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

General admissions strategy questions, what are my chances, discussion of specific application materials like financial aid and scholarships.
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NikkiLaubenstein
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by NikkiLaubenstein » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:09 am

ShinyDratini300 wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:13 pm
Hi Spivey team,

I retook the LSAT and am reapplying for a second cycle and I have two questions related to that:

1) I really liked my personal statement from last cycle and used it to apply to schools that I didn't apply to last year. I wrote a new PS this year, part of which deals with a car accident and my recovery process. After the accident, I had to sit out a term due to rehabilitation and money. I included this information after responding "yes" to the "has your education been interrupted" question on each app. However, two apps asked for a separate addendum addressing the interruption. I applied to one of the schools last year, and I'm applying to the other for the first time. Like an idiot, I included a line saying something like, "I wrote about this incident in more detail in my personal statement" in the interruption addendum and used the same addendum for both schools, but I used totally different personal statements for each school. Should I contact the school where my PS doesn't reference the accident, or would that just draw more attention to the issue? I consider the school where I made the application error to be somewhat of a safety, but there are definitely $ scenarios where it could be my best option, and I'd be happy with that.

2) I had a score in the 160's last cycle and a score in the 170's this cycle. Last cycle, a school sent me a fee waiver through CRS. I applied and was waitlisted. When I didn't get a new fee waiver after my new score came in, I reached out to admissions who said they only sent merit-based fee waivers through CRS. What I've read and my own personal experience lead me to believe that receiving and using a CRS fee waiver one year precludes you from receiving one the next year. I asked admissions if this was true, and they said it was not. Of course, I didn't challenge that, but are they wrong or am I crazy?
Hi - Great questions!

1) If you just submitted your applications recently you can email the general admissions email at the schools where you submitted the “incorrect” version of your personal statement and simply ask them to replace it with the updated version that doesn’t include that sentence. Make sure the email you send with your revised personal statement is polite and well-written, as some schools will include it in your file with any updates you send!

2) This is likely due to a setting through CRS and not a problem with the schools. Law schools are likely to agree to give you a fee waiver again as a reapplicant, especially if your LSAT improved, but are often only pulling candidates who are active in CRS for the upcoming cycle. I would suggest checking your CRS account through LSAC to make sure that you are labeled as a candidate for the upcoming cycle! Good luck!

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

Post by SD_Spivey_Consulting » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:41 pm

MindyKale wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:12 am
SD_Spivey_Consulting wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:55 pm
MindyKale wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:45 am
Hi,

Since international students do not get a number GPA but only a rating Superior, Above average etc. How do the admissions people perceive this information? I see people say international student cycles are unpredictable precisely due to this reason but how does the admissions office evaluate or make decisions based on rating and LSAT score alone? Would having an american graduate degree mean that GPA would come into the picture?
To sum up, how do they evaluate and decide what GPA rating is good for admission?
This is a good question and a little tricky to answer because it's unlikely to be a standard process for all law schools. Some law schools have people on staff who have particular knowledge of international programs and experience working with international applicants, so they are well-versed on the quality of many programs especially if they have a decent number of applicants from a school or country. Other schools do not have that resource and are left to try to assess the education of an international applicant based on the rating. Another factor is how comparable the rating is to the US system, or how much information is available within the translation and evaluation itself. Often, along with a "Superior/Above Avg/etc" type rating, the evaluations show a percentile (e.g. 80-85%ile) of how the person compared to other students at that school. Some evaluations are just better than others and can make it easier to assess one's performance. In general, the admissions office does the best it can with the information it has, and compares that with the rest of the application materials -- LSAT, resume, personal statement, LORs, interview, etc. -- to make the best educated assessment as possible.

Graduate degrees from American schools can sometimes help, yes, but not always. That too depends on the degree, school, and program. Also, most graduate programs give strong grades (it's not common to see less than a 3.50), so it is harder to differentiate between who was a strong student and who wasn't as strong. Still, it does show that the person can do graduate level work. I wouldn't run out and get a grad degree just to compensate for not having a GPA, however. The cost and time and effort may not at all be worth the trouble, especially if the program is not something you would use later.

