Smartphone for Law School?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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Favre4Prez
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Smartphone for Law School?

Postby Favre4Prez » Wed May 02, 2012 3:18 pm

I can understand why this would be considered a dumb inquiry. If this is a stupid thread, I apologize in advance.

So basically, I am a pretty simple, low-maintenance, frugal guy, and I have always been a bit behind the curve technologically-speaking, relative to all of my friends/classmates/peers. I really just don't care and am stubborn to change my lifestyle. I don't even know how I am posting on this forum right now quite honestly. Technology literally makes me want to throw up, and my friends/girlfriend/family telling me to get with the times kind of bother me.

Right now I use a simple flip phone (the kind that people were using literally 8 years ago). I work full time and get along fine with it and feel no need for something more advanced. I have been doing some research and crunching the numbers, and because of my current cell phone plan, I could upgrade to some sort of a smartphone for next to nothing, but I would then have to pay for a data plan (I would obviously get the cheapest data plan there is). My question is this; is there any conceivable advantage to having a smartphone is law school? Does it make life significantly easier? Or, does it not matter?

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Rowinguy2009
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Wed May 02, 2012 3:26 pm

I think it's nice to be able to check e-mail and occasionally look up random things (phone numbers, addresse, etc) without needing access to a computer. But if you didn't need one while working a job, you almost certainly won't need one in law school.

sequins
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby sequins » Wed May 02, 2012 5:07 pm

It's one of those things that seem unneeded at first - but you would consider essential once you've actually used it. (think of it as the cell-phone vs just land line debate back in the day)
It's little things like being able to quickly look up directions in case you're lost, keeping your calendar and to do list organised in one place, being able to respond or see a time critical email when you're away from home, or (something you'll see as useful once you actually use it) it let's you look things up wherever you are - from whether or not that restaurant is amazing or will give you food poisoning, to whether it's worth shelling out 15 bucks for a ticket to "The Hunger Games". Basically you'll be able to do pretty much the same things without a smartphone - just you'll be able to do them quicker, and more conveniently - especially if you're not someone who plans out everything in advance.

It really depends on what kind of person you are. (I get lost all the time, am horrible with directions, and can be pretty spontaneous about plans or going to places - i.e. after dinner - not feeling tired, so I can pull out the old iphone and look for bars to go to, or good happy hours. So having a smartphone probably saves me hours every week just stopping me from getting lost, and improved my quality of life.

If you are the kind of person who never gets lost, and plans their life out perfectly to the dot before hand then it won't be as useful.
(Oh and the data plan is the most expensive part- I wouldn't settle for their 'free' smartphones, and get a decent one given that it's worth 8 bucks a month over 2 years for the best ones.

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rinkrat19
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed May 02, 2012 5:11 pm

Every time I'm sitting in a restaurant with friends or family having an argument about who played that one guy in that one movie and someone looks it up, we wonder how we lived before smartphones.

Also every time you unexpectedly get stuck in line somewhere with nothing to do. No prob: check your email, watch some Netflix, see if anyone posted anything good on TLS, play some sudoku and Draw Something.

Pandora replaces the radio in your car (assuming you have an aux input), you can listen to most sports broadcasts, you can access your Nook or Kindle library, and you can load up a Starbucks gift card and pay for coffee without your wallet.

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stratocophic
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby stratocophic » Wed May 02, 2012 5:15 pm

I'll say this - it's a lifesaver for interview season. Drove 2 hours to a screener and forgot my tie one time, but managed to save myself by looking up a TJ Maxx 5 minutes from the hotel. Also, I'd still be wandering around NYC 9 months later looking for the buildings my interviews were in if I hadn't had a smartphone.

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Favre4Prez
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby Favre4Prez » Thu May 03, 2012 9:59 am

sequins wrote:It's one of those things that seem unneeded at first - but you would consider essential once you've actually used it. (think of it as the cell-phone vs just land line debate back in the day)
It's little things like being able to quickly look up directions in case you're lost, keeping your calendar and to do list organised in one place, being able to respond or see a time critical email when you're away from home, or (something you'll see as useful once you actually use it) it let's you look things up wherever you are - from whether or not that restaurant is amazing or will give you food poisoning, to whether it's worth shelling out 15 bucks for a ticket to "The Hunger Games". Basically you'll be able to do pretty much the same things without a smartphone - just you'll be able to do them quicker, and more conveniently - especially if you're not someone who plans out everything in advance.

