My new BOOK!!!

My new BOOK!!!
Improve your leadership relationships

My Leadership Workbook

My Leadership Workbook
The Accompanying Workbook

Friday, November 13, 2009

Getting Ready for College

Every year high school seniors and their families across the US, begin the process of applying, writing essays and seeking acceptance to higher education. For many, the hand wringing and worry have just begun. The education choices have never been more plentiful; between universities, colleges and technical schools a student can learn almost anything. From purely academic subjects that develop the whole human being, to the strictly technical topics that teach a very particular skill.

As a student is looking for a school, the Internet can be a very useful tool. Most schools have web pages that allow you to see the facilities the school has to offer, as well as biographies of the instructors and even pictures of the student body allowing the prospective student to get a feel of the school environment. However with the abundance of school choices available, the student has to beware of schools that are not properly accredited. Accreditation is important because accreditation is student’s and the employer’s guarantee a school is really teaching the curriculum they say they are and aren’t just a diploma mill.

I’m sad to say that the diploma mills have gotten smarter and have developed websites for fake accreditation groups. How does a student know one from another? One way is to find the website for a professional organization for your chosen profession and ask them for the accreditation governing body. This will allow you to know the school you have chosen is fully accredited.

After a young adult finds the right school financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants and loans need to be secured. I usually advise young students to find the right school for them, then figure out how to pay for the school rather than deciding what you can afford and then finding a school. The first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) form at . Students will also want to contact the financial aid office for their school as soon as possible.

Both of my daughters are graduating this year so we are deep in the process I have outlined. We have counseled them to dream big, reaching for international opportunity; beginning to think of interesting internships and how they can network to secure such an opportunity. An unorthodox plan can pay big dividends if the plan is well thought out and the student is willing to put the work in to achieve their dream.

Now is the time for taking the SAT, ACT, and applying to higher education. Whether you choose to study Philosophy at a major university or choose to learn to become a car mechanic; dream big, make a plan and become a lifelong student. The reward will likely be more rewarding than you can see today!

“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be. One who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal, will one day realize it.” - James Allen

Mark Altman is a speaker and leadership consultant with the Altman Leadership Center. He is an international speaker with two books and a DVD that can be purchased on He can be reached at

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Standing Tall

Editor’s note: The following is a guest column written by my oldest son Mark William Altman II, a 19 year old Junior at Embry Riddle Aeronautical Engineering University.

“He, who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” –Albert Einstein

This last Wednesday I was talking to my younger sister about how school was progressing. She was explaining to me that she had begun to question the callousness that her fellow students felt towards the world, a complete apathy towards school, the government, human relationships, and life in general. Without thinking, I reminded her that these students had been trudging along, mindlessly, head bowed, shoulders slumped to the dull beat of society’s drums for so long that they had become accustomed to the rotten stench of their unused minds, and had forgotten what it was like to stand tall and breathe the fresh air of freedom and innovation. It cheered her up to know that there was someone out there empathetic with her, but I couldn’t help but have a nagging feeling that there was more to what I had said.

As fate would have it, the next day in one of my classes we were discussing International Crime. The most disconcerting topic was that of Human Trafficking. I have always known Human Trafficking is present in the world, but never understood why Americans would allow such a human rights violation to continue unchecked, with barely a word against it. I ceased wondering as my fellow students began an in-depth discussion as to the “economic viability” of addressing this crime against their fellow humans; but they failed to discuss the human cost of allowing this egregious sin to continue. I began to question our societal mores. I was not questioning our society due to the free discussion between students; rather I questioned a society that taught its children that the almighty dollar was worth more than a human life.

We teach our nation’s children to go unquestioning into the workforce, and all levels of civil service, accepting that some people are less fortunate than others. We teach our children that the exploitation of foreign workers is acceptable since the pennies we pay these workers are “more than they usually would earn.” We encourage them to lie, cheat, or steal since “everyone else does it.” Most importantly, we tell them that sitting on the sidelines in life is adequate as long as they “grieve” for those less fortunate, and those who do not receive the basic human freedoms they deserve. We do not intend to teach our children these lessons; rather, we allow the sin of omission to run rampant through our homes. By avoiding these delicate and morally complicated questions we don’t give children time to forge an opinion, instead they are forced, as young adults, into the opinion given to them by society.

It is time we no longer allow our children to go through this world unquestioningly. We need to teach them as children to ask why our world acts the way it does. Teach them to allow the views of the past to fade into history, and to embrace the change that the future brings. Teach them to be citizens of the world, as well as American patriots. Allow them to stand tall, breathe deep, and use, not just their basic human instincts, but also their higher moral functions. As Americans, we should not allow ourselves to be of the numbers that march unquestioningly to the beat of the drums; we should instead question the legitimacy of authority, and make our decisions based on our own moral beliefs. Most importantly, we should teach our nation’s children Voltaire’s maxium, “Every man is guilty of all the good they didn’t do.”

Mark Altman II is a Midshipman 3rd Class in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Program and is pursuing a degree in Aerospace Engineering, and is a graduate of Coeur d’Alene High School.