(NewsUSA) – The college application process and the college prep testing that goes along with it can be overwhelming for students and families. Tests such as the SAT and ACT are an important element of the application process, and therefore a source of anxiety. However, only about 30 percent of public schools have an advisor dedicated to college prep.
An outside organization offering test prep courses, such as Sylvan Learning, can make a significant difference in test preparation. More than 15,000 students benefit from Sylvan’s test prep programs each year with higher test scores, and even some perfect scores, according to the company.
“Students need someone to help them navigate through this very confusing process and Sylvan Learning’s prep programs are a valuable resource for that,” says Anathea Simpkins, Sylvan Learning’s Director of College Prep Products.
Since the debut of the revised SAT in March 2016, Simpkins says, she has noticed that more students have trouble with the math section in which calculators are not allowed. The “Words in Context” items in the reading and writing sections also pose a frequent challenge for students. Sylvan has adjusted its SAT and ACT prep programs to focus on these challenging areas and help give students the edge they need, Simpkins notes.
Tips for success on the new SAT include:
*Read more. The new SAT includes word problems in math, passages in writing, and text to be read before composing an essay. In addition, several items may be based on one passage, and failure to read effectively could impact several answers.
*Focus in class. Much of the SAT comes from sources used in the classroom. Many passages in the reading and math sections draw from the context of social studies and science, so it is important to pay attention in all subject areas, recognize connections, and apply familiar concepts to new ideas.
*Know your tough spots. An initial diagnostic test can show where a struggling student needs help, so these skills can be a top priority during test prep sessions.
Sylvan Learning takes on the challenges of college prep tests by identifying the skills needed to succeed in each section. Each chapter of a Sylvan program includes robust practice and a unique online component, SylvanPrep.com, which provides thousands of video-based lessons for additional practice and support that is especially useful in a student’s problem areas.
Visit sylvanlearning.com/prep for more details about Sylvan Learning’s college prep programs.
Source: NewsUSA Business
(NewsUSA) – Looking for a resolution that can literally pay off even if you wind up not keeping it? Think your finances.That’s right, unlike the gazillions of other New Year’s pledges we make this time of year only to soon break — can you spell D-I-E-T?– simply vowing to handle fiscal matters better can have "a positive impact" on your bottom line.That’s one of the more intriguing findings from Fidelity Investments’ just-released eighth annual "New Year Financial Resolutions Study," and it’s based on stats like these comparing respondents who said they’d made financial resolutions at the start of 2016 to those who hadn’t:* Resolvers beat non-resolvers when it came to ending 2016 more debt-free than the previous year (45 percent vs. 34 percent).* They also now feel more "financially secure" (45 percent vs. 34 percent).* And they also feel more optimistic about their finances looking ahead to 2017 (52 percent vs. 37 percent).And those who actually did follow through on their resolutions?Sixty-six percent said they’re now "in a better financial situation."The fact is, people who make resolutions on money matters tend to feel better about the state of their finances, which helps them stay engaged and make progress toward their goals," says Ken Hevert, Fidelity’s senior vice president of retirement.So what did the study find to be the top three financial resolutions for 2017?Turns out Americans are remarkably consistent.For the eighth straight year, saving more topped the list among those at least considering making a resolution (50 percent), followed by paying down or paying off debt (28 percent), and spending less (16 percent).And while Americans were optimistic about 2017 — Millennials being the most upbeat, with 87 percent of them believing they’ll be better off financially — those surveyed had some real concerns. Chief among them: the dreaded "unexpected expenses," which was Number One last year, too."Whether it’s a new roof for your home or a medical emergency, the unexpected can throw your finances for a loop," says Hevert. "In fact, for those whose resolutions fell short in 2016, almost three-quarters said they were derailed by unforeseen expenses, so setting aside an emergency fund can create a buffer."Which makes resources like Fidelity’s new online "Three Financial Resolutions for 2017" especially worth reading. It includes a rather savvy tip on how people could find themselves with a $22,000 windfall if — instead of paying the typical household’s $43 a month in bank and credit card fees — they switched to no-fee institutions and invested that money over 20 years at a hypothetical compound annual growth rate of 7 percent.Hmmm. Not a bad addition to anyone’s resolutions list -; only, in this instance, they’d have to follow through on it.
Source: NewsUSA Business
(NewsUSA) – This article is a paid advertisement. The content was provided by One Reverse Mortgage.
When people want access to money from the equity in their home, they often turn to a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). But homeowners who are 62 and older may have another option — the reverse mortgage line of credit. Similar to the HELOC, a reverse mortgage line of credit’s value is based on the equity in your home, and you can access the money whenever you need it.
