When I began the journey towards Accreditation in Public Relations — although I’d done some preliminary research regarding the dedication of time needed to study, reviewed some of the materials on the bookshelves and even took a stab at the APR Online Examination Demonstration — I had no idea of the ride I was about to take. Thank goodness for the support of my local Chapter’s APR committee, as well as a study group we arranged soon after applying to be APR candidates.
Although it seemed to be an intimidating part of the process, I now realize the Readiness Review helped set me up for a great win. The day of my review, I was scared, nervous and worried feeling that three people held the key to unlock the door to my next phase in Accreditation. I worried that one mishap would ruin my chances of advancing. I was wrong. My panel was fantastic; they wanted to see me succeed. They gave advice about material I should continue to study and what to expect with the computer-based Examination.
The Examination was definitely harder than I expected, albeit I studied for five months — mostly weeknights and two to three hours on weekends — following the Review. I thought multiple-choice couldn’t be too difficult. Again, I was wrong. The test was scenario-based and it was pertinent to really know the material and be able to respond using the knowledge, skills and abilities discussed in the APR Study Guide and in the textbook “Effective Public Relations” by Cutlip, Center and Broom.
As I look ahead, I am excited about the opportunities that being Accredited will afford me. I am proud and much more confident in my ability to be a strategic, analytical public relations professional. The journey made me appreciate what it takes to be Accredited. Those three letters lets my peers and employers know that I have proven public relations knowledge, and am capable to do the job and do it well using the highest of ethical standards. Gaining Accreditation was a daunting task, but then, anything worth having usually is.
Adrienne R. Fairwell, APR, is public information director for the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR). Prior to joining SCDOR, she worked as a public information coordinator at Midlands Technical College. She has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina and an MA in Development and Planning from Webster University. Adrienne is active in the South Carolina Chapter of PRSA, where she serves as a board member-at-large.