The Lifelong Learning Assessment (LLA) at Grand Canyon University (GCU) allows you to earn up to eight general education or elective credits based on one or more essays that demonstrate the mastery of already acquired college-level knowledge. This may be an excellent option for you if you are seeking your undergraduate degree later in life and may already possess valuable experiences that equate to college credits. For more information about the LLA, speak with your university counselor, contact us at lifelonglearning@gcu.edu or review our list of frequently asked questions.

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About the Lifelong Learning Assessment

The LLA begins with successful completion of ENG-135. For the course, you have the opportunity to earn four credits, plus an additional eight credits for your essays. Each essay is submitted with documentation that validates your experiences. Examples of documentation include, but are not limited to:

  • Job evaluations from employers
  • Government documents
  • Newspaper accounts
  • Police reports
  • Affidavits from community leaders

Step 1: Topic Approval

To facilitate writing an LLA paper that aligns your prior learning experiences with college-level learning, refer to the Topic Description List. You should select the topic that best matches your experience and then write an essay based on the subtopics from the respective topic.

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Credit is not awarded for experience alone, but for the learning that followed the experience. For success, you must have firsthand experience in the subtopic chosen and should have several years of direct experience. In other words, this is not an independent study to help you gain new knowledge, but instead serves as an opportunity to reward you for already acquired mastery of college-level knowledge in a specific subject area based on a life experience.

Topic Approval

Begin your LLA journey by completing the Topic Approval Form. Your name, student ID and email allow us to respond to your requests quickly. A short sentence or two about your experience is all we need to start evaluating your request. If you use an existing topic, you may only use the subtopics provided. If you do not see a topic that relates to your experience, select "Other" and explain your experiences and the name of your proposed topic.

Submit Topic for Approval


Step 2: ENG-135 Course Description

All students who wish to submit an LLA paper must first attend ENG-135. This course is a writing-intensive course focused on preparing you to write personal and professional life learning essays. The Kolb model of experiential learning is presented, which is a way for you to learn a systematic manner to evaluate and reflect your personal experience; form generalizations and theories from that experience; and test the learning in new situations.

This course also incorporates writing skills, brainstorming activities, critical thinking and outlining, as well as selected readings from published memoirs that you may use as models of how personal experience is used as a powerful foundation for compelling writing.

Topics for the course are:

  • Understanding the Kolb model
  • Building an essay
  • Organizing ideas into the Kolb model
  • Getting an LLA paper started
  • Fine-tuning your paper
  • Proofreading techniques

Step 3: Submission Process/Submitting a Lifelong Learning Assessment Paper

To maintain academic integrity and the high standards of excellence here at GCU, the Office of Student Success has implemented regulations and standards by which you must complete your LLA paper.