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Benefits of Community College Versus University

Dec
22

For many students, enrolling at a community college versus a university is a hard choice to make, with many details and implications to consider. 

If you are planning to pursue the path of higher education and do not know whether a community college or university experience is right for you, consider the following factors, including cost, class size, and overall academic value. 

Are Community Colleges Are More Affordable?

According to the Community College Review, the average tuition for full-time, in-state students in 2018-19 is $4,836. This is half the average cost of attending a public university as an in-state student. While this doesn’t cover the cost of fees and books needed, it is a smaller starting figure. 

If the option is available, you can also save even more money by attending a community college near home. This gives you the ability to live at home rather than spend more money on rent. For students that need to work while attending school, flexible community college schedules can make it easier to work part-time.

The variance between attending a community college versus attending a university can vary widely and is usually the biggest difference between the two entities. Across all areas, community colleges are less expensive to attend than universities. 

To put it into perspective, community college tuition can be as little as $3,500 per year, compared to upwards of $35,000 for out of-state-students attending a public university. While costs vary and depend on many factors, it is safe to say that community college is the lower-cost option for those who consider price a major determining factor. 

Community Colleges Have Smaller Class Sizes

You have probably seen they stereotypical large lecture hall freshman class in movies. It is not that from the truth for intro courses at large universities. In comparison, community college classes are generally much smaller. 

A smaller class size benefits both the students and teachers. Teachers can give more individual attention to students and customize the experience to fit the needs of a smaller group. Students will also have the opportunity to get to know their classmates, ask questions during the lesson, and have one-on-one conversations with professors in a smaller classroom environment. 

Because universities have larger student bodies, class sizes are significancy bigger compared to community college class sizes. This distinction is important to consider if you prefer and benefit from one-on-one learning or if you can handle a more hands-off learning style. Consider how essential this aspect is to your academic success and if you know you do better with personalized feedback in a smaller setting, you should consider the community college route

Less Strict Admission Requirements

Community colleges are ideally suited for students who want to earn a degree but may not have a competitive high school GPA for applications. By providing students an opportunity to improve their grades and earn credits towards a degree, community colleges are helping students become better candidates for university admission requirements. 

One important thing to remember if you are hoping to transition to a four-year school for your BA is how your credits will transfer. You want to make sure you don’t pay for a class you already took at a higher price tag.  

Improved Academic Quality at Community Colleges

In the past, community colleges were thought of unfavorably by some, and were not considered a solid academic experience. That has been changing, and while there is still variety in the student experience, community colleges are more generally accepted as a way to complete your gen ed courses before transferring to a four-year program. 

Community colleges have enhanced their academic standards to attract more students and meet the transfer requirements of large universities. This creates the opportunity for students already attending a four-year university to take summer classes at local community colleges for a lower cost. 

Easier Transition from High School to College

Typically, the transition to community college is easier on students leaving high school.  With smaller classrooms, flexible schedules, and entry-level courses, students who are worried about getting lost in a large school might find community college a better fit. 

It’s also important to remember the stress of leaving home and the newly discovered independence of living on your own that can be disruptive for students. 

Overall Academic Value

The difference between the kind of degrees and programs offered and the quality of those degrees and programs vary across community colleges and universities. In Many Cases, community colleges are known as ‘2-year’ colleges that offer associate’s degree programs that might be completed in two years or less. There are many jobs only require a two-year associate’s degree, rather than a four-year bachelor’s degree, including positions like an air traffic controller or a dental hygienist.

In many instances, community colleges are regarded as preparation for transfer to a more extensive university program, in which students can engage in more time-intensive educational options. 

A university offers lengthier programs: bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, which take longer to complete. Universities generally offer a more comprehensive range of degree and program options for more specialized areas of study. Think about your career aspirations before committing to a decision, and decide the path that makes the most sense for you and your future.

Finally, it is essential to consider what you want to get out of your college experience, whether that be a community college or university. If you want to be medical doctor, you should follow a four-year university program that sets you and your resume up for success when you apply to medical school. The choice really comes down to what you want for your life and career, and there is no wrong answer.

Quarantine Birthday Ideas for Teens

Dec
11

Quarantine Birthday Ideas for Teens

In an era where theme restaurants and spectacular birthday events traditionally occur, being locked down for a teenager’s birthday could feel like a major disappointment. While another activity at home or on Zoom may initially receive a lukewarm reception, having fun and interesting things to do may make the kids forget for a moment they are in a situation like this. Here are some suggestions for activities and ideas on what to do when your teen has a birthday while under quarantine.

DRIVE-BY BIRTHDAY PARADE – If you’re far from ready to have outside guests over to your home, host a drive-by birthday parade. Ask your guests to drive by your place at the same time with decorated cars and homemade birthday signs. Have them honk as they go by, drop off gifts at a safe distance, or sing “Happy Birthday” out the vehicle windows.  Make this a total surprise, and your kid will be impressed.

MOVIE PARTY – Netflix now has a new feature called Netflix Party, where everyone can watch the same movie on Netflix and talk to each other in the group function. They can also watch a movie together using another streaming service and then chat over an app such as FaceTime.

VIDEO CARD – Challenge your guests to each makes a short video about the birthday honoree. Encourage each guest to make it something specific for the birthday celebrant. Please post it on any social media platforms like TikTok or YouTube, and don’t forget to create your own unique birthday hashtag to add in the comments.

