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How to Pick the Right Boarding School

Having a great education sets the foundation for success. Statistics show that those who receive a great education, on average do much better in just about all measures of life.

There are many approaches parents take to ensure their children receive a great education. Some choose home schooling which allows them to control every aspect of their child’s education from curriculum to the amount of hours spent every day on school work. Some parents choose to put their kids in a formalized learning environment controlled by educators who have a track record for getting great results.

Both of these approaches can work well depending upon the child. But what is certain, is that children do better academically when they have few distractions and are literally living in an environment built to support learning.

This is perhaps why boarding schools consistently graduate the world’s top students. They offer a completely planned out education strategy and a setting that is proven to create high performing students.

But like everything in life, not all boarding schools are created equal and parents interested in sending a child to a boarding school needs to study their options and have a checklist for deciding on the right school. Here are some of the items to include on your checklist:

Educational Credentials

At the heart of any great school is its academic track record, so you will want to examine the education credentials of each boarding school you are considering. It should reveal a school that has top tier teaching curriculum, highly credentialed teachers and a large percentage of the student body that is excelling in classes.

For those who are not excelling in their classes, there should a support system in place that gets to the bottom of why and corrects these deficiencies in a very systematic and deliberate manner.

Further you should find that students are being accepted in high numbers at the top universities and there should be a number of alumni that have gone on to have standout careers in their chosen fields. All of this information should be made available by the school either as an introduction to their approach and accomplishments in this area or upon your request.

Recognized Leaders in Their Specialty Areas

Many boarding schools specialize in a particular subject or subjects. There are schools that are renowned for graduating future politicians and others that excel at creating future business leaders. There are boarding schools with performing arts programs that are the industry standard, and others who graduate top scientists. Make sure if you are interviewing a school that has a particular specialty area, that they have a great reputation for graduating successful professionals in that industry.

A Large Number of Students are Boarders

Practically every boarding school also has students that are day students, meaning those that go home in the afternoons and are not on the school campus during the weekends. So you want to make sure that there is a large enough amount of students that actually stay at the school to ensure that your child will have company during the evenings and weekends. Being far away from home with no one around can be extremely taxing and disorienting on young people. Without lots of other kids boarding, there will be fewer activities available for them to partake in, and fewer friends for them to make. So ask the school about the number of students who are boarders.

Appropriate Values and Traditions

Many boarding schools have been around for decades and some for hundreds of years. During their time in existence they develop an ethos or set of characteristics that come to define the school. Some schools are regarded as very tough and stringent regarding academics, others have a strong record of compassion, while others have a reputation for developing creative skills in students. You should understand this ethos and decide if it fits with what you want for your child.

Focus on Extra-curricular Activities

When your child is not in class or studying there will be considerable free time. Boarding schools try and fill this time with productive activities. You need to be sure that there are enough of the type of activities that will appeal to your child, going on all year long at the school.

Most boarding schools have excellent facilities for music, sports and other types of activities on campus. The school should offer all sorts of group activities built around these facilities. This means singing and music groups, sports teams, drama productions, debate groups, and others, and students should be strongly encouraged to join.

There is also an opportunity to work within the community around the school as a volunteer. These types of activities give students the chance to meet new people and make new friends and develop character. They also build student’s character and school record, which will be looked on positively by universities.

Deciding where to send your child to school is a big challenge. When you add the need to ensure they are also cared for well while they learn, it complicates things even more. Do your homework and you will learn information that will help you make a good choice.

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Top five outfit ideas to wear to Gay Pride

It’s that time of the year again where we celebrate what it means to live and love with complete freedom. There are no stigmas that are attached when it comes to love. Whether you are heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual or anything else that is in between, Gay pride is the perfect occasion to show off who you are as a person. The real question is, what are you going to be wearing to gay pride to show off your true colours? Here are some of our own suggestions to get your creativity flowing so your outfit looks STUNNING for the parade. 

  1. RAINBOWS!

Of course, if you are going to pride you need to have some rainbows somewhere on your body. It doesn’t matter who you are, you could be a high-end lawyer, a homemaker or even one of the hottest Covent Gardens escorts in the entire world, love is love and the rainbow flag captures the freedom to express our sexualities perfectly.

So, you may be wondering how you can incorporate the rainbow flag into your outfit. Some people just choose to wear it around their necks as a cape or just have it tied around the waist as a sash. However, if you are feeling creative, and want to get your glam on, you can take the flag to a whole new level. Paint it on yourself, and don’t forget to add some sparkle spray to it. Heck, you could even use temporary dye to start colouring your hair into a rainbow pattern.

Now, everyone knows that Pride can be quite a boisterous event, so it’s important that you dress for the event. You need fabrics that are cool that give your body enough room to breathe. If you’re looking for a great way to remain cool, whilst also incorporating the flag into your look, why not buy a large rainbow tutu or some rainbow high-rise shorts. There are even trainers or sandals that incorporate the rainbow flag.

Basically, the sky is the limit when it comes to showing off the pride flag. Just try to think creatively and you will fit in perfectly. 

  1. Sparkles and Gemstones

Whether you’re in the parade or just want to stand at the sidelines, there is nothing wrong with adding a little extra glamour to your outfit. It’s going to be hot walking around all day admiring the events, so you need to make sure that your outfit not only sparkles like mad, but it makes you feel comfortable. If you’re feeling confident then why not just stick to a bikini that glitters with gemstones and sparkles. That way you can use it for dancing the night away.