It really depends on what kind of person you are. (I get lost all the time, am horrible with directions, and can be pretty spontaneous about plans or going to places - i.e. after dinner - not feeling tired, so I can pull out the old iphone and look for bars to go to, or good happy hours. So having a smartphone probably saves me hours every week just stopping me from getting lost, and improved my quality of life.

If you are the kind of person who never gets lost, and plans their life out perfectly to the dot before hand then it won't be as useful.
(Oh and the data plan is the most expensive part- I wouldn't settle for their 'free' smartphones, and get a decent one given that it's worth 8 bucks a month over 2 years for the best ones.


What exactly is wrong with the free ones? This is not an area in which I am competent at all.

Regardless, the general consensus is that it isn't really necessary as a law student if I have gotten by fine without one?

albanach
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby albanach » Thu May 03, 2012 10:10 am

Favre4Prez wrote:
Regardless, the general consensus is that it isn't really necessary as a law student if I have gotten by fine without one?


I got my first cell phone in 1994, and carried one with me constantly thereafter.

About two years ago, I misplaced my phone and so didn't carry it for a couple of weeks. I've never looked back and haven't carried one since. I can make calls and send/receive text messages via Google Voice on my laptop if I need to while at school, and that's free.

A decent smart phone and a cell phone plan with data can approach $1,000 a year. Assuming you're not going to school on the back of savings, you're likely borrowing that at 8% and might still be paying for that smart phone in 2040. I can go without. You could always get a prepaid smartphone. It might not do everything an iPhone can do but will save you a small fortune. As long as it has wifi, you can get all the benefits whenever you're in school, starbucks or most restaurants without the extortionate data plan costs.

sequins
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby sequins » Sat May 05, 2012 2:44 am

Favre4Prez wrote:
sequins wrote:It's one of those things that seem unneeded at first - but you would consider essential once you've actually used it. (think of it as the cell-phone vs just land line debate back in the day)
It's little things like being able to quickly look up directions in case you're lost, keeping your calendar and to do list organised in one place, being able to respond or see a time critical email when you're away from home, or (something you'll see as useful once you actually use it) it let's you look things up wherever you are - from whether or not that restaurant is amazing or will give you food poisoning, to whether it's worth shelling out 15 bucks for a ticket to "The Hunger Games". Basically you'll be able to do pretty much the same things without a smartphone - just you'll be able to do them quicker, and more conveniently - especially if you're not someone who plans out everything in advance.

It really depends on what kind of person you are. (I get lost all the time, am horrible with directions, and can be pretty spontaneous about plans or going to places - i.e. after dinner - not feeling tired, so I can pull out the old iphone and look for bars to go to, or good happy hours. So having a smartphone probably saves me hours every week just stopping me from getting lost, and improved my quality of life.

If you are the kind of person who never gets lost, and plans their life out perfectly to the dot before hand then it won't be as useful.
(Oh and the data plan is the most expensive part- I wouldn't settle for their 'free' smartphones, and get a decent one given that it's worth 8 bucks a month over 2 years for the best ones.


What exactly is wrong with the free ones? This is not an area in which I am competent at all.

Regardless, the general consensus is that it isn't really necessary as a law student if I have gotten by fine without one?


Not really. I think stratospheric has a good example. It isn't necessary but you could find yourself in situations where it would be indispensable. The person after me says it isn't, but then he is someone who found cellphones unnecessary entirely. It might not be necessary 90% of the time but find urself stuck on an abandoned highway with no gas once and I'm sure you'll be really sorry you didn't pay for a phone. Just like you might not notice the little ways smartphones make your life easier but one missing tie disaster and it could be a life changer. The free ones are generally not very good to use, they are buggy and slow. It's not that they are useless but you can get a product 10 times better for just 10-20% more than the life time cost anyway.

bdubs
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby bdubs » Sat May 05, 2012 2:53 am

There is nothing unique about law school that would necessitate having a smart phone. If you haven't found a need for one up to this point, you won't suddenly have a need for one during law school (in fact a number of people who needed one for their jobs might not need one anymore when they enter law school).