KARAOKE SING OFF – Karaoke combines all the best things in life: music, socializing, and making a total fool of yourself with friends. You’ll want video conferencing software, so your child and their friends can all see and hear one another. The other tech application to consider is Watch2Gether, which enables users to stream videos at the same rate. If you type the song title plus “karaoke” into the search bar at the top of the page, it will then deliver songs to sing. 

A GOODIE BAG WITH AN ACTIVITY IN IT – A couple of days before, drop off a goodie bag at everyone’s place. When the moment comes, everyone can enjoy the same treats as if they are in the same room. Send out an appropriate task in the bag, such as a small Lego building set, so both parents and kids can get creative together during the event.

PAINTING PARTY – If your teen is into art, having a virtual paint night is a unique and fun way to celebrate their birthday while letting their friends join along. Invite all their friends to join the party over Zoom, and send the guests a week or a few days before the party a DIY Paint Night Kit for them to use. Then, when it’s time to get the party started, they can all paint together.

HIRE AN ENTERTAINER OR EXPERT – Think of a real-life activity you might have considered for an in-person party and now do it as an online group activity. Pick something your teen enjoys: a cooking class, magic lessons, a TikTok dance party, acting or improv games, or a small concert/sing-a-long.   The instructor will lead the activity while offering encouragement and feedback. The kids will end up with a fun new skill, maybe a souvenir, and some great memories.  It’s also a fantastic way to support small business owners, instructors, or entertainers who are getting creative themselves these days to stay in business. 

GIVING BACK – Take the moment to help those who may not be as fortunate as you and your neighbors.  Whether it’s writing letters of thanks to first responders, making masks for people who need them, or some other community service activity, take this opportunity to have your teen and their friends learn about being engaged in our area. This could start a habit of giving that could last a lifetime.  

SEARCH ENGINE SCAVENGER HUNT – Many teens think they know the Internet better than adults do, so let’s put them to the test. Pair up a series of teams and have each team find these on the internet. Once found, have them take a screenshot and report back. Use our suggestions or come up with your own: 

  1. Locate an online Earthcam that is at least 500 miles away from where you are right now. 
  2. Assign each team a specific food and come up with at least three pictures of different ways to prepare it. 
  3. Find out the names of the mayor of your current city and the city next door you where you are.
  4. Find pictures of items in exotic colors:  try colors such as Sarcoline, Coquelicot, Smaragdine, Mikado, Glaucous, Wenge, Fulvous, and Xanadu. 
  5. Identify someone with the same exact name as someone on their team. Where do they live? Tell us two additional facts about them.
  6. If it’s noon here, what time is it in England, Egypt, China, New  Zeeland, and Hawaii … or any other destinations you suggest?
  7. Plan a car trip starting at home then drive the most direct route to any five of these actual American cities and head back home again. How many miles did you travel in total, and how long did it take?

Bacon, Indiana Bad Axe, Michigan  Big Rock Candy Mountain, Vermont

Buttermilk, Kansas Cheesequake, New Jersey Chicken, Alaska

Dinkytown, Minnesota Dinosaur, Colorado Frankenstein, Missouri

 Fries, Virginia Horseheads, New York Normal, Illinois

Riddle, Idaho Sandwich, Massachusetts Soda Springs, Idaho

Zzyzx, California Whynot, North Carolina Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

  1. What is the most expensive item they can find? How much does it cost? Where can you buy it?
  2. The year they were born, what were the number one song, movie, TV show, and a championship team in a sport of your choice.
  3. Have the birthday guest or someone else come up with something for the teams to find. 

Hop Growing Zones

Nov
16

About Hop Growing Zones

Planting, growing, and harvesting hops is just as easy as growing tomatoes.  In addition to flavoring your home-brewed beer, your crop can also serve as a decorative landscape element. Imagine your sunny porch shaded by 15-foot vines and their bright green leaves.

Hops are deciduous, perennial vines that grow 15 to 25 feet tall and will climb a trellis, arbor or other structure. The lush foliage creates a quick visual barrier during the growing season and the green papery flowers attract butterflies to the garden in late summer. Hops are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8.

Winter Hardiness

In the hardiness range for hops, in USDA zones 3 through 8, winter temperatures regularly drop well below freezing. In winter, the foliage dies back to the ground while the roots remain alive under the soil. Dormant roots are hardy to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, but new growth is susceptible to frost. Planted too early in the growing season, a late frost could kill your hop plants.

Growing Season

During the growing season, hops thrive in a temperature range between 40 and 70 F. The plants tolerate a wide range of precipitation levels, thriving in areas that get as little as 12 inches and as much as 53 inches of rain per year. Generally drought-tolerant, hops have a deep root system that will tap underground water tables 5 feet below the soil. In areas with deeper water tables and limited precipitation, you will need to monitor and regularly water the hops.

Planting and Growing Hops

Plant hops in full sun for best growth and flowering within the growing zone. You can grow hops successfully in areas warmer than the climate zone range by providing some summer shade. In areas where summer temperatures regularly rise above 70 F, plant hops in part shade, two to four hours of sun per day, to provide protection for the foliage and prevent sun scorch on the leaves and flowers.

Root System and Water

In areas where the water table is lower than 5 feet, water hops when the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil feels dry to the touch. Water slowly and deeply to allow water to seep down around the roots. Hops have both deep roots and lateral growing shallow roots. Your fresh plants are grown from rhizomes, short segments of roots harvested off older plants. You can mail-order dormant rhizomes ready for planting in the early spring. Local home-brew-supply stores stock the rhizomes or offer potted 2-year-old hop plants. 