Unlike a HELOC, the available funds in a reverse mortgage line of credit can be a big benefit for many people, because whether they ever use it or not, the reverse mortgage line of credit grows in value. This can be a great safety net that can cover future expenses for financially savvy clients. Another way people use the reverse mortgage line of credit is by receiving monthly distributions to live on while they defer the use of their retirement assets. This, in turn, may allow those assets more time to grow.
The reverse mortgage line of credit is widely used due to its many features. Some financial advisors are recommending that the reverse mortgage line of credit be used as a financial tool in retirement planning. But the line of credit is just one way to receive your proceeds from your reverse mortgage. You have other options, too. One of the best features of all reverse mortgage products is that you are not required to pay monthly mortgage payments; however, you are still responsible for paying homeowners insurance, property taxes, and home maintenance costs.
To receive more information, request a free guide from One Reverse Mortgage by visiting www.onereversemortgage.com/nu/ or call (888)779-8011 to speak to a licensed specialist. The licensed specialists at One Reverse Mortgage are trained to answer any questions you may have and get you started with a reverse mortgage product.
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These materials are not from HUD or FHA and were not approved by HUD or a government agency.
Source: NewsUSA Business
(NewsUSA) – The phrase ‘six degrees of separation,’ suggests that only a minuscule measurement is what divides one person from another. Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) has decreased those degrees dramatically, connecting us not only to each other, but to everything from our fitness trackers to our coffee makers.
Consider this: according to a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission, the number of Internet-connected devices tops 25 billion worldwide. And that number is expected to double in the next five years, according to experts cited in the report.
In a world where everyone and everything is connected, digital security is a must-have, just as important as the lock on your front door or the keys to your house.
“Technology is revolutionizing the way consumers use cars, homes, work spaces and everyday items,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R- Calif., told USA Today in a recent interview. “These devices raise both opportunities and questions about regulatory policy, spectrum space, privacy and more.”
Underscoring Issa’s concerns are high-profile hacks, including one that took remote control of a Jeep on a busy highway. Experts warn who consumers need to understand that, although convenient, the IoT is an interconnected system, and security is needed to prevent a weakness in one device (like a SmartWatch) from becoming an open door to attack in another device (such as a connected car).
The good news is that sensitive industries such as banking, government, and healthcare have worked with companies like Gemalto, a global leader in digital security, to solve difficult security challenges. While most may not recognize the name “Gemalto,” experts say that almost everyone uses at least one or two of the company’s solutions, which are embedded in a wide variety of connected devices, credit cards, passports, and ID badges.
So, to ensure that your data is protected from hackers, Gemalto recommends the following tips:
* Secure the device. Sensitive devices need an added layer of protection, such as a SIM card or a tamper-resistant Secure Element that stores data in a safe place.
* Control the access. Implement two-factor authentication to ensure that only authorized people are granted access to the data.
* Secure the data. Ensure that sensitive data is encrypted and that encryption keys are stored in a separate and safe place.
For more information, please visit www.gemalto.com.
Source: NewsUSA Computers
(NewsUSA) – A real-life David and Goliath battle is brewing in California wine country, as smaller wineries fight to compete against behemoth wine companies–corporations and private equity funds that are changing the face of the West Coast’s wine industry forever with a frenzy of acquisitions.
“2016 will be remembered as one of the busiest years in M&A history for California wine, in terms of numbers of transactions and the amount of high-profile purchases,” says George Coope, an analyst for Zepponi & Company.
Higher wine consumption; consumer interest in more expensive, higher-quality wines (known as “premiumization”); and lower interest rates are among the forces driving the trend. Premiumization is perhaps the most important trend shaping today’s U.S. wine industry, according to Coope.
So how do the small vintners thrive and compete? Some streamline the number of wines offered; others focus on building their wine clubs and relationships with consumers who purchase direct. One California winery has taken an unconventional approach–creating a values-based partnership with a like-minded winery in another part of the world.
Jordan Vineyard & Winery, in Sonoma County, and Champagne AR Lenoble in France, recently announced a new kind of collaboration. This one requires no financial investments; just two family-owned wineries sharing expertise and each other’s wines. Jordan now serves guests who attend Jordan culinary events and winemaker dinners Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble. AR Lenoble also serves Jordan wines to its guests at the winery in the village of Damery. Both wineries take pride in being independent in today’s globalized wine world.