I hope this is helpful!
-- Shannon
Thank you so much Shannon.
So my graduate degree is in a STEM field and I have a 3.3X with upward trend. Does that require addendum since you said less than 3.5 is uncommon?
No, you don't need an addendum unless you have a bad semester or string of low grades to explain. 3.5 is a rough number too as 3.3 is not that far off and of course, STEM programs tend to have lower grades than most other programs.

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

Post by mutare » Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:52 pm

Hi Spivey team,

Thanks very much for this extended effort to help all of us out. My question is on resume formatting, and if any of you have an opinion as to whether to include some kind of "hours per week" metric for jobs/internships/extracurriculars? Is this helpful for readers, or is it seen as odd?

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

Post by tenderfoot » Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:48 pm

Hi Spivey Team,

Thanks for all the advice and help you provide to this community!

I was wondering if there is value to/if it's better to play it safe than sorry by disclosing C&F issues not covered by a school's C&F questions that you expect to disclose when applying to the bar of the state you intend to practice in (in my case, an academic honesty issue that took place my freshman year of high school 10+ years ago with no further infractions in my academic career)? Or would it just look like I can't read/poor judgement? I was reading the Ask Asha blog post on C&F disclosures and how non-disclosure of these issues might create issues down the line if the issue would have been considered material to the admission's committee to admit you.

Thanks again and happy Thanksgiving!

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

Post by ThaBlackLord » Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:05 pm

Hey Spivey Team,

After having followed up with admission representatives—after meeting them at an LSAC forum—should we do our best to stay in touch throughout the cycle or does the initial follow up message is enough to be remembered?

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

Post by JaymeMcKellop » Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:54 pm

ThaBlackLord wrote:
Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:05 pm
Hey Spivey Team,

After having followed up with admission representatives—after meeting them at an LSAC forum—should we do our best to stay in touch throughout the cycle or does the initial follow up message is enough to be remembered?
Hi there! It is less a matter of being remembered--the more important part of this is that you have a point of contact and have started a dialogue. I would not recommend staying in regular contact without a reason to reach out. Instead, you should get in contact at strategic points throughout the cycle when there is a clear reason/update. I'm not sure of the timing, but if some time has passed since the forum/your follow up, I don't mind a brief a email after you've submitted your app letting them know that you've submitted and how excited you still are about X law school. If you are admitted, I'm sure they'd love a brief email letting them know how thrilled you are. If you are waitlisted, that is probably the time where this contact will become the most useful later in the cycle--it will be helpful to have a point of contact if you plan to ride out the waitlist. It is great to keep in touch, but just be strategic and have a point when you reach out (and keep your emails brief and be cognizant of the timing of the cycle). Hope that helps!

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

Post by JaymeMcKellop » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:41 pm

tenderfoot wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:48 pm
Hi Spivey Team,

Thanks for all the advice and help you provide to this community!

I was wondering if there is value to/if it's better to play it safe than sorry by disclosing C&F issues not covered by a school's C&F questions that you expect to disclose when applying to the bar of the state you intend to practice in (in my case, an academic honesty issue that took place my freshman year of high school 10+ years ago with no further infractions in my academic career)? Or would it just look like I can't read/poor judgement? I was reading the Ask Asha blog post on C&F disclosures and how non-disclosure of these issues might create issues down the line if the issue would have been considered material to the admission's committee to admit you.

Thanks again and happy Thanksgiving!
Hi there. C&F questions are a serious matter and you are correct to be thorough and careful. The phrasing of these questions varies considerably across schools. Our general advice is to err on the side of disclosure, but that you don't have to over disclose—which I understand doesn't appear to help you in this situation. While we can't offer specific advice on your situation, you are correct to be thinking about whether this inconsistency will create issues or administrative hurdles down the line when you apply to the bar. When it is a gray area or applicants are receiving conflicting advice, I often recommend that applicants ask the school directly what they would recommend in this situation. In many cases, it can be in the applicant’s best interests to be transparent when you believe it is something that would be of interest to the admissions committee and relevant to your bar application—and take the opportunity to take ownership and demonstrate what you've learned from it. I would not worry much about looking like you can't read the instructions/poor judgment because you can address that by letting them know the reasons why you've decided to disclose even though it is outside the scope of their question—and law schools appreciate candor. Good luck!