Hops can be grown in just about any moderate climate in the U.S., but do best in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9. Some varieties are more heat-resistant and others resistant to molds, diseases and pests. But once they are established, hops are hardy plants. Insect pests like aphids sometimes attack hops, but those can be controlled easily by introducing ladybugs that dine on aphids or by spraying your plants with a mild insecticidal soap solution available at garden stores.

Hops are perennial, producing vines that grow up to 25 feet each year. Provide a sturdy trellis to support the vines in a sunny part of your yard or garden. The plants need six to eight hours of full sun to produce well. Planting the vines along a tall fence or against the side of your porch or garage is also an option.

How to Plant

Once you’ve chosen your spot, till the soil thoroughly and add compost to provide good drainage. Hops plants don’t like their roots too wet. Plant your rhizomes in early spring after the danger of frost has passed. 

Mound each rhizome in dirt, spaced 3 to 5 feet apart and horizontally about 1 to 2 inches deep with the small buds pointing up. Within a week, you could see your first shoots emerge. Then step back. Hops can grow as much as a foot per day during the first few months.

Your plants will appreciate a supplemental feeding of compost, manure, or fertilizer during the first few months. Mulching your crop will help conserve moisture and cut down on weeds.

Trellis

You can let your imagination go wild when constructing your trellis. Others keep it simple by running a single strong support wire from one side of a building’s eave to the other and attaching strong twine to the top wire, extending vertically to each plant. The plants are then trained to wind around the vertical twine in a clockwise direction. Gently get the vines started when they are about a foot tall. They will climb to the top wire in short order. 

Harvesting

You may not see many cones in year one. The plant is concentrating on producing its root system. But by year two, you’ll be rewarded with your first harvest, up to a pound or more per plant. In late July and August, pinch a cone. If it feels papery, it’s ready to pick. If you break the cone open, you’ll see small, yellow particles inside. This is lupulin, the magic ingredient that gives beer its distinctive bitterness and aroma.

CAUTION: Never allow your dog to eat the cones, before or after brewing with them. The cones, both fresh and dried, are toxic to dogs, causing panting, high body temperatures, seizures, and even death.

Drying Your Harvest

After they’re picked, the cones need to be dried. In an electric food dehydrator, spread your cones evenly and set at its lowest setting (90 to 100 degrees F, and never over 140 degrees.)  Your cones are dry and ready when the stems are brittle. You can add them to your brew right after drying, or vacuum seal and store them in the freezer. Advanced home brewers use fresh cones right off the vines without drying for a particularly fresh tasting brew.

Hop Growing Zones Article

Buy Bulk Hops from our friends at Michigan Hop Alliance

Cyber Security Degree Requirements

Nov
02

Once a specialty only linked with government agencies and defense contractors, cyber security is now in the mainstream. Industries like health care, finance, manufacturing, and retail all hire cyber security professionals to protect valuable info from cyber breaches. The demand for trained specialists in this field is high. A report by job analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies discovered job postings for openings in cyber security have grown three times faster than those for IT job overall, and cyber security professionals are earning nine percent more than their IT counterparts. 

What Does a Career in Cyber Security Involve?

From “ethical hackers” who look for and exploit security vulnerabilities in web-based applications and network systems to cryptographers who examine and decrypt hidden information from cyber-terrorists, cyber security professionals work hard to make sure data stays out of the wrong hands. Cyber security professionals work in almost every industry, responding quickly to real-world threats. While there are cyber security associate degree programs, high-level careers usually require an array of technical IT skills and advanced analysis capabilities found in graduate-level degree programs.

Cyber Security Degrees and Careers In-Depth

A four-year cyber security degree program concentrates on the variety of methods used to protect data and information systems. Students get training in technical and business skills like database applications, systems administration, and data recovery. Coursework mixes criminal psychology, digital forensics, and policy analysis to offer a complete perspective of IT security. There are hundreds of job titles in cyber security, and some of the top positions include:

  • Security Analyst
  • Security Engineer
  • Security Architect
  • Security Administrator
  • Security Software Developer
  • Cryptographer
  • Cryptanalyst
  • Security Consultant

Pursuing a Cyber Security Degree & Career

While it’s possible to find some entry-level cyber security positions with only an associate degree, most jobs require a four-year bachelor’s degree in cyber security or a related field like IT or computer science. Coursework in programming and statistics in addition to classes in ethics and computer forensics prepare students with the technical and analytical skills needed for successful careers in cyber security.

In an environment where data breaches are becoming more and more frequent, more cyber security degree programs are being added each year. Before deciding on a cyber security degree, students should make sure that it is not only accredited, but also supports their career goals.

 Associate Degree in Cyber Security

An associate degree in cyber security is a two-year program suitable for the following types of situations:

  • Securing entry-level work as a computer support technician or a similar position
  • An added qualification for those already working in the field
  • A step on a path to a four-year cyber security degree

Associate degree coursework includes the vulnerabilities of a variety of hardware and software systems, network technologies, and key cyber security concepts like security administration and intrusion detection. Many programs also prepare students for certification exams typically required for full-time employment, ranging from basic CompTIA Security+ to ISC2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Cyber Security Certificates

Many colleges and universities offer certificates in cyber security for those who are looking to develop further expertise in the field or add credentials to their resume. Students study the principles of computer systems security, including attack protection and prevention. Courses delve into cryptographic techniques, legal issues in computer security, digital forensics, and designs for network perimeter defenses.

Most certificates are 12-18 credits and accessible online. In some cases, students may apply credits earned in a certificate program to a master’s degree in cyber security at a later date. There are a few types of cyber security certificates that cover cyber security technology, cyber security management and related areas.

