Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Special forum where professionals are encouraged to help law school applicants, students, and graduates.

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McAvoy
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby McAvoy » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:19 pm

Winston1984 wrote:
deputydog wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Enjoy the hilarity that this should ensue.

http://www.concurringopinions.com/archi ... nputs.html


I love when TTT professors seek validation. Doesn't Cooley make a similar argument w/r/t incoming quality of class not being important, only how much they improve?


If elitists like you had it your way, QBs like Roethlisberger would never play in the NFL! (Another famous Cooley argument).


Miami Ohio football fans should (rightfully) be upset over this comparison.

deebanger
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby deebanger » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:34 pm

Hey Karen, Mike,

What do you guys think about having a personal statement that specifically states my interest in "immigration law", and my reasons for my interest in immigration law. I explain in depth about my immigrant background, and move to the United States when I was 17. So my main question was is it ok for my personal statement to revolve around an interest in a very specific field of law, like immigration law. Or will admission officers not like that, because they might expect students to come to in open minded, and decide in law school what field of law to practice.

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MoMettaMonk
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MoMettaMonk » Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:39 am

MikeSpivey wrote:Enjoy the hilarity that this should ensue.

http://www.concurringopinions.com/archi ... nputs.html


If students are randomly assigned to law schools across the country, then what's the point of ranking schools? Just to make the professors/administration feel good about themselves? Doesn't USNWR do that enough already?

I read this article too early in the morning. I'm going to go drink some coffee and then have a good laugh at how perfectly ridiculous it is.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:50 pm

Spot the "TTT" in this clip from American Dad (awesome show, btw)

http://www.metatube.com/en/videos/18327 ... rican-Dad/

Do you think that was intentional?

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Vincent
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Vincent » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:01 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Spot the "TTT" in this clip from American Dad (awesome show, btw)

http://www.metatube.com/en/videos/18327 ... rican-Dad/

Do you think that was intentional?


Not sure; also not sure whether the third tier mention in the next Suits episode was intentional, either.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:09 pm

We could start an entire thread just on this, "Hidden TTT's" or something.

In news of a more substantive nature, I'll be speaking at Vanderbilt next Wed on how to get into law school. There will also be admissions officers from Vanderbilt and Belmont Law School on the panel. I checked with my benevolent sponsors, Phi Alpha Delta, and this event is open to all. Hope to see someone from TLS there, event details at the link.

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/speaki ... -at-530pm/

deebanger
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby deebanger » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:57 pm

Hey Karen, Mike,

What do you guys think about having a personal statement that specifically states my interest in "immigration law", and my reasons for my interest in immigration law. I explain in depth about my immigrant background, and move to the United States when I was 17. So my main question was is it ok for my personal statement to revolve around an interest in a very specific field of law, like immigration law. Or will admission officers not like that, because they might expect students to come to in open minded, and decide in law school what field of law to practice

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Pneumonia
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Pneumonia » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:07 pm

Mike and Karen,

I asked this question in a thread earlier this week ( viewtopic.php?f=2&t=224671 ) but I was hoping to get your opinions as well.

I work for a non-profit and was recently promoted to a management position, which I accepted. I will be overseeing 8-12 people and managing a budget among other things (my previous position was one of those that I will now be overseeing). The nature of the position is such that I don't have any qualms about possibly leaving it in 6 months or so. It isn't full time as i'm still in undergrad but my weekly hours will be increasing from around 20 to around 30.

I'm wondering whether I should update my apps with this new info of save it as content for an LOCI? For reference I've gotten a few T-14 acceptances already and am wondering the above specifically in reference to Harvard and Columbia? Thanks so much!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:12 pm

deebanger wrote:Hey Karen, Mike,

What do you guys think about having a personal statement that specifically states my interest in "immigration law", and my reasons for my interest in immigration law. I explain in depth about my immigrant background, and move to the United States when I was 17. So my main question was is it ok for my personal statement to revolve around an interest in a very specific field of law, like immigration law. Or will admission officers not like that, because they might expect students to come to in open minded, and decide in law school what field of law to practice


In general, there is nothing wrong with expressing an area of interest in a personal statement (there is also nothing wrong with not expressing an area of interest in your personal statement). If it makes sense for your background and motivation to attend law school, then there is no reason to avoid discussing it. Admissions officers know that people can change and will change their area of interest, but there is nothing wrong with having a focus at this stage.

Cheers,
KB

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:25 pm

Pneumonia wrote:Mike and Karen,

I asked this question in a thread earlier this week ( viewtopic.php?f=2&t=224671 ) but I was hoping to get your opinions as well.