I agree with everyone that once you start using one, you won't want to go back. I advocate that you continue to live in blissful ignorance until the time comes that you feel you do need one.

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BarcaCrossesTheAlps
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby BarcaCrossesTheAlps » Sat May 05, 2012 3:38 am

...I got rid of the internet access on my phone. Wasn't using for much except for email. Now I save about 35 bucks a month...

This was a good question I had not considered. Nice to know I won't need it.

ShastaNikki
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby ShastaNikki » Mon May 07, 2012 9:10 pm

How about the opposite scenario:
I have had a smartphone for four years, since my sophomore year of undergrad. Originally I had a PalmCentro, and its technology got useless pretty quickly for anything but GoogleMaps (my school's IT dept. never could figure out how to get my school email to work on it).
But for the last two years I have had a Samsung Captivate, and I use the damn thing CONSTANTLY: email, weather, facebook, IMDB, spider solitaire, google maps, pandora, dictionary apps, ESPN score center, wikipedia, online banking, ebay, youtube...I even used it as a Kindle and PDF reader for some classes senior year.
My phone is now glitchy as all hell, and I can upgrade in a couple of months, so I am trying to determine if I actually *need* a smartphone or not.
The money isn't so much of an issue as is my guilt in that I'm 23 years old and my mother still pays my phone bill (it's the family plan we've been on since I was in high school). While we have unlimited messaging across all the lines, my line is the only one with data (unlimited).

Is having a smartphone actually useful to a law student, or do you find it to be too distracting (like when you're supposed to be studying in the library)? As per previous comments, I usually do plan things out pretty well beforehand, but I also always seem to be around spontaneous people without smartphones, so I'm looking things up for them. Thoughts?

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roaringeagle
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby roaringeagle » Mon May 07, 2012 9:19 pm

What carrier do you have? I can recommend based on carrier. I work electronic retail.

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Kendi
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby Kendi » Mon May 07, 2012 9:54 pm

bdubs wrote:There is nothing unique about law school that would necessitate having a smart phone. If you haven't found a need for one up to this point, you won't suddenly have a need for one during law school (in fact a number of people who needed one for their jobs might not need one anymore when they enter law school).

I agree with everyone that once you start using one, you won't want to go back. I advocate that you continue to live in blissful ignorance until the time comes that you feel you do need one.

+1. No smartphone here and half the time I forget my cell phone. I will say the GPS app would be handy to have when traveling, versus tossing the Garmin into my bag.

ShastaNikki
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby ShastaNikki » Mon May 07, 2012 11:32 pm

roaringeagle wrote:What carrier do you have? I can recommend based on carrier. I work electronic retail.

AT&T

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roaringeagle
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby roaringeagle » Tue May 08, 2012 10:46 pm

You have interesting options with AT&T.

1. My fav the Galaxy Note. It has a huge screen 5.3 inches Only downside is u may not like it that big and it costs 250

2. After that I advise getting the Iphone 4S. You can actually get it refurbished as low as 150 on the at&t web site and 50 dollars cheaper. With the insurance plan which I strongly recommend it is the same as getting a new phone warranty wise.

3. After that I advise getting either the Galaxy Nexus 2 for 150 or the Motorola Atrix 2 for 100. I am a big fan of Motorola their sound quality is top notch.

4. If you're cheap get the Inspire it's free and a good phone

ShastaNikki
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby ShastaNikki » Tue May 08, 2012 11:20 pm

roaringeagle wrote:You have interesting options with AT&T.

1. My fav the Galaxy Note. It has a huge screen 5.3 inches Only downside is u may not like it that big and it costs 250

2. After that I advise getting the Iphone 4S. You can actually get it refurbished as low as 150 on the at&t web site and 50 dollars cheaper. With the insurance plan which I strongly recommend it is the same as getting a new phone warranty wise.

3. After that I advise getting either the Galaxy Nexus 2 for 150 or the Motorola Atrix 2 for 100. I am a big fan of Motorola their sound quality is top notch.