Complete advanced training

Some employers require candidates to hold an advanced degree like a master’s degree in cyber security. Prospective employers can also offer tuition assistance to meet this goal. A master’s degree requires an additional one to two years to complete after the bachelor’s degree-level and delivers advanced instruction in protecting computer networks and electronic infrastructures from attack. Students learn the ethics, practices, policies, and procedures of cyber security as they examine how to tackle network security defense techniques and countermeasures. Cyber security professionals also pursue certification to boost their skills while working full-time to gain hands-on experience.

Pass security clearances (if applicable)

Security clearances are a requirement for those who want to work with classified information as part of a military of government agency. A number of agencies issue both personnel and facility security clearances, but for the most part they are issued by the Department of Defense. Each type of clearance requires its own procedures and paperwork. The process, which can take three months to a year, does not begin until an employer has hired you, at which point you be given a conditional offer of employment. The first step is to submit clearance documentation, which is then followed by a Background Investigation.

Find the Right Cyber Security Degree Program

The field of cyber security concentrates on network and data protection at various levels. Whether you are looking for an accredited online program or a traditional on-campus program, students have a variety options when it comes to cyber security degrees.

While it is still a relatively fresh field, cyber security degrees are available at all levels, from associate degrees to PhD degrees. Students can engage in cyber security degrees online or in a campus-based environment. Each degree-level preps students for specific opportunities, from entry-level employment to careers in academia. Before choosing a cyber security program, students should ensure it supports their long-term goals

Top 5 Tips for Zoom Party Success!

Jul
31

5 Tips for Zoom Party Success!

Before March 2020, many people had not heard of Zoom. It’s quite the platform for sure – if you know how to use it, you know how to have a Zoom party too!

Did you know you can invite artists to your Zoom Party? These days they are becoming experts and have been using it to draw remote digital caricatures, or eSketches™, for a while. Over time they have learned how to make your Zoom events, birthday parties, work meetings, etc., flow smoothly with fewer hiccups and so everyone has a great time!

General Zoom Tips For Zoom Etiquette

Some zoom meeting etiquette is the same whether you’re in person or online. Zoom-specific options, like muting if there are distracting noises, is a feature we only wish we had for in person meetings! Here are some tips to improve your Zoom online events:

  1. Use the zoom chat feature! This is especially true if your conversation is only between you and one or two other people. Don’t take the focus from the speaker just to share that important idea – or that funny comment – with your friend or colleague!
  2. Ask guests to log on a few moments early. Depending on your system, and how many people are logging in, it may take a minute or two to get up and running. If a waiting room is enabled, the host will need to let everyone in at the beginning.
  1. Keep your video on. No one likes speaking to a screen full of blank squares! Now more than ever, we desire to see your smiling faces! If you need to get up, move around or leave for a minute, go ahead and turn your video off as to not disrupt the event.
  2. Remind everyone to turn off all notifications and silence their devices next to them.
  3. Avoid logging in to your Zoom Party in the same room as someone else who is logged in on another device. This causes an annoying echo effect! Either log in on just one device and share, mute one device, or have one person go into another room.

More important have fun. This is your opportunity to interact with people. Plus, you can have a great memory to “take-home”.

What Qualifies for Bulk Mailing?

Jul
01

How Much Does Direct Mail Marketing Cost? 

Bulk mail is a discounted mailing service offered by the USPS for those who prepare and send large quantities of mail. If you regularly send out standard-sized mailings in an amount equal to or greater than the numbers below, you may be able to save money but working directly with a printer. They can offer direct mail production and distribution rather than taking your pre-printed pieces to the post office. 

Usually, your bulk price mail is cheaper than a regularly priced single piece of mail. Single piece means you’re paying full price for a standard piece of mail.

So, how many pieces do I need to send to qualify for bulk mail?

Below is a list of exactly how many verifiable pieces you need to send in order to qualify for bulk mailing discounts. If you’re sending as much or more than this, it can be more cost effective apply to a bulk mail program or work with a direct mail printer. 

You’ll need to send at least:

  • 500 pieces for First-Class Mail
  • 200 pieces (or 50 pounds of mail) for Standard Mail
  • 50 pieces for Parcel Select (also known as Standard Post)
  • 300 pieces for Presorted or Carrier Route Bound Printed Matter
  • 300 pieces for Library Mail
  • 300 pieces for Media Mail

How do I get a bulk mail discount?

First, you’ll need a mailing permit, basically an allowance to send large amounts of postage from a single facility. You can apply for this at your USPS Business Mail Acceptance Unit, which is also where you will drop off your bulk mail. Then you will have to pay the annual mailing fee.

Next, you pay for your postage using one of three ways:

  • Precanceled Stamps: these are stamps that are set aside for presorted First Class and Standard Mail. You pay a much lower price for them upfront and then only pay the difference when/if you use them.
  • Postage Meter/PC Postage: this is best for home-printed postage. You can save time and money when you’re printing your own postage.
  • Permit Imprint: this is ideal for high bulk mailings; however, the items have to be the exact same weight to qualify. You’ll also must have an “advanced deposit account” from the specific post office you’ll be using. You prepay for your postage, then use their postage indicia for your permit imprint rather than a printed stamp and they deduct it from your account.

Do I need to presort bulk mail?

Lastly, you have to presort your work. This requires going through and ensuring all of your mail is presorted by zip code. This is the key reason you get cheaper prices -you save the post office time which means you save money.

Often businesses find this goes beyond what they’re willing to spend time doing, but if you can afford the extra time it can save a significant amount of money on high volume shipping. 

