In a time of reflection of the past year and preparing for the new one, Tiffany Esposito-Kittinger, APR, certainly has accomplished a lot this year and has some pretty good advice for us pertaining to her journey earning her APR. If you are setting goals to finally get accredited, be sure to check out our interview below with Ms. Esposito-Kittinger!
What do you feel was your biggest challenge (or fear) was getting your accreditation (the test, number of flash cards, etc)?
My biggest fear going in was the readiness review which is an oral presentation in front of a panel. Everyone told me that it was the easiest part but I was still concerned. It ended up being the easiest part and afterwards I was kicking myself for getting so worked up about it. In my opinion, the most difficult part of the process was the written readiness review portion that I had to submit prior to the oral presentation. It wasn’t difficult just very time consuming and I felt like I could constantly add to it.
In a short summary, can you provide the steps you took to get your APR (classes, readiness reviews…)?
The first thing I did was research. I wanted to know what I was getting myself into. I spoke to Kara Winton, the chapter’s credentialing chair, and she told me all about the process and where I could find additional information. I read everything on the UAB and FPRA websites regarding accreditation and decided it was something I was ready to pursue.
After I made the commitment I started attending the study sessions with Kara. They were once a week for about three hours. I was getting married three months after I started this process and was determined not to study on my honeymoon so the next thing I did was create a timeline with Kara’s help. We set milestone dates, scheduled my oral review, submitted my official application to the UAB and I started studying. Kara does an amazing job structuring the study sessions to make the entire process palatable. I did small sections of the written readiness review each week and worked on my oral presentation plan and materials as I went. I think the key to the process is to take it in small bites. It is a lot of work and not something you can do in a weekend. I also studied the flash cards as I went and the day before I sat for the written exam I literally did nothing but study flash cards for 13 hours just memorizing definitions and concepts.
During this time I was also taking two graduate courses at FGCU so I treated it like another class and did the work alongside my homework. I did my readiness review oral presentation a month before I took the written exam and sat for the written portion five days before my wedding. I received the official letter in the mail stating that I passed the day of my wedding. It was the best wedding present ever!
If you can give a piece of advice to someone who is preparing to take the next step and earn their APR, what would that be?
Something I would have changed was to have completed the study sessions before submitting my written readiness review and doing my oral presentation. After I was finished with the entire process I felt like I could have added a lot more to my readiness review to make it better but since I was on a tight timeline I rushed through it a bit. Someone once told me that a graduate degree is not a sprint, it’s a marathon and I feel like the APR process is the same way. It should be more of a marathon than a sprint.
Some other advice…don’t be afraid of it. It is not as scary as it looks. It can be overwhelming at first but the great thing is that you can go at your own pace. It is an incredibly rewarding experience and I honestly learned more through the accreditation process than I did in my undergraduate degree (which is in PR).