“We believe small, independent businesses like ours are stronger if we stick together,” Antoine Malassagne, winemaker and co-proprietor of AR Lenoble says in a statement. Founded in 1920, AR Lenoble remains one of the few houses in Champagne that is 100-percent independent with no corporate investment.
The Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble will be served at Jordan’s special events and will be available for purchase direct from the winery in spring 2017.
“Sparkling wine is a family tradition we just couldn’t let go of,”says John Jordan, proprietor of Jordan Vineyard & Winery. Jordan Winery has a history with sparkling wine dating back to 1987, when John’s father and sister created J by Jordan sparkling. His sister sold J to the E&J Gallo corporation last year.
“Independent businesses need to be nimble to succeed in an increasingly corporatized industry,” Jordan says. Founded in 1972, Jordan remains independently owned, increasingly less common for established mid-sized wineries in Northern California.
Source: NewsUSA Business
(NewsUSA) – Promotional products are more popular than ever, based on data from a 2016 consumer survey conducted by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). The survey respondents were evenly split between men and women, and included millennials (43 percent), generation X (35 percent), baby boomers (19 percent), and the “silent generation” of older adults (3 percent).
Overall, 89 percent of the adult consumers surveyed reported receiving a promotional product within the last six months, an increase from previous years.
Key survey findings include:
–85 percent of individuals said they remembered the branding and 76 percent recalled messaging from at least one promotional product.
–82 percent of individuals said their impression of the brand changed for the better as a direct result of receiving a promotional product from that brand.
–79 percent of individuals said they looked up a brand and 83 percent said they would be more likely to do business with a brand after receiving a promotional product.
–All age groups rated promotional products as the most effective way to encourage consumers to take action with regard to the brand.
PPAI used five metrics to evaluate the participants’ responses to promotional products: Reach, Recall, Resonance, Reaction and Relativity.
Reach: Refers to the length, frequency, and range of exposure of a consumer to a brand. For example, 79 percent of consumers will pass along a promotional product, whether or not they use it themselves, which extends the brand’s reach. In addition, the survey found that 23 percent of men and 13 percent of women would keep a promotional product for up to 11 years or longer.
Recall: Refers to whether a consumer remembers a product. According to the survey, 85 percent of consumers could recall the branding of at least one promotional product, with some prompting; 76 percent remembered the message; and 71 percent remembered a call to action associated with the product.
Resonance: The survey results suggest that consumers feel engaged with promotional products on a personal level: 71 percent described their emotional connection to promotional products as “happy.”
Reaction: A positive response to advertising is more likely to generate the desired reaction, and 79 percent (87 percent of millennials) reported being curious enough to take further action after receiving a promotional product.
Relativity: Consumers across all age groups said they preferred visually appealing advertising with a clear message, and that promotional products were the most effective medium.
For more information, visit www.GetInTouchAdvertising.com
Source: NewsUSA Business
(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – As the calendar flips to another year, many employees will consider starting the new year on the hunt for a new job. In today’s changing workforce, it is more important than ever for companies to realize that a salary alone is no longer enough to recruit or retain strong employees. According to a recent survey by Aflac, small businesses deserve a round of applause for their ability to keep employees happy. The report found that 85 percent of small-business employees are happy in their current job and more than half (51 percent) agree that most of or all of their happiness in their current job is because is a result of working for a small business.
The keys to happiness
Nearly a quarter of participants (23 percent) stated that the feeling of importance was the best part of working for a small business. Small businesses have the unique ability to make employees feel appreciated, respected and valued on a personal and professional level. In a small business environment, there are typically fewer layers between newcomers and leadership. This tight-knit structure of small businesses can create a family-like atmosphere that allows employees to feel that their opinions matter and that they play a significant role in the business’s mission.
Flexibility is also vital in creating employee happiness. According to the report, 30 percent of respondents noted that flexible scheduling was the best part of working for a small business. This can include working from home, leaving work early to play in a summer sports league or giving new parents an extra week of paid time off to help care for their newborn. A workplace that promotes healthy work-life balance can create happier, less stressed employees and can also increase employee productivity on the job.
Although small businesses excel at keeping employees happy, there is always room for improvement. In a small-business community, money does not seem to be the only motivator. In fact, 65 percent of small-business employees indicate that an improvement in their benefits offerings would make them happier employees. By offering a robust benefits plan that includes voluntary benefits, small businesses can ensure that their employees are able to find the right benefits to meet their individual needs.
Learn more at aflac.com/smallbusiness.