4. If you're cheap get the Inspire it's free and a good phone


This doesn't really address my question, though the information might be helpful. I asked if I should continue having a smartphone during LS, or if it has been a distraction for any one?

But since you're offering electronic device advice, any suggestions on a non-smartphone in case I decide to go that route?

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bk1
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby bk1 » Tue May 08, 2012 11:26 pm

ShastaNikki wrote:This doesn't really address my question, though the information might be helpful. I asked if I should continue having a smartphone during LS, or if it has been a distraction for any one?


If a smartphone is a serious distraction then you have bigger issues of self-control.

Also, you have a laptop connected 24/7 to the internet in law school and that's going to be a far larger distraction than any smartphone.

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby FantasticMrFox » Tue May 08, 2012 11:30 pm

ShastaNikki wrote:
roaringeagle wrote:You have interesting options with AT&T.

1. My fav the Galaxy Note. It has a huge screen 5.3 inches Only downside is u may not like it that big and it costs 250

2. After that I advise getting the Iphone 4S. You can actually get it refurbished as low as 150 on the at&t web site and 50 dollars cheaper. With the insurance plan which I strongly recommend it is the same as getting a new phone warranty wise.

3. After that I advise getting either the Galaxy Nexus 2 for 150 or the Motorola Atrix 2 for 100. I am a big fan of Motorola their sound quality is top notch.

4. If you're cheap get the Inspire it's free and a good phone


This doesn't really address my question, though the information might be helpful. I asked if I should continue having a smartphone during LS, or if it has been a distraction for any one?

But since you're offering electronic device advice, any suggestions on a non-smartphone in case I decide to go that route?

I don't think you have to worry about "which non-smartphone?" because they are all basically the same. All they do is text, call, and some other needless stuff.

I also don't understand your concern about it being a distraction...

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roaringeagle
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby roaringeagle » Tue May 08, 2012 11:42 pm

ShastaNikki wrote:
roaringeagle wrote:You have interesting options with AT&T.

1. My fav the Galaxy Note. It has a huge screen 5.3 inches Only downside is u may not like it that big and it costs 250

2. After that I advise getting the Iphone 4S. You can actually get it refurbished as low as 150 on the at&t web site and 50 dollars cheaper. With the insurance plan which I strongly recommend it is the same as getting a new phone warranty wise.

3. After that I advise getting either the Galaxy Nexus 2 for 150 or the Motorola Atrix 2 for 100. I am a big fan of Motorola their sound quality is top notch.

4. If you're cheap get the Inspire it's free and a good phone


This doesn't really address my question, though the information might be helpful. I asked if I should continue having a smartphone during LS, or if it has been a distraction for any one?

But since you're offering electronic device advice, any suggestions on a non-smartphone in case I decide to go that route?


lol i didn't even see your post sorry. i'll advise you tomorrow i am tired now. i was addressing the op

ShastaNikki
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby ShastaNikki » Wed May 09, 2012 3:21 pm

bk1 wrote:
ShastaNikki wrote:This doesn't really address my question, though the information might be helpful. I asked if I should continue having a smartphone during LS, or if it has been a distraction for any one?


If a smartphone is a serious distraction then you have bigger issues of self-control.

Also, you have a laptop connected 24/7 to the internet in law school and that's going to be a far larger distraction than any smartphone.


Yeah--I never claimed to have good self-control to avoid distractions :-P lol
I guess I meant the laptop and smartphone distractions compounding? IDK. I usually have my wireless card off on my laptop in order to save battery, but those phone apps and 3G are always lurking...

As far as which non-smartphone goes, I know they only talk and text--that's the point. I meant is there a brand that is particularly more robust than another, if it were to get dropped, or stepped on, or squished by a con law book, for instance? (Not that I am particularly clumsy, but a dumb phone shouldn't need to be upgraded in two years like a smartphone does, so I'd be having this thing long-term.) Or if someone had a bad experience with a certain model that always glitched out, or the screen always died, or there were known microphone problems.

And "distraction" might not be the whole thing. I guess I amend my question to be: "Is having a smartphone in law school more useful for your actual studies or for social, entertainment, or inquisitive purposes? If it's good for both, do the social uses or studious uses come up more often?" I can deal with the lack of a smartphone for the entertainment aspects alone (I think), but if you have a story about how the DroidLaw app really saved your ass this one time during whatever, then that's something I would want to consider.