Using Bulk Mail to Market your Business

Now that you know what qualifies for bulk mailing, how much does direct mail marketing cost? Data continues to show that consumers respond favorably to direct mail. When done strategically, direct mail is a great way to increase revenue for your business.

Before reviewing costs, it’s best to figure out what type of direct mail piece is most effective for your brand. While research from the Data and Marketing Association suggests the response rate is usually highest for oversized envelopes (versus something like a letter-sized mailer), you’ll still need to determine what will work best for your campaign goals.

Which is right for you is going to vary and depends on a few different things:

  • What’s your budget? – Oversized mailers and catalogs are more expensive to design, print and ship because of their increased weight. 
  • What are you selling? – If you sell a serious product, like insurance or tax preparation, you most likely will want to send a traditional letter. If your offer is more fun and creative, you can create a colorful and eye-catching postcard.
  • Who is your campaign targeting? – If you’re nurturing past customers who are already familiar with your company, you won’t need to give them as much information and a letter or postcard can suffice.  If you’re targeting cold leads, you may need to send a bigger brochure so they can learn more about you.

If you’re interested in the more expensive direct mail pieces, it’s a good idea to do testing on a smaller group so you can measure how well it converts before going wider with it. Working directly with a direct mail printer can be a cost-effective way to A/B test, and even save on campaign costs depending on your campaign specifics. 

Direct Mail Costs

Direct mail pieces costs can range anywhere from 30 cents to more than $10 per person, depending on how much you spend on design, copy writing, mailing lists, printing, and distribution. Some companies do much of this inhouse and wind up only paying for printing and mailing or you can find printers that also offer design services in addition to fulfillment and distribution. 

Let’s break down these individual cost factors:

Design Costs ($0 – $100)

When it comes to designing your direct mail piece, there are several options:

    DIY – If you only need something basic, like a renewal letter, you should be able to create something suitable in Microsoft Word.

    Use a template – You can find a number of websites that sell templates that cost $10 on average.

    Hire a professional – If you need creative help, your best bet is to pay a professional print designer. You can someone local in your area, find a freelancer online, or see if your printer offers design services.

Marketing Copy Costs ($0 – $100)

If you have a tight budget, you may have no other choice but to write your own marketing copy. However, if budget allows you can hire a professional copywriter. Your copy has to be persuasive and there is an art to getting it just right. Copywriters are trained to write content that hooks the audience and gets them to buy.

Mailing Lists Costs ($0 – $0.30 / record)

Free mailing lists can be generated by gathering data you already have on your current customers, or by doing a trade of your info with another business in your industry.

If neither of these options are a possibility, you will pay between .02-.30 cents on average per record. The cost will vary based on the quality of the list, how many records you buy, and how many times you can send to the list. 

Printing Costs ($0.03 – $2.00 / person)

Printing costs will vary based on the following:

  • Paper quality
  • Black and white vs. color
  • Paper size
  • 1 sided vs. 2 sided
  • Number of pages
  • Quantity

Visit an online or local printing business to find out exact printing costs for your campaign.

Distribution Costs ($0.25 – $2.00 / piece)

Of course, the final cost to consider is mailing costs. Prices fluctuate and are dependent on the current postage rate, the quantity you send, and how much all of that mail weighs. Keep in mind, the larger the pieces, the heavier the order, and the more you’re going to pay.

Bulk mailing and direct mail, if done right, can be both an effective and cost-effective way to market your business.

More resources:

Sound Recording Technology Major

May
20

Audio engineers are professionals who work in the production and/or recording of sound. To grasp just how vast the duties for audio engineering are, imagine any form of media which includes recording and working with sound. From podcasts to audiobooks, to the audio tours at museums, to the video games you play, to the sound from movies, television shows, and radio shows, all of these require the expertise of an audio engineer.

What jobs can I get with a degree in audio production?

The job titles for someone interested in audio engineering can be both varied and confusing. The term can be used interchangeably with a number of other job titles including “recording engineer,” “mixing engineer,” “sound engineer,” “studio engineer” “live music engineer” and many more. Your audio production skills will qualify you for a range of jobs and career positions, and you can narrow the search based on your interests and passions. 

Here are just a few examples of jobs and careers you might look for:

  • Audio engineer/audio engineering assistant. You can either try to land a job in a recording studio or if you’re the entrepreneurial type, start a studio of your own.
  • Live audio engineer. You can look for an audio production job in one of many live music venues, or if you like to travel, try to get hired with a touring act.
  • Music producer. You may want to dive into the creative and/or administrative side of recording, and start producing recordings for musical artists you believe in.
  • Video production-audio department. Films, videos, TV commercials, and web series almost always need audio production help.
  • Post-production expert. Post-production houses handle a lot of interesting projects, including voiceover, audio FX, Foley and ADR for film/TV.
  • Mastering engineer. You might choose to specialize in mastering, which is the all-important final step in preparing recorded audio for CD and vinyl duplication, as well as making music and other audio “broadcast-ready.”

In the world of music production or “making music,” audio engineers are often described as being on the “technical side” of the work while music producers, artists, and musicians are on the “creative side.” While creatives originate ideas about what’s to be recorded, the audio engineer is a conduit for the capture and management of sounds. The musician, vocalist, or producer decides what quality the sound should be while the audio engineer uses his tools and technologies to achieve that sound. Key to an audio engineer’s success is an ability to understand what the creative talent wants and then knowing how to deliver that result.  Since music is by definition a subjective art form, the terminology used to represent particular sounds and sound qualities can oftentimes be less than precise.  Terms including “grainy,” “booming,” “textured,” “layered,” and “rich,” are just a few. Audio engineers need the right balance of technical skills and a degree of creative sense. Another component is that audio engineers need to understand the elements of music theory; so they know the difference between dissonance and consonance. Basic song structures and terms should also be included in their wheelhouse. Artists and producers will often refer to a piece of music as the “bridge” “intro” “chorus” “outro” “drop” and while working in session.

