Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How to Survive Getting Into College

How to Survive Getting Into College (Hundreds of Heads Books,, $13.95) offers real-world tips and advice from hundreds of former high school seniors who have been through the college admissions process and succeeded. The book follows in the footsteps of Hundreds of Heads’ bestselling college life guide, How to Survive Your Freshman Year – and contains the best tips, stories, and advice on the college application process based on interviews with students from over 100 colleges—both public and private—across the country.

The book was edited by former Ivy League college admissions officer, Rachel Korn., who offers great tips for acing the admissions processand getting into the college of your dreams. Korn says admissions officers focus on three important factors in students’ applications:

1. A genuine feel for the applicant's personality.

2. A contribution to the school.

3. Whether the applicant is maximizing their environment and their talents.

Korn, points out in How to Survive Getting Into College that an applicant can never know too much about their target schools. She says:

1. Research, research, research. Through the school’s website and/or a college tour, learn as much as possible about the school’s academic and cultural atmosphere. Knowledge about the university will prepare the applicant to sit down and successfully complete the application.

2. Tailor the application to the school - know the characteristics it values. Convey through essays how the school “matches” the student. Listen to admissions officers' presentations and glean from reading school materials if there are initiatives (especially new ones) that should be mentioned.

3. Let college counselor and teachers know about you top choice and why. They can reflect that in their letters to bolster the student’s sincerity to the admissions committee. DO NOT attempt this with a school that is not a favorite. Admissions officers will figure it out.

Korn also shares some of the top mistakes students make in applying to schools, including:

1. Failure to research. Apply ONLY to schools where there is a match with interests (size, academics, culture).

2. Seeking a "big name" for a recommendation and thinking that this is the ticket into a school. Recommenders who know the student best are those to choose. A fancy title is not impressive if the recommender does not know the person.

3. Using public websites to try to predict chances of admissions or to learn about a school. NO ONE can predict chances of admission, certainly not peers who see nothing more than lists of grades and activities.

Finally, Korn offers these top 5 tips for acing the college admissions processand getting into the college of your dreams (for more – buy the book!):

1. APPLY to about 5 or 6 schools with a few true safety schools (including at least 1 public school) and a few reach schools.

2. WRITE an essay that shows what makes you tick - do not write an essay that you think an admissions committee wants to read.

3. ASK questions of your interviewer - the interview is a two-way street and you should approach the interview as a conversation.

4. FIND positive, true passions to fill your time - there is no "right" activity, so choose a passion not an obvious resume builder.

5. DRESS to casually impress when you visit schools - you never know, you could meet your admissions officer.

Excerpted from How to Survive Getting Into College (Hundreds of Heads Books,, $13.95, ISBN 1-933512-05-9), available at your favorite bookstore or online bookseller. Hundreds of Heads Books’ offer the wisdom of the masses by assembling the experiences and advice of hundreds of people who have gone through life’s biggest challenges and have insight to share. Visit to share your advice or get more information. And for some free, weekly advice for entering freshmen – sign up for the Hundreds of Heads “Advicemail” series, at

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tough Economic Times Calls For Strong Leadership

Strong Leadership Needed in

Challenging Economic Times

by Hugh Ballou

“When times get tough, the tough get going.” - Anon.

"Nothing else in the world... not all the armies... is so powerful as an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo

- Economic News Headlines -

“GMAC posts $2.5 billion loss in 2nd quarter”

“Auto parts supplier Dana to cut 2,500 more jobs”

“Sara Lee swings to loss based on wheat costs”

Each day in the news we hear of the problems and/or failures in companies, such as mentioned in the headlines above. These companies are having a hard time in this difficult economy. How can you protect your company from these same kinds of problems? I don't claim to know what the problems were at these companies, but here are some examples and suggestions to help you protect your company during these difficult economic times.

In the challenging state of the economy, good leaders shine and poor leaders are exposed as ineffective. In many situations, the fate of organizations could rest on the skill of the leader. The way decisions are made and the attitude of the organization is key to success in tough economic times.

Symptoms of Poor Leadership

In the stress caused by a down economy, weak leaders and those they lead can be paralyzed by seeing only problems and challenges. This brings out negative actions by leaders. Here’s a list of behaviors that negatively influence employees and team members:

· Control: Asking for too many reports (sales calls, activity logs, etc.) that take time and send a message of mistrust.