ShastaNikki
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby ShastaNikki » Wed May 09, 2012 3:25 pm

roaringeagle wrote:
lol i didn't even see your post sorry. i'll advise you tomorrow i am tired now. i was addressing the op


...yeah, but the OP didn't ask about models, either.

Favre4Prez wrote:My question is this; is there any conceivable advantage to having a smartphone is law school? Does it make life significantly easier? Or, does it not matter?

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bk1
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby bk1 » Wed May 09, 2012 5:06 pm

ShastaNikki wrote:Yeah--I never claimed to have good self-control to avoid distractions :-P lol
I guess I meant the laptop and smartphone distractions compounding? IDK. I usually have my wireless card off on my laptop in order to save battery, but those phone apps and 3G are always lurking...

As far as which non-smartphone goes, I know they only talk and text--that's the point. I meant is there a brand that is particularly more robust than another, if it were to get dropped, or stepped on, or squished by a con law book, for instance? (Not that I am particularly clumsy, but a dumb phone shouldn't need to be upgraded in two years like a smartphone does, so I'd be having this thing long-term.) Or if someone had a bad experience with a certain model that always glitched out, or the screen always died, or there were known microphone problems.

And "distraction" might not be the whole thing. I guess I amend my question to be: "Is having a smartphone in law school more useful for your actual studies or for social, entertainment, or inquisitive purposes? If it's good for both, do the social uses or studious uses come up more often?" I can deal with the lack of a smartphone for the entertainment aspects alone (I think), but if you have a story about how the DroidLaw app really saved your ass this one time during whatever, then that's something I would want to consider.


Why would you pull out your phone and use it when you could just flip the WiFi switch on your laptop?

Smartphones are obviously not useful for studying. They're more useful for being able to do shit on the go (whether that's finding directions, playing a game while waiting in line, checking scores, etc).

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roaringeagle
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby roaringeagle » Wed May 09, 2012 8:09 pm

ShastaNikki wrote:
roaringeagle wrote:
lol i didn't even see your post sorry. i'll advise you tomorrow i am tired now. i was addressing the op


...yeah, but the OP didn't ask about models, either.

Favre4Prez wrote:My question is this; is there any conceivable advantage to having a smartphone is law school? Does it make life significantly easier? Or, does it not matter?


lol. I advise you to get this phone

--LinkRemoved--)+-+Red&q_sku=sku5990223#fbid=5qsKen2EYvW

The LG Expression you don't need a data plan and it's 50 bucks after rebate. It has nice features.

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blurbz
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby blurbz » Wed May 09, 2012 8:17 pm

roaringeagle wrote:
ShastaNikki wrote:
roaringeagle wrote:
lol i didn't even see your post sorry. i'll advise you tomorrow i am tired now. i was addressing the op


...yeah, but the OP didn't ask about models, either.

Favre4Prez wrote:My question is this; is there any conceivable advantage to having a smartphone is law school? Does it make life significantly easier? Or, does it not matter?


lol. I advise you to get this phone

--LinkRemoved--)+-+Red&q_sku=sku5990223#fbid=5qsKen2EYvW

The LG Expression you don't need a data plan and it's 50 bucks after rebate. It has nice features.



I hope that's really a shitty phone and you're recommending it now because they tried to call you out for giving good, though unsolicited, advice. Your post was helpful--I don't understand the hate.

albanach
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Re: Smartphone for Law School?

Postby albanach » Wed May 09, 2012 8:26 pm

roaringeagle wrote:
The LG Expression you don't need a data plan and it's 50 bucks after rebate. It has nice features.


50 bucks with a two year contract that most students will be borrowing at 8.5% to pay for. Cheapest contract appears to be $40/month. Plus 20 cents per text message sent or received. If you send/receive over 100 text messages a month, you can get a bundle for $20, pushing your plan up to $60/month. After tax you'll be paying over $1,500 for the phone.

If you're taking out loans you'll pay back about $19 a month for ten years after graduation. Total repayments will be in the region of $2,300.




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