Source: NewsUSA Business
(NewsUSA) – When consumers fill their tanks at the gas station, they will see signs reading “may contain 10 percent Ethanol. However, many don’t know what this means or how it can affect their engine performance. Ethanol-blended fuel has become standard in the United States, and the Environmental Protection Agency recently mandated an increase in the amount of ethanol added to fuel;, meaning, it is even more important that consumers understand the pros and cons of Ethanol.
Ethanol is a biofuel distilled from corn and sugar that has many benefits, including reducing greenhouse emissions and lowering the cost of fuel at the pump.
However, ethanol-blended fuel can also have negative side effects on your car, boat and small engines, such as lawnmowers and snowblowers, over time. Some signs that ethanol is affecting your engine’s performance include:
* Efficiency: Ethanol-blended fuel’s lower energy efficiency may reduce fuel economy of your engine.
* Stalling: Ethanol can cause engine stalling if the water in the ethanol separates from the gasoline and floods the engine. This problem is most likely in engines that sit unused for long periods of time.
* Corrosion: Ethanol can contribute to corrosion of fuel tanks and other components, and the risk is even greater with small engines with aluminum parts.
* Clogging: Ethanol can loosen debris in the fuel line that leads to clogs.
Fortunately, there are several easy things you can do to help protect your engine from ethanol-related side effects.
Treatment: Using a non-alcohol based fuel stabilizer and treatment product, such as STA-BIL 360 Performance, can help protect gas-powered engines. A stabilizer may be especially beneficial for engines that sit for long periods without starting. Stabilizers are designed to absorb the excess water that may be present if ethanol begins to separate from gasoline and protect the insides of the fuel tank and parts.
Turn it on: Start up your stored classic car, boat and seasonal equipment, such as lawn mowers or snow blowers a few times during the off-season months to make sure they are running smoothly.
Tank it up: Cars, lawn mowers, snow blowers, boats, and other gasoline-powered tools and vehicles should keep their tanks at 95 percent full with fuel, and add a fuel stabilizer if they are tosit unused for a long time. This strategy helps prevent condensation while allowing room for expansion in warmer weather.
Trust your source: Buy fuel from a reputable gas station. A station with a quick turnover of their products helps ensure that the gasoline is fresh.
Test the lines: Rubber fuel lines dating from before the mid-1980’s should be inspected. These lines may not be compatible with ethanol-blended fuel, and may need to be replaced.
For more information about protecting your engine, visit www.sta-bil.com.
Source: NewsUSA Entertainment
(NewsUSA) – A foursome of four-wheel drive clubs are the winners of the 2016 Outstanding Trails Program sponsored by BFGoodrich Tires, in partnership with 4 Wheel Parts, United Four Wheel Drive Associations, Blue Ribbon Coalition, and Off Road Business Association.
The clubs and their nominated trails are:
-Mile-Hi Jeep Club: Sidewinder Trail, Colorado
-Ohio River Four Wheelers: Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway, Kentucky
-Grand Mesa Jeep Club: 21 Road, Grand Junction, Colorado
-Piston’s Wild Motorsports Club: Hagen Creek Trail, Yacolt Burn State Forest, Washington
The Outstanding Trails program, now in its 11th year, was created to promote trail conservation and responsible off-road driving. The program invites off-road clubs from all over North America to nominate local trails that need maintenance or improvement. A panel of judges chooses the winning clubs and trails, which are selected based on unique features, terrain, and club support.
The four off-road clubs chosen each year receive grants of $4,000 each to use for local efforts to preserve and protect their hometown trails. In addition, representatives from BFGoodrich Tires will attend club events related to the winning trails in order to highlight each location’s unique features and educate four-wheel drive fans in responsible trail use.
“The saying goes, ‘where the rubber meets the road,’ and at BFGoodrich, not only do we take that to heart, but we also believe that where the rubber meets the trail is equally important, and that starts with the All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire,” says BFGoodrich’s Oscar Pereda. “In our first ten years of the Outstanding Trails program, we have helped to improve, repair, maintain, and protect nearly 50 trails in 17 states and two Canadian provinces.”
Each of the winning clubs has plans to improve and maintain their local trails. One in particular has taken conservation a step beyond the trail itself to include animals that live there. The Grand Mesa Jeep Club “has adopted the 21 Road Trail and other local trails and is committed to its protection and maintenance,” according to club president Jeff Bates. But the club has adopted not only the road, but also the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad (also known as the “21 Road Toad”), a threatened species in the area. “The club has committed to protecting the toad’s habitat in at least three areas along the trail with posts and cable,” Bates says.
Visit bfgoodrichtires.com for more information.
Source: NewsUSA Entertainment