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Thread: Question regarding the AICP application

  1. #1
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    Question regarding the AICP application

    I'm working on the "Professional Planning Experience" portion of the application and I'm at a loss. Do I write this in the first person, talk about multiple projects or focus on one...? Does someone have an example of an answer they provided? Thanks for any help.

    Heather

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    first person; perhaps like a more elaborate "cover letter."

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Agreed 1st person - What I remember is that they want to know your own experience/invovlement in each of the questions.

    Your question - talk about multiple projects or focus on one...?
    A possible answer is the similiarities/common elements/process in multiple projects.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    The first time I applied I didn't have enough info in this portion, so I had to elaborate more. Don't be afraid to elaborate too much. For instance, instead of just writing that I assisted a consulting firm with a transit plan for our region, I wrote:

    "Our agency needed a plan to be done to analyze and improve the regional transit system in the 4-county region. After weighing the options, I recommended that the plan be outsourced. I prepared a request for proposals, assisted with the selection of the top firms, organized for the firms to present their proposals, assisted with the selection of the firm to go with, assisted the firm with required information and resources to help them complete the plan, and kept track of their deliverables until the plan was complete. Upon completion I arranged for the plan to be presented to the region, before leaving the job."

    And instead of just writing that I wrote staff reports for zoning changes to create residential subidivisions, I wrote:

    "Our County has been experiencing development pressures from the outer rim of the Chicago metropolitan area, so residential subdivisions were numerous. In the case of residential subdivisions a comprehensive approach was very imperative. Beginning with the zoning change, I would consider the character of the area, recommend against the fragmentation of farmland, urge development to occur on public water and sewer rather than on private well and septic, work with school districts to help ensure they would not be getting more students than they can handle, and recommend that growth occur in a balanced and compact way, etc. If the zoning was granted by the county board, I then would have to consider a number of aspects for the layout of the subdivision; is the lot size consistent with the area, is there access to public recreation (trails or parks), can emergency vehicles easy access all properties, do the lots meet the bulk requirements of the zoning ordinance, do the cul-de-sac lengths meet the requirements of the subdivision ordinance, etc. Though all zoning petitions were required to be reviewed employing a comprehensive point of view, residential subdivisions were the most common, most involved projects that I handled."

    As you can see, I've got it all in first person. Hope these examples help .

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Dashboard's avatar
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    You do not have to get too fancy with the writing style. I agree that you should tackle it like a cover letter. For mine, I simply answered each of the four categories with a bulleted list of paragraphs, detailing specific projects in relation to the particular category. It worked out fine...in fact, in the end, it helped me enhance my normal resume.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    AICP Application Questions

    Since there are more than a few people with fancy letters behind their names, I thought I would kick off asking some questions.

    To start, for the section dealing with employment verification and criteria, they ask for information on each employer, they want a 150 word essay on each of the following topics for each employer making sure your position met the criteria of being a “Planner”
    1. Influencing public decision making in the public interest.
    Recommending specific actions or choices to elected/appointed officials, private sector representatives, or others regarding public decisions concerned with social, economic, or physical change in the public interest.
    2. Employing an appropriately comprehensive point of view.
    Appropriate comprehensiveness requires: (1) looking at the consequences (e.g., physical/environmental, social, economic/financial, governmental) of making a proposed decision; (2) conforming a proposed decision to the larger context in which it will occur; and (3) treating multiple policies, actions, or systems simultaneously when interlinkages are too great to treat separately. It does not require looking at everything at once if the above three criteria are met with a proposal, plan, or program of narrower scope.
    3. Applying a planning process appropriate to the situation.
    This means a process which is appropriate to its place and situation in: (1) the number and order of its steps (e.g., problem/opportunity definition, goal setting, generating alternate strategies, strategy choice, implementation, evaluation), (2) its orientation to the future, to value change, and to resource constraints; (3) its quality of research and analysis; and (4) its format of policy, program, or plan proposal.
    4. Involving a professional level of responsibility and resourcefulness.
    This means initiative, judgment, substantial involvement, and personal accountability for defining and preparing significant substantive elements of planning activities.
    What I don’t understand is do they want specific job tasks examples that you have performed for each employer that relate to these criteria or is it more generalized such as:
    “Researched, drafted, and presented staff reports with recommendations regarding Zoning Board of Appeals variance requests.

    What thought process did you use in this section of the AICP application?
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  7. #7
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Since there are more than a few people with fancy letters behind their names, I thought I would kick off asking some questions.

    To start, for the section dealing with employment verification and criteria, they ask for information on each employer, they want a 150 word essay on each of the following topics for each employer making sure your position met the criteria of being a “Planner”


    What I don’t understand is do they want specific job tasks examples that you have performed for each employer that relate to these criteria or is it more generalized such as:
    “Researched, drafted, and presented staff reports with recommendations regarding Zoning Board of Appeals variance requests.

    What thought process did you use in this section of the AICP application?
    PM me and I can send you sample language I used back in 2001 when I applied.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner View post
    PM me and I can send you sample language I used back in 2001 when I applied.
    Hi,
    Iam interested in getting a copy of the verbage you used in the application. Is there a way I can contact you?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    One Exam

    The AICP exam is only one test to get your certification. I took about 40 exams, did numerous projects, and wrote dozens of pages of research and reports in graduate school to get my MPA.

    And I rarely use MPA behind my name.

    Am I missing something or what is the big deal?

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