College of Fellows 101: Straight Talk About the Application Process

College of Fellows 101:
Preparing to Apply
Thursday, January 23, 2014
3:00 – 4:00 PM EST
• Anne Dubois, APR, Fellow PRSA
Co-chair, GoodFellows
• Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow PRSA,
Co-chair, GoodFellows
• Maria Russell, APR, Fellow PRSA
Immediate Past Chair, College of Fellows
• Jesse Gwyn, PRSA Staff Liaison, College of
[email protected]
Today’s Agenda
What is the PRSA College of Fellows?
Where can I find information online?
How do I apply?
What are common application mistakes?
What is a GoodFellow?
Would I benefit from having one?
The PRSA College of Fellows
Established in 1989
Inaugural class all Gold Anvil recipients
New Fellows added annually: 6-20
14 new Fellows inducted in 2013
297 active Fellows
Meet Standards of Excellence
Who Are Fellows?
• Public relations professionals from all areas of
 Agencies, consultants, educational
institutions, government, health care,
corporate, associations, etc.
 Some retired
 All recognized with awards
 Most have served PRSA in
local, district and national leadership
College of Fellows Online Resources
 Go to PRSA home page
• Click on Network, then Communities
• Scroll down to College of Fellows
College of Fellows – Online Resources, cont
• Contents
 Membership Criteria
 Application Instructions
 Applicant Information Sheet
 Application
 Chapter/Section/District Comment Form
- To be accompanied by a letter
Who is eligible?
• A PRSA member who:
 Is Accredited
 Has practiced or taught 20 years or more (240 months)
 Demonstrates superior capability as a PR practitioner or PR
 Has advanced the profession
 Provides service and leadership
 Exhibits personal and professional qualities as a role model
for others
Six Sections/Criteria
Professional Experience and Qualifications
Superior Professional Capability
Advancement of the Profession
Service and Leadership
Role Model
Minor Changes for 2014
 100-word inspirational statement replaces the
role-model statement. To be submitted with
150-word biography and the 35-word
summary statement.
 Pending business or legal matters notice on
the Applicant Information form
Letters of Support
• First-time applicants need six letters:
 1 letter from your Chapter/Section/District
 Accompanies a Comment Form
 Must be signed by an officer or the immediate past
president/chair and explain why comments were
 The same Chapter/Section/District officer can
submit Comment Forms and Letters for multiple
applicants from that Chapter/Section/District
 4 letters from public relations professionals or public
relations educators
 1 letter from someone who is not a public relations
practitioner or PR educator
Letters of Support - Restrictions
• Only one letter per writer, per year
 Exception: Chapter/Section/District Officer
Comment Form and Letter
• No letters from:
 Members of PRSA Board of Directors
 College of Fellows Officers or Members
of the Selection Committee
 Your GoodFellow
Letters of Support
• Letters must be:
 On business letterhead or personal stationary
 One typewritten page in length
 At least 12-point font size
 Have an original signature
 Mailed or scanned and emailed as PDF
 Received at PRSA Headquarters by the deadline
• Letters should add something substantive,
not repeat your resume and application
Tips for Great Letters
• Ask your letter writers early
 Make sure they can meet the deadline
 Provide tactful reminders before deadline
• Consider the right person(s) to ask
 Examples: Executive-level colleagues, current or
past supervisors, Fellows, APRs, clients, clergy,
elected officials, community contacts, academic
faculty and administrators, former students or
others you have mentored who have successful or
impressive careers
Tips for Great Letters
• Writers should:
 Know you well
 Have appropriate stature
 Briefly explain why/how they are in a position to
write on your behalf
• Writers who address the criteria do the most for your
 Should be able to discuss your professional
accomplishments, contributions to the profession,
service as a role model, capabilities, ethics, integrity
or reputation
Red Flags
• The letter repeats the resume
• It arrives too late (Must meet deadline or application
cannot be accepted.)
