Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How To Maneuver a College Transfer Fair

                                                                                                                                  by Elizabeth Reddy

Over the weekend of October 15-17, our chapter officers of Phi Theta Kappa at LaGuardia Community College, Alpha Theta Phi, attended a conference at the Selden, NY campus of Suffolk County Community College. There were several events for us to partake in such as general sessions involving keynote speakers, fellowship events like visiting the SCCC planetarium, and a college transfer fair with a scavenger hunt included.
The college transfer fair is not always an easy event to maneuver. For us students, we can be overwhelmed by the amount of colleges that come to provide information; at the conference, there were forty college information tables to visit. All the pamphlets and booklets they give you can be a handful, and the problem of whether or not you are asking the right questions to find the college appropriate for you and your desired major is a constant thought.
I've developed a list of tips that can help any student who is faced with the daunting and sometimes frustrating task of maneuvering a college transfer fair. These tips are meant to help you get the most out of the college fair, as well as finding the best matches for your major of choice. Hopefully, these will be helpful to you and will divide the task of going through each college table a whole lot easier!
1.      Before you start looking at the colleges and talking to the school representatives, ask yourself a few simple questions that will make things simple for you and the representative.
a.       What is your desired major?
b.      Do you want to stay local or are you willing to go out of state?
c.       Will you be receiving financial aid? If not, do you have a budget for the school you choose?

Also, try and keep in mind some other things that you are looking for in a school and that are important to you when choosing a college. Specifics are great when you’re having a difficult time deciding between two or three great schools. Ask the college reps anything about the schools that you’re curious about. Don’t be afraid—ask them while you have them in person, especially if you’re really interested in the school.
2.      Once you have your questions, you will also most likely be given a list of schools that are in attendance at the college transfer fair. Look it over! Organize the schools into order of priority, by schools you already know a little about (or ones you’re thoroughly interested in applying to), schools that are a possibility for you, and schools that are local. Cross out schools that you know for a fact do not have the major that you are interested in and are field-specific schools. For example, if you are a fine arts major, you can cross out NYIT which is a technology, math and science specific school.
3.      After you've organized your school into a list of who you want to visit first, be prepared to wait for some of them. If the first school you want to visit has a long line, move to the next one. Ask your questions, take information ONLY if you’re probably/definitely going to apply to the school. Signing up for the emails about school information is good to, but these schools WILL email you—some of them a lot, so be prepared for that too. Worst comes to worst, you can always unsubscribe from their emails
4.      Just keep visiting each of the schools that you've prioritized, moving on to the next one if there’s a long line. Once you've gotten all the information and asked your questions to the colleges that weren't so crowded, it’s time to play the waiting game. Chances are, the lines at the other tables haven’t gotten that much shorter. Have your questions ready since these schools are popular and the representatives want to answer as many questions as they can, that way when you get to the front of the line, or the front of the table, you will be able to get your questions out articulately and concisely.  When visiting these more popular schools, if they don’t give you one already, make sure that you ask the college representatives for a card. They will most likely be happy to give you one so that you can contact them further to ask them more questions and get more information.
5.      After you've visited all the colleges you wanted to, look over your list. Make sure you have information from all of the schools you want to apply to. All the information that you've collected is study material for you. This will help you narrow down your list of applications.
6.      Once you’re all finished, pat yourself on the back. You've just completed your first college transfer fair! It wasn't that bad, was it?

I hope these tips were helpful. Choosing colleges can be extremely overwhelming and daunting, but for those that come to these college transfer fairs with a good idea of what they’re looking for, the difficulty of the task is cut in half. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How to Deal With a Hot Head

by Peter Kim

Sometimes troublemakers appear in meetings and other social events. What should a chapter officer do in this situation? It is inevitable that will confront a troublemaker on some occasion. Are you going to fight with them? After attending an educational forum at the PTK International Conference on this issue, I have some ideas to help you.  What do I mean when I refer to individuals as troublemakers? An officer, who was elected but didn’t do anything during their term or a person who promised to do work but is always making excuses and being undependable are common types of trouble makers.
Most people feel uncomfortable confronting strangers and don’t know where to begin because lack of skill can make a situation worse. Therefore, a willingness to take action or start talking is the hardest part of  confronting a troublemaker. Once you decide to take action then the following tips will help you.
First, there is a power dynamic in every social relationship. It’s hard to converse with your superior because speaking with him or her is an uncomfortable situation since he or she has more power than you. So in some instances, a superior person would be a chapter president, he/she should not confront a troublemaker in every situation.  If a chapter president does that then a troublemaker will decide to flee or hide his/her true intention. Most people will show their true intention or needs while they feel equal with others like member to member but a chapter president has more authority than the general members. Therefore, neutralizing the power dynamic is the key. Make the troublemaker feel as if he/she is  talking to a person who is in same level, so he/she can freely express what he/she want to say. Secondly, try to converse in a neutral place besides the chapter office or chapter meeting place because these places could make a troublemaker  feel pressured. Thirdly, you (officers) have to be ready for every response from a troublemaker in the meeting. Troublemakers may attack you verbally or respond with a positive reaction. If you know how to correctly deal with the situation by saying please stop interrupting our meeting” and using improper behaviors, he/she may respond back by an apology and then you should accept.  A good tip to  stop a constant troublemaker in the meeting would be controlling of the attacker and yourself so that both of you don't become angry.  Anger will only make a situation worse so wait till the end of meeting and speak with troublemaker individually. All you need is one minute to say how their behavior is affecting you and others (members in the meeting place), because most troublemakers think their behaviors don’t affect others.

