Monday, January 13, 2014

Aiming to Get Into a Psychology Doctoral Program? 3 Factors You Need to Consider!

One of the biggest mistakes that students make when applying to psychology doctoral programs is to rely on their GPA and GRE scores as a compass measuring their chances of getting in. What you may not have learned from your classes or even your participation in the Psychology Club is that psychology doctoral programs tend to admit "holy grail" students straight out of undergrad - those students who have those objective criteria at a minimum. You will need much more to get into graduate school. What other factors should you consider when preparing for advanced study in doctoral programs?

Research Experience

Psychology doctoral programs run on an apprenticeship model, meaning that you will likely be admitted with a faculty mentor that shares your research interests. However, more and more graduate programs are expecting that you will walk into the door with prior research experience. How do you get this research experience? Check for flyers around your Psychology Department on campus advertising for research assistants. If you cannot find any, ask a graduate student or even volunteer to work with one of your professors. Chances are that they will be happy to have you work with them on data entry and simple analyses, provided that you understand statistics, and that you are reliable and trustworthy! Does your university offer the option of enrolling in a Senior Thesis or Honors Thesis course? Ask an undergraduate advisor and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Scientific Writing Skills

Do you know the ins and outs of APA style? What about the specific conventions of scientific writing? Lots of people tend to think of the counseling, human practice side of psychology, but one commonality of Ph.D. level doctoral programs is an emphasis on research. You will spend many years as a doctoral student working to develop your own research projects, piloting data, and even submitting manuscripts over to academic journals. As a result, it pays to come into a doctoral degree program with a great understanding on scientific writing skills.

Consider Joining Psi Chi

Psi Chi is an international honor society for psychology. Not only will membership in this organization look good on your resume, but you will be able to network with like-minded students. Think about it: Where are you most likely to interact with other students who are serious about getting into graduate school? Getting involved may give you an insider edge to hearing about promising summer programs designed to give you the tools to develop a competitive edge through the graduate admissions process. And another plus to add to your resume may be leadership skills gained through volunteering and working with such a prestigious organization.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Enriched Summer Reading Program

All of the work your children put in during the school year can be lost over the summer holidays. Reading, math, other information, and skills must be used to be retained. It is easier for children to get back in the groove of learning when autumn rolls around, if during the summer break they are given a chance to exercise what they have learned. Your children will be more motivated to exercise their skills if the practice sessions are fun. With that in mind, here are some ideas of activities to include in your child's summer plans to help sustain their reading and math skills.

Visit a state or local park which offers programs for children. Parks are wonderful places to learn about nature or history. Many parks offer docent-led tours and have special events or activities for children. There are signposts explaining park details which children can read aloud. In addition to these learning opportunities, parks offer great ways to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.

Iron Chef HOUSE. Cooking is an important life skill since eating is essential to continued survival. Have your child cook a meal for the family once a week. Skills your child will practice include reading, following instructions, understanding fractions, and learning about good nutrition.

Trip Planner. Are you planning to take a trip this summer? No matter how far you plan to travel, your child can benefit by helping you plan the trip. Get maps or connect to the internet. Have your child calculate how far you have to travel, what route you will take, how much it will cost, and where you might stop along the way. If the first trip agenda turns out to be too expensive, figure out where costs could be trimmed (stay closer to home, spend less time at your destination, include fewer side trips, eat at less expensive restaurants, get sandwich fixings at the grocery store for lunches, and so on). Have your child do as much of the planning as possible. Factoring how long it takes to drive to Yellowstone or budgeting for five days of meals for your trip are very real uses for math skills.

Summer Reading Program at the library. Local libraries usually run Summer Reading Programs. Help your child participate by visiting the library weekly and signing up for the program. These programs usually encourage children to read a wide selection of books. Once your child has read a certain number of books they are recognized for their achievements.

Summer Journal. Buy your child a blank journal or notebook and encourage them to keep a daily journal of happenings. It does not matter if there are no big events planned for the summer. The weather conditions, names of plants as they flower in the garden, thoughts your child may have, their daily activities, the activities of their little brother or sister, and anything else that is of interest to them can be jotted down in their journal. Recording their day gives them a chance to recall enjoyable happenings and is a great source for the "What did you do this summer?" essay they will write in September.

Independent Reading. Encourage any reading your child does of their own accord. If your son wants read about baseball, let him. A book or article he finds personally interesting will not only reinforce valuable reading skills, but will also spark his curiosity about the meanings of new words.

The summer break from school can be fun and an opportunity to reinforce key skills. Try including at least one of these suggestions to help your child practice knowledge they have acquired while in school. It will make returning to school a little easier.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Generate Business During the Summer Slowdown

Does your business slow down in the summer months? Do you need income NOW? Here are a few tips to use this time to your advantage, and earn income along the way.