Many music producers also serve as their own audio engineers when working with artists. Many future music producers started out their careers as audio engineers in order to build their knowledge base, experience, and industry connections before marketing themselves as music producers.

When an audio engineer is at work, they will responsible for perfecting, balancing, and adjusting sound through the use of equalization, audio technologies, and studio effects. They will also often be mixing, reinforcing, or reproducing sound and altering the quality of specific sounds through the usage of either analog (hardware) technologies or digital (software) technologies such as plug-ins and effects. Understanding signal flow, microphones, acoustics, signal processors, tape machines, digital audio workstations, sequencing software, and speaker systems are all basic requirements for those who choose this career.

Those interested in being an audio engineer must first get a certain cross-section of experience and exposure to various jobs and aspects of the industry to then know which path or paths they want to pursue. It is not uncommon for one audio engineer to have numerous specializations or niches. Before he became famous from working with The Beatles, Sir George Martin’s career as an audio engineer included producing both classical music and comedy records. 

With a variety of audio engineering careers available, you may want to start thinking about what part of the process excites you: audio, sound, or music. Do your research in advance. Read articles and interviews with professionals who actively work in one of the subfields, niches, or specializations. Conduct informational interviews with those who work in your region. Most professionals are willing to pass on hard-learned wisdom to those who aspire to follow in their footsteps. 

Two signature character traits of a successful audio engineer are an openness to learn combined with a sense of discovery. Careers in audio can change quickly in response to the development of new technologies, new forms of media, and changes in market demand. It benefits professionals in the field to stay current with the latest technologies and keep aware of trends in music, broadcasting, live sound, and various other fields. This agility and responsiveness are characteristics of audio engineers who can endure and even thrive when times change.

If you’re currently studying audio engineering and music production, don’t wait until after graduation. Start networking and researching now—and the sooner the better. The paradox here is that while your education and training in audio production will qualify you for a wide range of positions, the reality is that the industry is competitive and quite relationship-driven. Making cold-calls and emailed resumes rarely work, no matter how qualified you seem. Make the industry connections now that you’ll need in order to get hired later.

What Home Care Is Covered By Medicare?

Jan
23

What home care is covered by Medicare
Is there any financial help for caregivers?

Starting home care is often a challenging time for both the patient and the caregiver. Factoring in the financial component and what’s covered and by whom can make a stressful situation even harder. 

Home care services are a valuable Medicare benefit. They supply therapy, skilled medical care and other assistance to people that are who are largely or entirely confined to their homes.

In order to be covered, the services must be ordered by a doctor, and one of the 11,000 home health agencies nationwide that Medicare has certified must provide the care. If these conditions are met, Medicare pays the complete cost of home health care up to 60 days at a time. 

That period is renewable, meaning Medicare will still provide coverage if your doctor recertifies a minimum of once every 60 days that the house services remain medically necessary.

The specific conditions enrollees must meet for home care under Medicare Parts A and B are: 

  • A doctor has certified that the person is homebound.
  • The patient is under the care of a doctor who reviews his or her treatment plan regularly.
  • A doctor has certified that the patient needs skilled medical care or some sort of therapy.
  • The patient only needs physical, speech, or physical therapy for a limited amount of time
  • The home health agency to provide care is approved by Medicare.
  • Additionally, other than durable medical aid, patients usually don’t pay anything for in-home care.
  • The need for skilled nursing is merely part-time or intermittent.

There are several items Medicare won’t cover, including:

  • Meals delivered to your home
  • Homemaker services (like shopping, cleaning, and laundry), when these are the only types of services needed
  • Personal or custodial care (like bathing, dressing, or using the bathroom), when these are the only types of services needed
  • 24-hour-a-day home care

Many patients may require assistance with activities of daily living but might not have an actual medical condition. While Medicare doesn’t cover that scenario, a long-term care policy can help with the expense of home health aides who provide custodial services. It can also help pay for assisted living facilities, which offer seniors the ability to live independently but receive the help and care they need daily.

Is there any financial help for caregivers?

According to a 2016 AARP study, they estimate that family caregivers spend a mean of $6,954 on out-of-pocket costs for caregiving, which equates to approximately 20% of their annual income. In order to cover the out-of-pocket expenses, many caregivers make sacrifices in their own lives. 

Overall the study found that caregiving puts a financial strain on individuals caring for an adult family member:

  • On average, caregivers lose 33% of their income
  • Approximately 11% of caregivers quit working to provide care for a loved one full-time
  • Women who quit working to become caregivers lose approximately a total of $300,000 in wages, pensions, and Social Security benefits
  • 78% of caregivers incur out-of-pocket costs due to caregiving
  • 56% of employed caregivers experience at least one work-related strain, in the form of reduced hours, different work hours, or taking paid or unpaid time off
  • 16% of caregivers reduce contributions to their retirement savings
  • Approximately 50% of caregivers reduce leisure spending (dining out or vacations) due to caregiving expenses

Fortunately, there are several options for finical aid for caregivers. 

