Hey, I'm writing scholarship essays so I can get... well, some monies. I thought some of you experienced people might be able to help me with some peer reviewing here.
Just post a section that you would revise or provide feedback I guess, idk
1. If you had the authority to change your school in a positive way, what specific changes would you make?
The problem starts with money, where in this depressed economy, it's about as rare as C-type batteries: it's out there, but you're not sure how or where to get it. It's a shame because it always seems those wanting to really learn are the same who never have the resources to be able to do it. I believe everyone should have the chance to learn and get proof of an education. I've been lucky to call North Hennepin Community College my academic home for the last few semesters, but with the lack of money I might be finding myself academically "homeless". It's not that I don't have the capability to learn and succeed; that's well intact, it's that I don't have the money to carry on. If I had the authority to change something about my school, I would implement a variety of programs that would ensure that students who show academic promise and motivation have the opportunity to continue schooling and be given the chance to have something to barter for their education with. Among these programs would include a Grading Reward program, an extended work study system and effectively socializing some classes.
The Grading reward program would be my first course of action to enforce. The main theme around this notion is behavior encouragement via cash rewards. Money provides a very good incentive for people in any situation, and education is no different. I believe that if a more immediate prize was dangled in front of the generic prospective student, not only could it help said student in the short term, but it will hold them over in the long run until they can land that high-paying job they're hoping to get one day. For those who work hard to achieve that "A" status, they would would not only be rewarded with that feeling of accomplishment, but also a sizeable reimbursement for their hard work. "B" status members would receive a smaller reimbursement, and the prize would decrease in increments for each consecutive rung on the grading ladder. To be consistently fair though, those unable to reach a refundable status would receive enough help so that they can feasibly reach at least some refund. One might be worried about the funding of such a program, but it all could presumably be sponsored by a number of different organizations: any collegiate institution or even the government itself. All it would require is that the sponsor views paying for education as a worthwhile investment, advancing whatever interest they might hold. Either way, Grading rewards could be a win/win situation, promoting hard work and additionally, giving students with lower incomes a bit more control over their financial needs.
My second order of business would be an extended work study system. When I first heard of work study I was impressed with the overall concept: allowing students to work for their education by providing a service back to the school. It's a very good way to keep students involved not only with their own learning, but the school itself. Student employees run around, doing paperwork, random administrative duties, and even janitorial work in some cases. I want to take this a step further and create a self-run microcosmic community. Student workers, with their own education as an incentive, would be a very inexpensive and useful tool for implementing school maintenance work, bookkeeping and administrative duties, and tutoring or help resources. Every student should be able to hold an on-campus job, whether it is wanton gruntwork or if it somehow is related to his/her area of study. Keeping with my main theme, money would play a vital role in this whole arrangement though perhaps not as actual fiat money, but maybe through a localized credit system. A student's work output would affect his/her continuance in the academic world, providing another stream of control. Much like a real job though, if a student's performance is lacking or somehow found unsatisfactory, the possibility of being fired is still present. This marriage between a simulated work environment and financial aid benefits many students at North Hennepin, and if extended, it could benefit so many more.
Lastly, there are some classes that I would make readily available for any and every person, student or non-student alike. Honestly, there are a large number of classes that would benefit almost anybody, and to me seem like they are an essential form of knowledge. Take for instance some of the courses lined up for the Leadership Certificate. Classes like "Communicating with Difficult People", "Leading Teams", and "Powerful Communication Skills" teach just what the name implies, and one would think that these are skills that everybody should know rather than those who choose to walk the path of the Project manager or CEO. One of the main obstacles for taking a class like this among time and motivation is, of course, money. While these all would be valuable classes, all cost upwards of $139.00, which is fine for whoever can afford it, but the point is that it should be available to anyone, regardless of wealth.
In conclusion, if I had the power, I would help students jump over financial barriers and even eliminate some when it comes to education. Rewarding Grades would be a good incentive for any student to acheive more, and in some cases would be an investment for the funding party. Work programs could be expanded to lower school maintenance and administrative costs, provide pseudo-job experience and still help pay for schooling all at the same time. Lastly, if some vital classes were made completely free to the public, we could have a generally more educated populace, and the added benefit of all-inclusion. Granted, it's not a solve-all answer, but it is a refreshing break from the usual cutthroat capitalism the world revolves around.