Announce an affiliate program. Chances are, if business is slow for you, it is because it is also slow for your clients, and they are also looking for ways to earn additional income. Announce an affiliate program to current clients to drum up new business. Rewarding clients for bringing in potential clients will pay off for both of you.

Reconnect with past clients for projects or referrals. Reach out to former clients and let them know you have an opening this summer. Perhaps they are gearing up for a product release in the fall. Or, maybe they've had a product on the back burner for awhile. If they don't need your services, perhaps they know somebody who does - ask for a referral.

Create an information product, or bring back an old favorite. If you have a difficult time writing when you're busy with client work, the slower summer months are a great time to finally crank out that e-book you've been mulling over. Or, consider bringing back a favorite at a special price, for a limited time, and generate some income with very little effort.

Out of town, not out of mind. Keep that income, and your message out there, even if you are at the beach. If you are going to be away for vacation, ensure that your marketing and e-commerce is systemized so it keeps running when you are not. Set up and schedule your e-newsletter, article submissions and blog posts ahead of time, if possible, and if necessary, ask an associate or assistant to be sure they are going out on track that week, and have her follow up with a few tweets and posts while you are away.

Invest in yourself and your business. While the phone's not ringing off the hook, and your inbox is a bit lighter, perhaps now is a good time for you to reassess aspects of your company and its offerings, brush up on social media, or work on a new business idea. You may have a product in development, or need to spruce up your web presence, or even your office space. Never seem to have time to work on your business or marketing plans? Do you or your team need to brush up on technology? There is no better time than the present. The idea is to set something in motion that will improve your bottom line over the coming year, if not in the immediate future.

Don't let the dog days of summer slow you down! Use your savvy to generate business, sales, and potential clients during this traditional down time, and you'll find yourself ahead of the game when the busy season starts!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Summer Time and Summer Crime

Summer is almost here and soon school will be out, and families will be going on vacations and then things will become interesting. If you've been following my other writings on preventing home break-ins and you've been doing something to make yourself less a target then you're a head of the game.

However, while you are planning your vacation, criminals are preparing to go to work in your neighborhood. Some of these criminals are school age kids.

According to the FBI crime statistics the crime rates increase between six and sixteen percent, depending on the crime, during the summer. So what makes these months so different from the rest of the year for criminals? The FBI reports that all crimes rise about 10% during these months, with murder raising about 16% and rape and other violent crimes increase by about 13%. In other words, almost all crimes increase during June, July and August. This includes home break-ins, vandalisms, and robberies

The not so nice and bored school kids and young adults get into more trouble with drugs and alcohol, as well as become involved with more incidents of theft and assault. There are many factors that contribute to this. Summer break means that schools are out and kids have nothing constructive to do. We are no longer the agriculture society we used to be where the youth would work on farms. For those that live in the city, the odd factory jobs went overseas with the factories. Other experts, believe that the hot days of summer makes some people get agitated more easily and over-react. Tourists are not the only ones becoming victims, but residents like you as well. The heat, the excitement, and perhaps the view of young girls and guys causes some people to forget about common sense safety and precautions such as locking doors and windows of homes and cars. While vacationers have a one-track mind of the beach, criminals have a one-track mind of getting into your house or car or getting your money or valuables.

So what can you do to protect yourself and your family? Here are a few tips.

To protect young people (from themselves):

  • Have a nice healthy discussion about respect, the law, and consequences.
  • Have your children observe the curfew hours (if any) or you should set times for them to be home. In my day you had to be in the house before sundown.
  • Work with other parents in your community to watch the children in your neighborhood, and also watch each others house.

To prevent bicycle theft:

  • Be sure to secure or lock your bicycle to a stationary object like a tree. The best locking device is a hardened steel u-shaped lock. (It's best to avoid locks, chains or cables that can easily be cut or broken.)
  • Make sure both wheels are locked and remove any accessories that can easily be removed.
  • You can opt to remove the front tire (if it's easy to do), to make the bike less attractive.

To prevent lawn mower theft:

  • Keep the lawn mower in a locked garage or shed. (chained if you have to)

Yard security:

  • Educate yourself on Home Security counter measures.

  • If you're working in the front yard, lock the back door and garage. If you're working in the back yard, lock the front door and garage. (yes you can get robbed even when you are home)

  • Having a privatcy fences can prevent neighbors from watching out for each other. Consider chain link or picket type fencing.

  • If you have to have a privacy fence consider getting a dog (or beware of Dog sign)

  • Residential lighting should be used to light up home entry points. Motion detector lights are an inexpensive deterrent for areas where continuous lighting is unnecessary.

Other Security Tips

  • Take the time to learn what you need to know to help protect yourself, your family and your valuables!

  • Join your neighborhood watch program and inform your neighbors when you are leaving town and when you are coming back. Ask them to collect your mail and newspapers or have the postal service hold your mail until you return. Old newspapers and piled up mail in the mailbox is the number one sign for burglars that no one is home.