  • Medicaid – Aid may be available from the state for elderly loved ones who are low-income and eligible for Medicaid. To learn about the financial aid programs available in your state, contact your local Medicaid office.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance – this is another financial aid option for caregivers. However, it is important to note that only a few such policies allow for family caregiver payments. Older policies tend to have such a provision, so it is more likely that older seniors who have long-term care insurance have policies that will pay family caregivers. It is a good idea to contact the insurance company or agent who sold the policy to determine whether the plan allows for caregiver payments.
  • Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services Program – This program provides caregiver support and authorizes a monthly flexible spending account for purchasing goods and securing services for disabled veterans to live at home. Veterans who opt for this program may hire family to act as their caregivers or to provide support to family caregivers. 
  • Tax Incentives – Caregivers also may find some financial assistance via tax incentives. Caregivers who are adult children younger than age 65 may deduct the costs of qualified medical expenses and mileage that are greater than 10% of their adjusted gross income if they itemize their deductions. However, it is in your best interests to discuss your options with an accountant or other tax professional to determine whether taking a standard deduction makes more financial sense. There also may be other deductions caregivers can take at tax time. While tax incentives are not as immediate as financial aid, they are one way to relieve the financial burden on caregivers.
  • The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – Workplace benefits may be available to caregivers as a form of financial aid as well. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) ensures employees working for any company with more than 50 employees and who have been employed for 12 months (working a minimum of 1,250 hours during that period) are offered 12 weeks of leave; however, the leave overwhelmingly is unpaid. 
  • Paid Leave for Caregiving Employees – If you don’t live in one of the four states that have implemented paid family leave options, don’t get discouraged yet. Fortunately, more companies are assisting caregiving employees today with paid leave, and larger companies are most likely to offer elder care programs. 
  • Family Payments – If the care recipient is ineligible for Medicaid or another state program, and the tax breaks are not as large as you need them to be to compensate you for your caregiving time and related out-of-pocket expenses, look into whether he can afford to pay you himself or if other family members are willing to pay you for your caregiving services.. However, this is a subject that should be discussed openly with all involved family members and any arrangement should be agreed upon by all parties. If your family determines that family payments are manageable, be sure to meet with an attorney and draft a contract that outlines your work and payment schedule so everyone in the family knows the situation. The contract also may become useful later if your loved one eventually needs to apply for Medicaid or enter an assisted living facility or nursing home.
  • Home and Community-Based Services Program – Care recipients who are not veterans can opt into a home and community-based services program (HCBS) if they meet the eligibility criteria (which varies by state, but is typically based on income and a qualifying medical condition, though recipients need not be age 65 or older to qualify). These programs offer guidance and financial assistance to caregivers to ensure they can provide the best possible care for their loved ones. They can also boost caregivers’ confidence and make it easier for them to provide a high level of care to their family member.

Last updated Jan 23, 2020. Information subject to change without notice. Due diligence is required.

Financial Advisor For Retirement

Aug
26

Your dad tells you to spend less money and save for your future life, or your mom scolds you for buying a new car or your aunt living next door suggesting you invest in BitcoinDon’t mistake the wrong people for a financial advisor.

People are happy to tell you where and how to spend your money. Don’t let their advice be a huge mistake. They are not what we call a real financial advisor.

Do you wonder what a real financial advisor is?

A financial advisor is a well-educated, certified professional who helps people and families figure out their taxes, retirement plan, or help them to stay in control their money. A good advisor doesn’t randomly invest your money anywhere. They research and depend on a professional analyst to help find the best options based on your risk tolerance level.

You work hard to earn money, and earning lots of money can be even harder, however finding a good financial advisor should not be as hard. To find someone to trust with your money with the skill to earn better returns requires a little research.

But don’t worry! We are here to make the tough task easy for you. Below are some tips that will help you figure out what a good financial advisor is for you.

Here are the things that you should look in for a good financial advisor:

Qualifications and Education: 

In the world where skills have overpowered degrees, judging someone on the basis of their qualifications looks old school, right? Well not always, because education does matter a lot. Therefore, it is important to check the records of the person you consider for the role of a financial advisor. Look for someone who holds the proper certifications and has worked with various clients you know. Get referrals!.

Such advisors should have a lot of exposure to multiple options. Even as complex as a 1031 exchange. Therefore, they often come up with the best solutions and plans.  Also, based on their qualifications and achievements, you will get an idea of how much expect to pay for such financial advisor. Although, not all advisors change based on the same criteria.

Pay structure of Financial Advisor

As a new bee, looking for a financial advisor, it is better to go for a financial advisor who charges on an hourly or fee basis. These planners can be the best fit for you because they do not operate on a commission. These advisors are client-centric and give you genuine reviews of your options. Unlike other financial advisors who operate on a commission basis and might direct you to buy products which may be a more profitable deal for them. Besides, they are highly experienced and take their clients seriously because they know someone is counting on them for hourly basis. 

Know the background of your advisor

Do you like investigate? To find an advisor, you need to become a detective. Learn how they treaded their previous clients or how they handled their money. Details are important to uncover because you don’t want to risk your money with the wrong person. You should also get a sense of how trustworthy they are, for this, you can seek information about then from some sources like friends or family.

Try asking for referrals

References are powerful and can make an uphill task easier. As you hunt to find a good financial advisor, you can ask for help from people you know. Ask your friends for a good referral. You can seek information about various financial advisors or financial advising companies on Google. Read reviews to know what other people say about them. After a little research and brainstorming, decide on the financial advisor that feel right to you. 

