course you wish to enter, a ‘mapping’ exercise will need to be undertaken. You will provide us with the Module Descriptors detailing your Learning Outcomes, which are usually provided in a course Handbook or on-line. Academic staff will then determine if our course compares to the course you have done or are currently doing, and if they are satisfied, we will consider your application. If we recognise gaps in your learning through the mapping process, we may require you to do additional work to bridge the gap/s before joining the course.

In cases where you studied some time ago or your qualification is out of date, we may not be able to accept you with APL. This is because courses change over time and we may have the necessary information to conduct adequate mapping, or your prior knowledge may not be sufficient to meet current professional standards. 

In all cases, we must be assured that you have the same knowledge as students studying the whole course with us, and are therefore fully prepared for the next academic level and subject areas, and will not be disadvantaged in any way by transferring to our course. 

Oxford Brookes University information on Accreditation of Prior Learning can be found here.

 

APEL – Accredited Prior Experiential Learning 


This includes knowledge and skills gained through other experiences such as working, volunteering or interests. It can also be used to demonstrate that you already have the skills and knowledge for a particular Module or Unit of study, and if evidenced sufficiently, can allow exemption of that particular Module or Unit. 

Generally this process can take some time, so it is advisable to contact us well in advance if it is your intention to gain APEL. We will require evidence from you of the learning that has taken place in the workplace or through relevant activities which demonstrate that your knowledge and skills are comparable to students who have undertaken the Unit/Module for which you are seeking credit or exemption.

In most cases this will involve a professional portfolio of evidence, workplace projects, evidence of CPD such a short courses, or work related training.

It is worth noting that this evidence must be substantial to allow exemption, and a thorough assessment of the evidence will need to take place to ensure this maps to the learning outcomes of the module in question.  You need to consider carefully whether this evidence is readily available and sufficient for your APEL application. 

 

How to apply


You will need to contact our HE Admissions coordinator in the first instance, who can check that we are accepting applications for your desired stage of the course.

You will be advised on how to apply through www.ucas.com and to ensure that you select your Point of Entry as year 2 or 3 as appropriate. They will also advise you on how to progress your APL/APEL application, provide advice on submitting evidence and may put you in contact with an appropriate academic tutor.

Most applicants will be interviewed, though it is not always necessary depending on the course you are applying for. You will also be given the opportunity to have a look around the campus.

In all cases we will need a Certificate and/or transcript of your results from your previous institution along with your application. For international qualifications, it is the applicant’s responsibility to gain a statement of comparability from NARIC prior to application. We recognise that when you apply, transcripts of results may not yet be available, and so once we confirm that the mapping of learning outcomes has been successful, we may then make a conditional offer subject to receipt of your Certificate/transcript of results. This should include the module titles, marks and grades, and the number and level of academic credits gained for each module. 

The tuition fees that you will be charged will be assessed on an individual basis and will be dependent on the number of Modules/Units to be studied, your previous qualification and dates of study.

In some cases other requirements will need to be met prior to entry. You may need to demonstrate that you have met professional standards such as those required for teaching practice placements and any non-contributory elements in terms of credit, which must be passed.

For any courses that involve a placement, such as Health and Social Care, you will need occupational health clearance and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) background clearance prior to registration.