I earned my APR in December 2009. Dating back to when I was a freshman studying integrative public relations at Central Michigan University, becoming Accredited was always one of my professional goals.
I began the process by reading the APR Sudy Guide a few months in advance of applying. After receiving clearance to proceed in April 2009, I signed up to participate in PRSA’s Online Study Course and joined the summer cohort. The Online Course guided me through the readings — I chose “Effective Public Relations,” 10th edition; the media law section in the “AP Stylebook”; and the APR Study Guide. The cohort helped provide direction and motivational support at least once a week. I also had the opportunity to present my Readiness Review to the group and was able to reach out to Accredited professionals for feedback.
Once summer was nearing its end, I knew it was time to hunker down and study. I continued with the online study course and joined the fall cohort. I had a talk with my Chapter’s APR chair, who encouraged me to “get it done before the holidays.” I took her advice and proceeded to prepare my portfolio. In October 2009, I presented my Readiness Review to a panel of three of my peers. It was a great experience that rekindled my passion for presenting.
I signed up to take the computer-based Examination in mid-December and was pleased to instantly get my results after clicking “Done.” All in all, the process took me about eight months and helped remind me of several core public relations practices I had learned in college. Good luck to future candidates! You, too, can get your APR “before the holidays.”
Hilary Maxfield, APR, is an account executive and the public relations manager for AGP & Associates, Inc., an integrated marketing communications agency in Midland, Mich. She serves on the board of directors for both the White Pine Chapter of PRSA and the American Advertising Federation — Great Lakes Bay Region. Maxfield’s bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University is in public relations, with a French minor. Connect with Hilaryon LinkedIn and on twitter