Interview various financial advisors

“Hard work is the key to success.” This idea proves to be true to find a good financial advisor. In the world full of smart speaking people who can fool you easily, you need to find someone you can trust with your money.

This is a big deal, right? So, you need to interview multiple advisors. Weed out the worst to find the best among them. When you talk to advisors, you can ask them about the work they have done for their clients. Their approach to investing, how do they measure success.

These are some tips that can help you find a good financial advisor. Don’t forget to remember to include these points in your hiring checklist. A good financial advisor can make your income and savings work for you.

The person who understands the value of money and the hard work required to earn money is someone who can give you good advice. We hope by following these tips you find the best financial advisor who will make your life happy well in to your 90’s!

What Is A Culinary School?

Aug
14

Culinary School

What is a culinary school?

A cooking school — an institution devoted to education in the art and science of cooking and food preparation

One thing to know is Everything about a professional kitchen, including an educational kitchen, is amazingly intense. The fact is the Knives are much sharper, stoves are a lot hotter, shared space is tighter than your kitchen. Professional kitchens run at a fast-moving pace and you’ll be expected to figure everything out very quickly.

Is Culinary School Hard?

More people than ever are chasing a dream of running a kitchen or become a famous chef. Culinary school enrollment has increased in recent years. Yes, culinary school is and should be hard. The real world of culinary arts is hard. Long hours for low pay is common in the early years. It’s important to think about why you want to go to culinary school.

How much is culinary school?

Tuition Rates for Culinary Schools

In addition to traditionally high tuition rates, the costs of culinary schools are also rapidly rising. Currently, culinary school tuition typically costs over $30,000. That’s a steep price for most students to consider, and one that will force many students to utilize financial aid.

When looking at culinary school tuition, pay close attention to whether the dollar amount covers the whole degree program or only a portion of the program. In many cases, it isn’t the same as a yearly tuition fee that you’ll find at a four-year college. Instead, culinary school tuition typically encompasses the cost of the entire degree program. For example, the Arizona Culinary Institute has a nine-month program that costs $25,990. Meanwhile, The Culinary Institute of America charges about $12,950 per semester for a nine-semester program. The difference in total cost is significant, so it’s important to look into these kinds of details when researching culinary schools.

Source: https://www.campusexplorer.com

Is going to culinary school a good idea?

Quiz: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/should-you-become-a-chef-4100305

This is a question I hear often, between my educator hat and my columnist hat. Adding to the confusion is that if you look up the answer, you get a flurry of advice, much of it from culinary schools who have a horse in the race and argue that either:

  1. A degree is a waste of money—you just need to learn the cooking skills as efficiently as possible.
  2. A degree will better prepare you for long-term success and adaptability.

 

As usual with these questions, there is no single answer that will work for everyone.

My advice is to ask yourself a series of questions that may help you decide on the program to meet your needs.

First: What is the goal? If your goal is simply to get a job in a restaurant kitchen, consider learning on the job with a good mentor. I know that may seem like surprising advice from a culinary educator, but employers are desperate for talent, culinary school is expensive, and a popular misconception is that you need a degree to get a foot in the door. While that may be true for top kitchens, you can learn a lot from working full time in the right environment and supplementing your work with reading and classes.

 

Is Culinary a good career?

In the recent years, more and more people are gaining interest in culinary arts. Whether they want to be executive chef of the fanciest restaurant in town or own their own business catering to locals, lots of people are researching, learning, and consuming more fine food than ever before.

For those who want to make a career out of the culinary arts, this profession requires one to be highly educated. An individual has to know how to cook, but also how to manage a kitchen, restaurant, and about the food industry to keep up with trends and demand. Working in the culinary arts field is much more than preparing a tasty meal.

Let’s take a look at how to become a part of this exciting and fast-paced field. From your first day in culinary school to the day you are promoted to head chef, what does it take to make your mark in the field of culinary arts?

Can you go to culinary school with no experience?

How do I become a chef without culinary school?

Speaking from experience, you do not need any previous experience to get in to a culinary school. Like many schools, if you claim to have the passion, and are willing to pay the bills, you can get into a culinary school. I had no professional kitchen experience before attending Le Cordon Bleu, a few years ago. It is not easy to succeed, since many individuals will have previous experience and more knowledge. This should not not keep you from following your passion in the kitchen. Culinary school can either be a place to hone your skills in preparation for becoming a chef or it can be a place to start your journey in working in the food industry.Do I need to go to culinary school to be a chef?

You can also get a job in a restaurant kitchen or even a fast food restaurant with little or no experience so you can practice your newly acquired skills. All you need is a willingness to work hard and learn, as well as a passion for food. The first answer above is correct in the fact that it is not always glamorous. You’ll have to do a lot of things you don’t enjoy, and may not seem related to what you want to do in your career, but it is all important. If you really want to be a chef, and have a love for all things food related, it is worth it, because in the end, if you’re doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like you’re working. I still can’t believe I get paid to play in the kitchen every day.

How many years does it take to become a chef?

It usually takes only two years to complete and is offered by a variety of institutions, such as community colleges and culinary schools. During the two years of education, students should expect to gain an extensive array of culinary skills and knowledge that will provide the foundation for a career as a chef.What’s the difference between a cook and a chef?

 

The following are some schools to consider:

 

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA)
The world-renowned Institute of Culinary Education (ICE)
Kendall is the Accelerated Associate of Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts,
New England Culinary Institute (NECI) The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Washington
San Diego Culinary Institute (SDCI)
Schoolcraft College Detroit Culinary Arts (Detroit)
St. Louis Community College (SLCC)
Delgado Community College (DCC)