I work for a non-profit and was recently promoted to a management position, which I accepted. I will be overseeing 8-12 people and managing a budget among other things (my previous position was one of those that I will now be overseeing). The nature of the position is such that I don't have any qualms about possibly leaving it in 6 months or so. It isn't full time as i'm still in undergrad but my weekly hours will be increasing from around 20 to around 30.

I'm wondering whether I should update my apps with this new info of save it as content for an LOCI? For reference I've gotten a few T-14 acceptances already and am wondering the above specifically in reference to Harvard and Columbia? Thanks so much!


Congrats on the promotion! As a current student, you will have a legitimate reason to send an update with final grades (and send in fall grades to LSAC if you haven't already!) if you find yourself still without a final decision when that comes around.
I do think a promotion of this nature is a little in the gray area of worthwhile/not worthwhile, but you can send in an updated resume as long as the school is still accepting new materials.

Cheers,
KB

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:42 pm

Pneumonia wrote:Mike and Karen,

I asked this question in a thread earlier this week ( http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 2&t=224671 ) but I was hoping to get your opinions as well.

I work for a non-profit and was recently promoted to a management position, which I accepted. I will be overseeing 8-12 people and managing a budget among other things (my previous position was one of those that I will now be overseeing). The nature of the position is such that I don't have any qualms about possibly leaving it in 6 months or so. It isn't full time as i'm still in undergrad but my weekly hours will be increasing from around 20 to around 30.

I'm wondering whether I should update my apps with this new info of save it as content for an LOCI? For reference I've gotten a few T-14 acceptances already and am wondering the above specifically in reference to Harvard and Columbia? Thanks so much!


Pneumonia, et. al. from that thread,

I'll try to illuminate this issue a bit more from an AdComm's perspective.

The update process itself is irrelevant because the AdComm doesn't see it or have to lift a finger. But, and this is a big ole but, your physical file is highly relevant. In the blog article by JS you linked, she was not kidding about paper cuts. I remember those well. She also used the word substantive. My experience is that often what an applicant thinks of as substantive is not close to what an AdComm does (not your case specifically, just having done this for 14 years). The rub here is that while a decision maker is reading your file, they have likely just read 50 (many with entirely needless documentation) and are probably dreading the 50 more they have to read that day. That is approaching 600+ pages of reading in a day. So, to go through two resumes in your file, to spend the time discerning the difference, just to see that someone was promoted from assistant manager at Denny's to Senior Asst. Manager might very well tick the file reader off. And you really do not want to do that.

So the operative thing to ask is "will be update push me over the top if I am on the bubble?" I realize that is a tough question to answer when you have never been in admissions, so i would just caution you to tread lightly. Also, I would guess that about 90% of emails to admissions offices are too long. Keep this in mind too.

Best,

Mike

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Pneumonia
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Pneumonia » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:09 pm

Karen and Mike,

Thanks so much for you perspectives; they are have been very helpful and are much appreciated!

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cron1834
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby cron1834 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:19 pm

Mike and/or Karen, thanks for contributing, as always. Quick question:

I am planning on re-taking in June for a reconsideration of financial awards at whichever school I end up depositing at. I'm complete and in-review at most places right now. B/C there's only one testing center in my town and it seems to fill up quickly (had to drive a few hours out of town in December - no bueno) in spite of declining LSAT numbers, I'd like to sign up early for June. If I sign up before admit/deny decisions, are you aware of any impact (negative, positive, bureaucratic delay) this will have on my file? I am hunching that this won't even be noticed. Reasonable guess?

Also - retake in June for $$ is still a credited strategy this cycle, correct? I have the financial resources to eat deposits if no one plays nice and/or I don't improve.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:28 am

cron1834 wrote:Mike and/or Karen, thanks for contributing, as always. Quick question:

I am planning on re-taking in June for a reconsideration of financial awards at whichever school I end up depositing at. I'm complete and in-review at most places right now. B/C there's only one testing center in my town and it seems to fill up quickly (had to drive a few hours out of town in December - no bueno) in spite of declining LSAT numbers, I'd like to sign up early for June. If I sign up before admit/deny decisions, are you aware of any impact (negative, positive, bureaucratic delay) this will have on my file? I am hunching that this won't even be noticed. Reasonable guess?

Also - retake in June for $$ is still a credited strategy this cycle, correct? I have the financial resources to eat deposits if no one plays nice and/or I don't improve.


Cron,

100% credited strategy for potentially upping your award. (Karen doesn't know what credited means -- don't tell her it's funny).