  • You can also contact the local police department and let them know you are leaving, and ask for them to check your residence.

  • Make sure all of your house doors and windows are locked before leaving and triple check them.

  • When you're parked on vacation or just at the grocery store, roll your car windows all the way up and lock you doors. DOUBLE CHECK!

  • Don't have your valuables visible. Lock your cell phones, GPS systems, etc in your glove compartment or truck. The only thing protecting your valuables is breakable glass.

  • If your out and about as a tourist in a strange town have your pepper spray.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

After The Vines Of Summer - The Need For A Master Plan

A permit and a promise

The reality in the Gulf Coast of Mississippi can be seen in the building permits in the front window of almost every home fading fast due to the hot summers sun. They are analogous to the hopes of the occupants battling insurance companies, waiting on long promised grants, and waiting on volunteers to complete work when materials become available.

It is impossible to reconcile the incongruity between volunteers helping the people of Waveland and developers seeking to profit from reconstruction. And added to that dilemma is the reality that neither money nor an updated building code is going to save the area from the next devastating storm with a 20 foot tidal surge. It happened before in 1969, it happened in 2005, and it will happen again. The rest of the world believes this is all "fixed" and have moved to other endeavors and interests.

Not an instant soluntion

We, as volunteers, toil on as this is all part of the long term recovery plan for those that have chosen to stay. Owners of 80,000 homes in Mississippi want to get their homes built in the next six months. Reality dictates it will take up to five years. Someone will be first, someone will be last. All are on one waiting list or another. All believe they are at the top of the list somewhere and no one wants to burst their bubble and suggest that we might have to go to a lottery for volunteer assistance in order to make this equitable.

All that debris

Summer has hidden a lot of the remaining debris in the vegetation. Winter approaches fast and nature will reveal all that long lost debris from under the vines of summer. FEMA is left to track down and haul off the dwindling elusive debris one piece at a time and note the spiraling unit cost of cleanup. Now it's down to "hunt and peck" whereas before it was everywhere and within easy reach.

The long term plan?

The Long Term Recovery Committees battle politics - both internal and external brought on by the lack of true leadership, funds, the never ending grant writing saga and a critical shortage of Case Mangers - paid or volunteer. Post traumatic stress is showing clearly on the long term volunteers who have remained steadfast despite the overwhelming demands on their time and dwindling volunteer resources due to lack of preemptive marketing. No one allowed a budget for a marketing plan to recruit volunteers. No one is truly marketing on a National scale as there is no entity in charge of that part of the equation. Nor has any organization stepped in to take on that task although many have suggested it would be a "good idea" at the never ending meetings coordinators and case managers attend on a weekly basis.

The Hancock Long Term Recovery Committee can not even agree to give its participating members a list of the homes they have accepted into the program - the net result some organizations find themselves working on a home that is on the LTRC list by accident and not by design thus complicating the LTRC response. Of the 46 projects the LTRC have accepted that fit their stringent guidelines - only one has been completed and it has been weeks since any of the Case Mangers have been given an update. Any complaints are ignored and emails remained unanswered with the committee leaders believing the problems will go away if they avoid the issues.

An incomplete census

And the success is measured one house at a time - and events are truly a joyous. No one really knows how many - no one entity is collecting the data. Prior to the storm Waveland had 10,000 residents. At the anniversary of Katrina in 2006 it was estimated that 2,500 had come back home. No one really knows - the needs assessment for Hancock County has only returned 1400 complete responses for the entire County. By design the method of data collection for the Needs Assessment was going to reveal a hit and miss response as there was no follow up on the non responsive addresses. Paperwork is so overwhelming that most have long tired of requests to fill in forms - so a non responsive address does not reveal a true result.

How many volunteers?

Nor do we know how many volunteers are on the ground, the organizations they represent, or their long term plans on continued assistance. There never was a mandate to register the volunteers or the organizations. The structure of assistance is a conglomerate that forces the home owners to go from church to church, disaster relief organization to disaster relief organization - registering on each and every list they can find.

Consclusion

The lack of an overall plan for reconstruction is clearly showing in the end result - slow return of the region to its former population levels, and the fact that only 12,000 trailers have been returned in Mississippi alone in over a year since the storm.

It is time for a Volunteer Summit with all participating Volunteer Organizations invited in order to develop a comprehensive plan and elect panel to oversee the volunteer response and develop a marketing plan to attract more volunteers. This panel needs a true leader; consisting of members with a comprehensive vision and the patience and wisdom of Jobe who truly have worked in the trenches on the ground and know the nuts of bolts of what it takes to get the job done. They must be able to separate themselves from ego, overwhelming personalities, personal agendas and individual mission statements of the participating organizations and work towards an end result that benefits all the victims equitably despite their varying fiscal abilities to recover. It is time to develop a comprehensive recovery Master Plan.