The Southwest Missouri Chapter of PRSA in Springfield has taken a different approach to completing the Accreditation process. Once accepted into the program, candidates here prepare for the Readiness Review, submitting their project and then preparing for the panel Review. Once successfully completed, we dive into the prep for the online Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. It’s worked well for the four of us who have completed the Accreditation process.
One of the advantages of studying and preparing for the Readiness Review first is that it’s more of a “known quantity.” You know your project inside out; it’s familiar territory, and so you get comfortable and confident with the process.
Preparing for the online Examination is more daunting because no matter how much you prepare, you really don’t know if you’ve studied enough or studied smart. The APR Online Study Course certainly helps, and I’d recommend it as money well spent, even if you don’t complete every activity.
If this reverse order approach sounds appealing, one change I’d recommend is to familiarize yourself with the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) covered by the Examination as you prepare for the Readiness Review. Had I done my homework, I’d have written the answers to my Readiness Review Questionnaire differently.
Jennifer Ailor, APR, Ailor Communications, Accredited in June 2010. Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn.
The APR preparation process can be grueling; as Jennifer mentions, several long-term strategies can help the process along such as learning and internalizing the KSAs before the readiness review and having the support of a local chapter. When I began pursuing accreditation in Denver earlier this year, the local APR committee gave some very helpful advice about the readiness review presentation. It helped that I was active in the chapter beforehand and was friendly with some members who had already received accreditation. Denver’s APR committee also set up a social network on Ning specifically targeted to those who had received accreditation and those actively seeking it. Through that network, I met a few PRSA members with whom I studied for a while.
Also correctly, Jennifer writes that preparing for the online exam can be “daunting” because there is no guarantee one will study sufficiently or smartly. That’s the position I find myself in now, not only because I am just a little over a month from sitting for the exam and wondering how I will do, but also because I also just moved across the country for a new job and my local PRSA network of friends is gone. I could certainly reach out to members of my “new” local chapter but for personal reasons (new child on the way in mid-November!) it looks like I really need to pass the exam in late October since I don’t know when else I’ll have a chance to sit for it again in the near future. As a result, I’ve dedicated most of my free time to studying hard based on the content outlined in the study guide.
Thanks to Jennifer for her good advice about the reverse order accreditation process. If I’d considered this method earlier, I might have incorporated it into my own studying habits.