• There are no letters from a Fellow or an APR or two
• The Chapter, Section or District declines to send a
comment form and letter
• Names of letter writers listed on the Applicant Information
Sheet must match those on letters HQ receives
• Letters must be on business or personal stationery with
contact information
• Letters must be signed and submitted by the letter writer
• There are separate instruction for re-applicants
Application Tips
• Give yourself plenty of time
 Application requires thought and documentation
• Take credit for your accomplishments
• Present a body of work that has had real consequence
• Demonstrate each requirement from a strategic standpoint
• Provide examples in a situation - action - results format
• List contacts with phone numbers and/or emails with examples
• Do not exceed the page limit – 8 pages for six criteria
Common Mistakes
Not reading the application and instructions carefully
Rushing through your application
Failing to proofread
Not explaining your personal role in a project
Failing to demonstrate the outcome or results of
an activity
Common Mistakes
Being too modest
Failing to explain how you advanced
the profession
Claiming a "first" but failing to substantiate it
Not proving the requested five examples
in criterion 3, 4, 5 and 6
Failing to ask if you have questions
-- Thanks to David H. Simon, APR, Fellow PRSA, 1998 Fellows Chair
Schedule Example
By end of February
 Request a GoodFellow
 Have letter writers confirmed
By mid-March
 1st application draft to GoodFellow; comments received
By end of March
 2nd application draft to GoodFellow
Early to mid-April
 Comments received; final application draft to GoodFellow
 Contact letter writers to complete drafts
End of April
 Final comments received; final tweaks and proofing
 Encourage letter writers to get letters to PRSA HQ (Jesse Gwyn)
 Overnight Application to PRSA HQ or submit PDF electronically
Thurs, May 1, 2014 – Fellows Application Deadline
All materials, including letters of support, must be received by PRSA HQ
by 5 pm EDT.
What Is a GoodFellow?
GoodFellows are Fellows who:
are specially trained and prepared
coach applicants through the application
About GoodFellows
• Coaching is available and encouraged
• GoodFellows are neutral; they give you an extra,
knowledgeable set of eyes for your application
• GoodFellows are assigned – not personally selected by
• Ensures objectivity and preparedness to assist applicants
GoodFellow assignments will be made
January 27 – April 1, 2014
More About GoodFellows
• GoodFellows identify, encourage and coach applicants
• They don’t ensure selection
• They don’t approve, sign-off or write your application
• They can’t write a letter of support for you
• Respect their time. They may not be available the week
before applications are due
• At the same time, we ask our GoodFellows to respect your
How do I get my GoodFellow?
Request a GoodFellow by emailing:
[email protected]
Include your resume to expedite process
Important Dates
Apr 1
May 1, 2014
Late July
Fellows encourage qualified
PRSA members to apply
Application materials updated,
tools developed
Informational sessions held for
GoodFellows and potential
applicants; GoodFellows matched
with applicants
Chair appoints Selection Committee
Last GoodFellow assignments made
Applications due at PRSA HQ by
5 pm EST
Screening occurs
Selection Committee deliberates
PRSA Board reviews and approves
New Fellows notified
New Fellows installed, 2014
International Conference,
Washington, DC, October 11
Application Review Process
 Current Fellows Chair-Elect leads the Selection
 15 members:
 Fellows officers [mandatory]
 10 other Fellows selected to reflect geographic,
ethnic and occupational diversity; staggered
two-year terms for continuity
 At least one Fellow from the most recent class
Application Review Process
• EACH application receives an exhaustive review.
• Selection Committee members may verify an application
 Letter writers
 Employers
 PRSA members
 Fellows who know the applicant
 Others who might be expected to confirm
the applicant’s qualifications
• The Selection Committee deliberates and makes
recommendations to the PRSA Board of Directors,
the body that grants Fellows membership.
Frequently Asked Questions
• How many people apply … % accepted?
• What if my application is not accepted due to a
• What if my application is denied by the Selection
• What if I can’t meet the deadline due to extenuating
• Can my Chapter President write more than one letter to
be submitted with the Chapter Comment Form?
• Can I file the application electronically instead of sending
by mail?
Contact Information
• General contact:
[email protected]
• GoodFellows Co-Chairs:
 Anne Dubois, APR, Fellow PRSA
[email protected]
 Margaret Ann Hennen, APR, Fellow
[email protected]
• Staff Liaison:
 Jesse Gwyn
[email protected]

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