Better yet, why not use the gemstone trend and stick them on your chest? Most of the gemstones come in multicolours and you can also get glitter roll-on sticks that you can use to sparkle up your body. Pride is about showing yourself off, so it’s a perfect time to show a little skin! Some paints even come in glitter forms, so feel free to add some up to bring a little sparkle to your pride look.

  1. Simple but Chic

Of course, you are also more than welcome to wear comfortable clothing on Pride. Lots of people will be dressing up, but it’s really more important that you just do whatever makes you feel happiest, especially if you do tend to feel a little shy at times. Don’t be scared to just turn up in jeans and a pride related t-shirt. Some people literally have gay slogans on their t-shirt or use their outfits to show support for their friends and loved ones. If you a gay or heterosexual ally of the community then feel free to express it. It’s important that you use pride as an event to stick up for the people you love and care about. As a heterosexual/ cis person then you should be ready to stand up and show that you support the community and the idea of autonomy of sexuality and love.

  1. Go skimpy!

If there is any time to show off a bit of flesh then now is the time. Lots of people go to Pride in a bikini and shorts, just their underwear or even in leather. This is to show that they are not ashamed of their bodies and to reinforce that love is love. It does not matter who they choose to give their bodies to. What matters is that they are happy. The main idea is to be flamboyant and to make the message of pride heard. If that means that you want to show off your skin then so be it. Just have fun! However, if you want to add an extra layer of sass to your look, a large fluffy jacket is the perfect thing to give you a touch of glamour. 

  1. Drag it up

Drag queens and faux queens alike. Now is the perfect time to be yourself. Whether you want to wear a rainbow-inspired ball gown or choose to sit in the parade in a giant cocktail dress, it’s time to let your creativity shine and DRAG. IT.UP. Bigger is always beautiful, darling. There’s it’s time to get out your makeup kit and give yourself a brand new look. Try to think of a theme and then have fun with it. Whether you want to be a pretty princess, a sci-fi warrior or just dress up as someone from your favourite LGBTQ+ anime, GO FOR IT!

What are you wearing for Pride?

At the end end of the day, it’s important to wear something that expresses who you are as a person. Don’t just hideaway. Use the festival as a way to allow yourself to shine and just let go. It’s a great day out and will bring you confidence that you may have never thought you had. Just make sure that you have an outfit that can express exactly who you are.

5 Time-Tested Strategies for Financial Success

Financial Success

There are no short cuts to achieving financial success. To build, preserve and expand wealth that lasts you a lifetime, you must follow some proven principles. Here, we’ve compiled a list of 5 of the essential strategies you should make a part of your financial short and long-term plan to help you build your own financial success.

1. Set up a brokerage account

As soon as you’ve opened a bank account and signed up for your company’s retirement savings programme, jump on the next stage of smart wealth building by setting up a brokerage account. With it, you will be able to invest in stocks of different companies, no-transaction-fee mutual funds, as well as exchange-traded funds, which most people can’t access with their 401(k). 

To give you a quick guideline, opening an account with an online broker, Fidelity requires you to start with a deposit of $2,500; while at Charles Schwab, you’ll need only $1,000, which is not compulsory if you signed up for automatic monthly deductions of $100 or more from your account. For better money management and investment planning, it’s advised you go with a debit card that helps you with that goal in addition to making transactions convenient. 

2. Ensure your investing costs are at a minimal level 

Generally, less expenditure means more money in your account. As a fund investor, focus on ETFs and mutual funds with low expense ratios. As we already pointed out, the first thing to do is to register with a reputable online broker such as Fidelity or Charles Schwab so you can buy and sell stocks averaging $7 per trade. Besides, there are top discounters that allow you to trade select ETFs without requiring sales fees. Seriously consider index funds, especially those that track S&P 500, with estimated annual fees of 0.05%. Funds like Mairs & Power Growth (MPGFX) and Dodge & Cox Stock (DODGX) are recommended as they are top low-cost actively managed funds. 

If you have a fund manager, you’ll probably pay an annual consultation fee of 1%; but you can always negotiate for a lower fee. Another option is to go digital with an AI adviser, which can help manage your stock portfolio by using digital technology. An example is Wealthfront, which will not charge you a management fee if your balance is less than $10,000 and requires you to pay only 0.25% per annum for sums above that. You may also check Betterment, which levies just 0.25% of assets under management yearly. 

3. Diversify your investment 

Spreading out your investment with a variety of good value stocks and bonds can help you weather the storms of volatile periods and enhance your long-term ROI outlook. If, for example, your retirement is at least ten years away, keep 70% of your investments in stocks and put 30% in top-quality bonds. Mutual funds are good great for you too. For example, mutual fund managers, Vanguard Wellington (VWELX) keeps two-thirds of investments in stocks, as a principle, and the rest in bonds; and it has maintained a yearly return of 8.2% over the past 20 years. 

4. Rebalance, retarget and realign as necessary 

It’s important you get regularly balance your portfolio up for better overall performance. Move your investment assets around sometimes, divesting some funds off the ones performing well and shoring up the laggards to get a good mix. Always review your brokerage statements at least twice a year to see where your portfolio needs some rebalancing, retargeting or realignment and then go on to make the necessary trades. 

5. Adjust your investments

As your countdown to your retirement, your target should be an investment portfolio that gives you a good return that can stand the tide of inflation and also minimises your risk.  A spread of 50% stocks, 40% bonds and 5% cash is a nice mix that can help you achieve that goal. A mix of 60% stocks and 40% bonds and cash will likely give more growth; but if your risk threshold is less, then try a mix of 60% bonds and cash and 40% stocks.