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Describe the three characteristics of leadership you value most. Discuss whether you believe you possess some or all of these qualities, and describe an experience where you developed and/or demonstrated some or all of these traits.
Leadership is a term I'd heard tossed around for as long as I could remember. Whenever it fell upon my ears, it came with connotations of authority, power and a very outgoing personality. Thinking this of leadership, it was easy for me to conclude that I could never be a successful leader. This was not true though, because as the oldest sibling in my family, I was forced into a leadership position. As I grew older, I was able to widen my definition of a leader into something more practical, and additionally something I could realistically become. Instead of an unchallenged dictator, I realized that among these things, a leader should most importantly be a good motivator, open to compromise and should have some experience in the field in which he/she is leading.
Being a good motivator is an essential part of being a good leader. Members of a team can sustain a good work pace for a reasonable amount of time usually, but when things get rough, drab and tedious, the leader has got to make sure the workers stay on top of things. The dictator leader could exercise his/her executive powers here to get what is wanted to be done, but it's better to reach out and increase morale so that the team will not only get the tasks done, but do the work with a smile or at least without desperate complaining. A good example of motivation is illustrated perfectly when I need to get my brothers and sister to help me clean up around the house. Everyone knows that chores are a death sentence to any kid 5 and above, so to avoid doing it all alone, I knew I had to incorporate something entertaining that would mask what they were really doing. The game was called "Vaccuum the Cat", and as the name suggests, I had them chase around the cats as they vaccuumed the carpet. Thanks to our cats' terrible reasoning skills, they managed to clean up the whole living room and scored upwards of seven points -- 1 for each encounter. Fortunately, our cats are pretty forgiving, and haven't called PETA yet. In this situation, motivation proved to be very successful and no doubt helped get the house cleaned faster than a dictatorship would have.
A good leader should always be open to compromise. Rather than being too easily swayed or having a completely closed mind, anyone in a leadership role should take into consideration everyone's needs and ideas and be willing to negotiate terms, conditions, ideas, or work distribution. It's rare that people ever agree completely with one another, and the bigger the team, the less likely that possibility is. A leader should know how to make these ends meet to maximize the amount of satisfied patrons. Compromise is an essential part of any creative project. Take this example for instance: I am in a rock band with 2 other people, which we have decided to choose no clear frontman. Though we are friends, this does not mean that we have similar creative thought or for that matter, taste in music. I lean more towards a garage rock sound, the other likes a mixture of oldies and tongue in cheek, parody-like songs and the other one likes the rap/hip-hop genre. When we play improvisational music, the results are quite interesting to say the least and we oftentimes end up with mixed opinions. Compromise enters the picture, and suddenly we find ourselves modifying our original visions of the songs until all of us have an equally rationed say in the final product. The result is usually much better than any of us could have imagined, so compromise among 3 different leaders proved its worth.
Though it may seem like a no-brainer, prior experience is needed in a good leader. It's not necessarily a dealbreaker in some cases, but if for instance a coach was to choose a captain for his team, would he not choose one of his most experienced players? There are exceptions to this rule, like say choosing the most talented individual skill-wise or picking the most popular player, but it is generally much safer to choose based on experience. In my Java Programming class, we are often split up into teams to work on group programs. Our professor first chooses team leaders to spearhead each project and help the other group members learn the programming basics of Java. Team leaders have mostly been students with previous background in programming, so it's almost like having a semi-private tutor. The times I've been a team leader, I let my group members decide on the creative part of the planning and I simply translated their thoughts into actual programming, and suggested ideas as we went along. Had I not known how to program as fluently as I did, I would not have been as useful as a team leader, and we would have had a difficult time figuring out the correct commands to type in. Apply this same concept to any other team situation, and most will agree that experience plays a very important role in the success of a team, and the reputation of a leader.
A leader is a good motivator, good at compromising, and has the experience necessary for the job, and I believe I fit these criterion. When there is a task that needs to be done, I try my best to motivate and entertain everyone involved. When there are disagreements between the party, I am willing to compromise and convince others to compromise as well, for the greater good. Experience is something I am lacking however, and that can be only solved with time and simply doing more. Where my experience does apply, I can lead others to success. Not all leaders are or will be like this, but as long as I am being followed, this is how I will carry on.