The Accreditation process was time consuming and quite stressful for me. However, it was worth every penny and every minute of work!
Preparing for the Readiness Review forced me to really think carefully about each aspect of my campaigns, and to become more organized in their documentation. Many of the strategies and tactics were in my head. Presenting for the panel was nerve-racking, but once it started I became more relaxed. The APR panelists really are there for support and to ensure that the candidate has basic skills. My advice is to stay focused and remember the panel is eager to help you along in your profession, not to throw up roadblocks.
I studied from four books on the short and long list, and made 147 flash cards for the computer-based Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations. I won’t mislead you — the Examination was very hard and grueling. But its difficulty gave me an even greater sense of accomplishment. The PRSA demo test was helpful in so far as navigation of the Examination, so I recommend that it be taken. Also, the APR Study Guide, downloaded from the Web site, was helpful. Concentrate on the percentages of KSAs, study hard and trust that your brain will give you the information you need when you start with the first question!
Carol Higgins Taylor, APR, holds a journalism degree and has worked in public relations for 15 years. Her career has focused on nonprofit work and currently works at a social service agency as director of communications.