To be clear, schools can see that you have registered for June if they run a report and cross reference with you (doubtful but possible), some schools might not take your June LSAT without a lot of negotiating first (e.g. SLS), and it is *possible* but highly unlikely that a school would hold until that score. Very highly unlikely.

So if I were you I would either register a bit later (you know that center better than I do, says Mr. Obvious), or register now. I agree with the June test strategy if I thought I could score higher on the quiz.

-Mike

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nothingtosee
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby nothingtosee » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:51 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
cron1834 wrote:Mike and/or Karen, thanks for contributing, as always. Quick question:

I am planning on re-taking in June for a reconsideration of financial awards at whichever school I end up depositing at. I'm complete and in-review at most places right now. B/C there's only one testing center in my town and it seems to fill up quickly (had to drive a few hours out of town in December - no bueno) in spite of declining LSAT numbers, I'd like to sign up early for June. If I sign up before admit/deny decisions, are you aware of any impact (negative, positive, bureaucratic delay) this will have on my file? I am hunching that this won't even be noticed. Reasonable guess?

Also - retake in June for $$ is still a credited strategy this cycle, correct? I have the financial resources to eat deposits if no one plays nice and/or I don't improve.


Cron,

100% credited strategy for potentially upping your award. (Karen doesn't know what credited means -- don't tell her it's funny).

To be clear, schools can see that you have registered for June if they run a report and cross reference with you (doubtful but possible), some schools might not take your June LSAT without a lot of negotiating first (e.g. SLS), and it is *possible* but highly unlikely that a school would hold until that score. Very highly unlikely.

So if I were you I would either register a bit later (you know that center better than I do, says Mr. Obvious), or register now. I agree with the June test strategy if I thought I could score higher on the quiz.

-Mike


Can you explain the rationale behind this? If schools already have your deposit, why would they still have a reason to up your award?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:11 pm

nothingtosee wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
cron1834 wrote:Mike and/or Karen, thanks for contributing, as always. Quick question:

I am planning on re-taking in June for a reconsideration of financial awards at whichever school I end up depositing at. I'm complete and in-review at most places right now. B/C there's only one testing center in my town and it seems to fill up quickly (had to drive a few hours out of town in December - no bueno) in spite of declining LSAT numbers, I'd like to sign up early for June. If I sign up before admit/deny decisions, are you aware of any impact (negative, positive, bureaucratic delay) this will have on my file? I am hunching that this won't even be noticed. Reasonable guess?

Also - retake in June for $$ is still a credited strategy this cycle, correct? I have the financial resources to eat deposits if no one plays nice and/or I don't improve.


Cron,

100% credited strategy for potentially upping your award. (Karen doesn't know what credited means -- don't tell her it's funny).

To be clear, schools can see that you have registered for June if they run a report and cross reference with you (doubtful but possible), some schools might not take your June LSAT without a lot of negotiating first (e.g. SLS), and it is *possible* but highly unlikely that a school would hold until that score. Very highly unlikely.

So if I were you I would either register a bit later (you know that center better than I do, says Mr. Obvious), or register now. I agree with the June test strategy if I thought I could score higher on the quiz.

-Mike


Can you explain the rationale behind this? If schools already have your deposit, why would they still have a reason to up your award?


Anyone want to play the roll of Dean of Admissions and take a stab at answering this? (Is this fun or "just answer the question Spivey" annoying?)

Big Dog
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Big Dog » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:28 pm

Anyone want to play the roll of Dean of Admissions and take a stab at answering this? (Is this fun or "just answer the question Spivey" annoying?)


I thought about it, but the poster should first put on his/her critical thinking glasses. And the answer will become obvious. (Hint: why does any LS give out merit money?)

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Dingo Starr
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Dingo Starr » Mon Feb 17, 2014 12:40 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Anyone want to play the roll of Dean of Admissions and take a stab at answering this? (Is this fun or "just answer the question Spivey" annoying?)

Unless there is a deeper answer, it's all about the numbers.
Even after deposits there is a chance that the potential student will not attend a given school. They may have multiple deposits at different schools or, with an increased score, the student may suddenly have new scholarship offers from other schools.
Deans need their seats filled and their numbers high. Neither of those factors are final until a student accepts and begin classes.

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cron1834
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby cron1834 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:08 pm

Thank you, Mike.

Also - my sense of things is like Dingo's. Deans need matriculants and they need GPA/LSAT #s. Whether the test comes in December or June makes no difference to reporting, correct? If you're willing to withdraw and carry good #s to next cycle, you have more leverage than they do. If I'm impoverished and can't afford to swallow a deposit, maybe they have me over the coals. If not, reapplying next year is a powerful trump card.