· Micromanagement: Setting activities and schedules to tell employees not only what to do, but also how to do it. This sends a message of lack of confidence.

· Blaming: The leader blames others for situations beyond their control, or worse yet, blames others for situations they have created through poor leadership. This sends a message in incompetence.

· Silos: Departments or divisions draw into their ‘”own space” and do not effectively communicate or relate to the others. This sends a message of a hidden agenda.

· Attitude: A negative attitude not only makes hard work more difficult, but it instigates other negative attitudes. This sends a message that failure in ahead.

· Obstacles: False evidence appears to be real. A poor leader sees only obstacles and is bound by the restrictions implied by these obstacles. This sends a message of fear.

Solutions Provided by Strong Leadership

As some organizations cut back and build trenches for hibernation fearing loss, visionary leaders choose to put resources into building systems, strategies, skills and relationships to address the existing market. Here are some actions that strong leaders take:

· Training: Put resources into building skills of leaders and team members. This results in improved skills for addressing the future.

· Planning: Build action plans to address obstacles. This results in a culture that reframes barriers into opportunities.

· Coaching: The effective leader always has a coach and learns to coach team members. This results in improved relationships.

· Empowering: Allow team members to utilize their skills and talents and mentor them with information and strategies as well as budget. This results in new paradigms. This results in greater synergy in the team.

· Envisioning: Brainstorming and planning the future with team members creates trust and new ideas for action plans. This results in increased trust.

· Affirming: Along with allowing team members to utilize their skills, affirm good work. This results in the refocus of apathy into enthusiasm.

· Reframing: Be the model of what you expect from your team. Look at possibilities, not limitations. Be honest about the facts while looking at the options. This results in improved attitude.

· Reorganizing: Consider realignment of tasks and duties. Some team members many have become stale in their area of responsibility and the reassignment of duties might spark some interest. This results in greater ownership of the whole vision as well as individual areas of responsibility.

· Collaborating: Build cross-disciplinary project teams. People from different departments or divisions can team with others creating new visions for success. This results in greater effectiveness since tasks can be swapped and combined.

In challenging times the effective leader and a leader in training can demonstrate their worth to the organization. It’s a time to concentrate to building resources, strengthening relationships, fine-tuning systems and structures and working to improve personal skills. The great leader always articulates and shares goals and stays focused on the vision for the future.

As a final note, be sure to celebrate. Each success can be a celebration that brings momentum to the next accomplishment.

Hugh Ballou

Hugh Ballou is president of SynerVision International, Inc., an international consulting, coaching, and training practice in Blacksburg, Virginia. His unique insights for leadership training and teamwork come from his 40-years of experience as choral and orchestral conductor bringing harmony and synergy to group process. Hugh’s specialty is working with business owners as process coach and business strategist with clients in many countries.

His skill in teaching the collaborative leadership model is practical and proven in the trenches with his work in mega churches, non-profit organizations and businesses of all types.

He has published five books on Transformational Leadership: Moving Spirits, Building Lives: Church Musician as Transformational Leader, Moving Spirits, Building Lives A Workbook for Transformational Leaders, Building High Performance Teams: Systems and Structures for Leading Teams and Empowering Transformation, Leaders Transform: A Transformational Leadership Resource (Fall 2008), and his newest book: Transforming Power: Stories from Transformational Leaders to Inspire and Encourage and numerous articles on Transformational Leadership.

For more information

Transforming Power:

Hugh Ballou:

Book information is available at

For full tour details, visit -

A SPECIAL BONUS TO EACH PERSON WHO PURCHASES TRANSFORMING POWER TODAY – Hugh Ballou has compiled a list of great FREE bonus gifts for anyone who purchases Transforming Power today. To see a sample of the items that are being given away, visit Just buy a copy of Transforming Power, return to this page and click to submit your invoice number to receive the web page link to download all of these gifts for FREE.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How to Submit

It can be very beneficial to tie your book subject with current events. This is especially effective with press releases, blogs and online articles. These examples will show how this promotion works. Do you have an example of an article or press release which ties your book to a current event? If you have a topic related to your book that is in the news, contact me at nikki_leigh22939 at

Review the posts on the site to see various examples of how other people used current events to promote their books.