The Spring APR Prep Course Has Begun

On Thursday evening, April 13, the PRSA Hoosier Chapter Accreditation co-chairs held the APR prep course spring session. Appropriate timing as April has been deemed by PRSA as APR Month. They were joined by several new APR candidates eager to learn more about the process of earning the Accreditation in Public Relations.

Each of these candidates took the first step (or leap), which was to notify the Accreditation co-chairs of their interest in entering the process. Then their names were put on an email list to be notified about the APR prep course.

The APR prep course is not mandatory while going through the process. However, it’s highly recommended. The Hoosier Chapter provides this course for free to Chapter members. It’s a great opportunity to learn from APRs with years of public relations experience, as well as hear about their journey through the process. It’s a wonderful learning and networking opportunity, as well as a great support group.

As with all new APR candidates, there’s a bit of worry about what’s to come. Sometimes this fear can hold you back from ever entering the process. Try not to let it. You’ll be given the tools you need to help you succeed!

As we sat around the large conference table at the beginning of the first session, I sensed the anxiety in the room. I remember it all too well when I attended my first session as a candidate. I decided to ask each candidate what they thought the most intimidating step in the process might be and why they felt that way. Most are experiencing anxiety about the panel presentation, “I feel like it’s a job interview and I don’t feel that I interview well.” “I’m worried about my persuasion skills.” “I’m worried about public speaking.”

Other fears included, “I’m scared of failing.” “I’m concerned about the breadth of my experience.” “I feel that I’m self-taught in PR, mostly by trial and error.”

What I hope was realized by addressing these worries and fears, is that they are not alone. Many new candidates worry they don’t have the knowledge or experience to earn their Accreditation, especially if their degree wasn’t in public relations. (Many of us have “crossed-over.”) That’s why going through the APR prep course can be so valuable. It allows you to gain more knowledge in the areas you may be lacking and more confidence to face the presentation panel.

Sharing experiences can be very beneficial to candidates, so I asked Rachel Sorvig, APR, to share her experience through the journey. Rachel recently earned her APR and was presented with her APR pin at the Hoosier Chapter March luncheon. She said she decided to earn the APR because, “I knew having the APR distinction would help set me apart.”

Rachel said, “Studying, preparing and earning gave me confidence. I knew more than what I thought. But I also strengthened my knowledge, skill and abilities to provide my best to our clients.”

While going through the process of earning her APR, Rachel became a mother for the first time, moved – all while she juggled a busy career at Bose Public Affairs Group. Her advice to candidates, “If you are working towards your APR, don’t give up. Use all that’s available to you through the Chapter and dedicate as much time as you can to studying. Stay dedicated to the process, you won’t regret earning this amazing distinction.”

If you’ve earned your APR, what advice would you give to those still considering it or current candidates?

Jenifer Groth, APR, is director of communication and outreach for the Indiana Department of Insurance, State of Indiana. Her communications background includes working as a radio host (WIRE), columnist (The Daily Sun), associate producer (WTHR), new media marketing content producer/online editor (Indianapolis Star), web editor (Indianapolis Woman Magazine), and public relations and social media manager for an association. Public relations is her passion. Groth is currently serving on the PRSA Hoosier Chapter’s Accreditation committee as a co-chair. She served on the marketing committee to promote the 2016 PRSA International Conference and previously served on the communications committee as eblast chair. She’s an active volunteer with the State as well, serving as the wellness champion and State Employees’ Community Campaign (SECC) coordinator for her agency.

You can connect with her on Twitter at @jlgroth and LinkedIn.