Just my uneducated $.02

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Dingo Starr
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Dingo Starr » Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:48 pm

Mike and Karen,

While it may be slightly out of your bailiwick, I have a general question about financial aid.
There is plenty of posted advice, here and elsewhere, regarding the niceties of negotiating financial aid with admissions officers.
Maintaining a respectful tone throughout the process is essential. Of that, I have no doubt.
Can you speak, however, to whether admissions officers might prefer more or less written content to sort through?
I would favor a more direct approach over a letter broaching the subject followed by another lengthy letter praising the school before getting down to business. I can't imagine that being flooded with lengthy letters of this kind is preferable to easily identifiable, simple statements of fact and negotiation.
Your thoughts?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:53 pm

Dingo Starr wrote:Mike and Karen,

While it may be slightly out of your bailiwick, I have a general question about financial aid.
There is plenty of posted advice, here and elsewhere, regarding the niceties of negotiating financial aid with admissions officers.
Maintaining a respectful tone throughout the process is essential. Of that, I have no doubt.
Can you speak, however, to whether admissions officers might prefer more or less written content to sort through?
I would favor a more direct approach over a letter broaching the subject followed by another lengthy letter praising the school before getting down to business. I can't imagine that being flooded with lengthy letters of this kind is preferable to easily identifiable, simple statements of fact and negotiation.
Your thoughts?


The need based part is not much I have done in my career so I want to disclose that to be fair.

That said, in general (you've heard me say this way too many times) I think that applicants are way too verbose. Put another way, most people need to have been beaten up by a boss and full time career for a few years to change their writing patterns. Sad...but true (I was a Philosophy major my writing went on forever).

What I would probably do is stay in touch with slightly more frequent but concise emails. Once you have been admitted, you can up your email volume a bit.

Does this help at all?

Mike
Last edited by MikeSpivey on Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dingo Starr
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Dingo Starr » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:05 pm

It does help, quite a bit, Mike. Thank you.

Imagining myself being on the receiving end of these letters, I can only doubt that more writing is helpful when less writing could convey the essentials. Time is money, for the reader and the writer, and pumping out flowery paragraphs is not something I need to prove to admissions/fin aid staff.
It is good to hear this reiterated from someone closer to the source, however.
This is especially true when most of the freely available negotiation guides are written by non-professionals.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:07 pm

SMU people.

I'm going to be on your campus for a work dinner with some of the B-School leadership (long story) Monday night, March 3rd. Since this is a fully paid for trip, I reached out to three people about speaking to undergraduates about law admissions for free -- but to no avail.

So I am happy to meet with someone for coffee about applying in the future or waitlist, OR if we can together something informal happy to do a group chat. Feel free to email or PM me if interested. My dinner is at 6:30pm, fyi.

Mike

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sandwich
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby sandwich » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:15 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:SMU people.

I'm going to be on your campus for a work dinner with some of the B-School leadership (long story) Monday night, March 3rd. Since this is a fully paid for trip, I reached out to three people about speaking to undergraduates about law admissions for free -- but to no avail.

So I am happy to meet with someone for coffee about applying in the future or waitlist, OR if we can together something informal happy to do a group chat. Feel free to email or PM me if interested. My dinner is at 6:30pm, fyi.

Mike



Score! You're coming to Samuel Merritt University? :)

But really, you should come out near SF at some point. Where else are you going to find two top-14s and a host of other schools all within a half hour of each other? You know, besides new york... chicago... I guess the LA schools are pretty good... crap.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:05 pm

sandwich wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:SMU people.

I'm going to be on your campus for a work dinner with some of the B-School leadership (long story) Monday night, March 3rd. Since this is a fully paid for trip, I reached out to three people about speaking to undergraduates about law admissions for free -- but to no avail.

So I am happy to meet with someone for coffee about applying in the future or waitlist, OR if we can together something informal happy to do a group chat. Feel free to email or PM me if interested. My dinner is at 6:30pm, fyi.

Mike



Score! You're coming to Samuel Merritt University? :)

But really, you should come out near SF at some point. Where else are you going to find two top-14s and a host of other schools all within a half hour of each other? You know, besides new york... chicago... I guess the LA schools are pretty good... crap.


Having read tens of thousands of transcripts in my career, it is super rare when someone names a school I've never heard of. You did you! Nice.

https://www.samuelmerritt.edu/

I spoke at Stanford last year and I will be speaking at Berkeley late this semester I believe. I'll keep you updated.


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