What Makes a Chapter Strong?

by Peter Kim

I believe every chapter officer wants to make their chapter strong and be competitive with other chapters.  I’m hoping that these tips will help you create a stronger chapter. General meetings are a way to communicate with members, and a perfect moment to explain chapter goals to fellow members. Now, how can you get more members or students to come to meetings?  Make the meeting time as convenient as possible and keep the meeting time consistent. Do not change the meeting time often, that will confuse students so a fewer number of students will appear. Set the general meeting agenda so that it is relevant to students’ needs such as providing transfer information or scholarship information with actual recipients’ stories. This will attract more members to attend the meetings.
The Chapter needs to encourage more members to volunteer on the HIA and College Projects. If more members become involved in chapter activities, more information and ideas will be shared . Therefore, membership retention and members engagements are essential parts of a strong chapter. How we can increase members’ involvement? Many students are  hesitant to engage with a new environment or academic activities that they think are not going to benefit them. Therefore, the chapter officers’ team has to demonstrate their strong leadership skills and develop an environment where that members are freely contributing to the chapter. However, you should not put too much pressure on members who decide to volunteer because too much responsibility will be a burden for them to handle. Try giving them relatively easy PTK tasks such as writing  blog entries or posting PTK event posters  and report their success during the general meetings. This will provide them with confidence and a feeling of accomplishment. Therefore, they will want to become more involved in activities and tasks. Please don’t forget this. Chapter officers must make the effort to sustain constant communication with volunteers so they won’t feel left out, but part of team. These tips are what make a chapter stronger and would make more chapter members actively involved in chapter activities.

NASA : The risks and rewards of exploring outer space

by Christian Glatz

“Earth is the cradle of mankind, but one cannot live in the cradle forever” (Konstantin Tsiolkovsky).  We are destined to explore, when you observe a toddler the one thing he wants to do more than anything is crawl and go off to the unknown… and place anything he finds in his mouth, but I digress.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established on July 29, 1958. NASA’s main purpose is to conduct aeronautics and aerospace research, focused on better understanding Earth through space.
During the Nerd Nation convention I attended an Educational Forum headed by NASA’s Director of safety and Mission Assurance from the Kennedy Space Center, he gave us a first-hand look at the risks and rewards of exploring celestial frontiers.
So, have you ever thought “What does NASA do for me?” Well, do you like your polarized sun glasses? Or your cellphone? How about using GPS to navigate while driving? Or have you ever used Velcro??. In order for humans to be able to survive in space, scientist have to come up with cutting edge technology which then is used for everyday life. This research does not come cheap, during the 1960’s NASA got as much as 5 billion dollars (Today’s money is $33 billion), at the same time that’s when technology had an exponential growth. The money was used to send humans to the moon, place research satellites around the earth, send research robots to Mars, and send exploration satellites outside of our solar system.
Exploration outside our planet is very risky, even though we have developed automation, there are some things robots can’t do and that’s why we need astronauts. NASA has thousands of people that work day and night making sure that our astronauts can go out, conduct the research, and then come back home alive. A research study conducted to identify how many asteroids are around our solar system that can potentially strike earth concluded that there are over 15 thousand of them. The effort now a days is to understand asteroids and figure out a way to prevent their collision with earth.
Going back to the budget, unfortunately the it has been decreased so much that NASA had to retire all the space shuttles and now we have to pay other countries about 63 million dollars per astronaut to be able to send them to the international space station and allow them to conduct further research.
I believe an agency dedicated to exploration, and whose research byproducts benefit us all should continue getting funds. We don’t want to take a risk and be annihilated by an asteroid, when we can prevent it. An example of an asteroid impacting earth in the last 100 years, look up TUNGUSKA EVENT.

Top Transfer Tips: From the Present to Your Future

by Heebeom Yang

As a future graduate student, I want to plan my future educational journey. This is why I attended the Top Transfer Tips education forum at the PTK International Convention in Orlando, Florida. This forum explained how to carry the success I have found at my two-year college with me as I transfer to my four-year college.
Different people have different goals to achieve during their educational journey. It is true that two-year colleges act as a stepping-stone to a four-year college and a bachelor’s degree. If we want to take this path, we should make our plans ahead of time and ask questions to four-year college advisors because each college has its own requirements. The most important thing we can do to make the transfer process run smoothly is plan ahead. For example, Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences requires their transfer students to take Statistics, Calculus 1 and English composition. Also, they have an optional requirement to take a one year biology course. The forum presenter emphasized the importance of meeting optional requirements for getting admission to Cornell University. He told me that optional requirements are  not mandatory, but are preferred by colleges. So, when people do not understand this fact, they  are missing out on their opportunity to be admitted to the 4 year college of his or her choice. The forum leader also mentioned that people, who do not meet the optional requirements have only a 13 %  acceptance rate; however, for people who do fulfill the optional requirements, the acceptance rate is 26%. This means that meeting optional requirements will increase your probability of being admitted to the college of your choice.
If I had attended this educational forum before applying to Cornell, I might have received an admission letter from them. Unfortunately, I didn’t grab the opportunity to take the optional classes. I want to emphasize the importance of meeting optional requirements. I hope that this information  can help you to get admitted to your dream school.

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