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

Post by JaymeMcKellop » Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:45 pm

mutare wrote:
Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:52 pm
Hi Spivey team,

Thanks very much for this extended effort to help all of us out. My question is on resume formatting, and if any of you have an opinion as to whether to include some kind of "hours per week" metric for jobs/internships/extracurriculars? Is this helpful for readers, or is it seen as odd?
Hi! Some schools will specifically ask you to include hours per week on your resume--so obviously in those cases, you will need to. I don't think it is ever seen as odd. For those schools that don't request it, it is up to you. If you were working a lot of hours or dedicated a lot of time to extracurriculars, I don't really see a downside to including it and it is often helpful to the readers to get a fuller picture of your experience.

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

Post by ThaBlackLord » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:56 pm

JaymeMcKellop wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 12:54 pm
ThaBlackLord wrote:
Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:05 pm
Hey Spivey Team,

After having followed up with admission representatives—after meeting them at an LSAC forum—should we do our best to stay in touch throughout the cycle or does the initial follow up message is enough to be remembered?
Hi there! It is less a matter of being remembered--the more important part of this is that you have a point of contact and have started a dialogue. I would not recommend staying in regular contact without a reason to reach out. Instead, you should get in contact at strategic points throughout the cycle when there is a clear reason/update. I'm not sure of the timing, but if some time has passed since the forum/your follow up, I don't mind a brief a email after you've submitted your app letting them know that you've submitted and how excited you still are about X law school. If you are admitted, I'm sure they'd love a brief email letting them know how thrilled you are. If you are waitlisted, that is probably the time where this contact will become the most useful later in the cycle--it will be helpful to have a point of contact if you plan to ride out the waitlist. It is great to keep in touch, but just be strategic and have a point when you reach out (and keep your emails brief and be cognizant of the timing of the cycle). Hope that helps!
Thank you so much!

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

Post by Lankhs » Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:29 pm

Hi Spivey team! Now that the cycle is fully underway, I’m wondering about CSS. I’ve been admitted to a few schools that ask for it — if I’m only looking for full merit aid scholarships, is there a point in completing CSS? In addition, when should we begin filling out CSS applications?

Thanks!

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

Post by DanielleEarly » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:31 pm

Lankhs wrote:
Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:29 pm
Hi Spivey team! Now that the cycle is fully underway, I’m wondering about CSS. I’ve been admitted to a few schools that ask for it — if I’m only looking for full merit aid scholarships, is there a point in completing CSS? In addition, when should we begin filling out CSS applications?

Thanks!
You'll want to look at the information from each school as it can vary. There are schools that will only negotiate scholarships if you've filled out their financial aid - but they, of course, are looking for it to be a need-based reason you are asking for more! Additioanlly you might be eligible for loans with lower rates through their financial aid program. Only you know if you should try applying for aid - but you can always look at is a something to do this first year and if you dont receive anything, you dont have to do it again 2L or 3L.

We actually just posted a blog about financial aid (and starting the applications before you hear about decisions) that may answer a lot of questions for you: https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/the-b ... ncial-aid/

~Danielle

fableti22
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by fableti22 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:58 pm

Hello Spivey team! Thanks so much for taking these questions!

I know some of the members of the Spivey team have experience with Columbia admissions. I'm wondering to what end Columbia interviews applicants. Can anything be read into receiving an interview? What sorts of questions are asked? Etc.

Any information you all have is super duper appreciated!

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

Post by DanielleEarly » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:57 am

fableti22 wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 1:58 pm
Hello Spivey team! Thanks so much for taking these questions!

I know some of the members of the Spivey team have experience with Columbia admissions. I'm wondering to what end Columbia interviews applicants. Can anything be read into receiving an interview? What sorts of questions are asked? Etc.

Any information you all have is super duper appreciated!
For Columbia, not everyone gets an interview and you know your application has been read when you are offered one. So that's a good thing! It means that they are interested in you! But a number of people are admitted each year without an interview so not getting one doesnt indicate anything!

Danielle

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

Post by ThaBlackLord » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:45 pm

Hey Spivey team,

If my goal is to attend a T14 would getting scholarship offers from schools like University of Minnesota, Emory or Notre Dame be a good leverage to get money at those T14 schools or are those schools not high enough on the ranking?
Also, for someone who has attended a community college and earned an AA degree. Should I mention this on my resume or just go with the higher degree I hold, a bachelor?
https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/this- ... low-cycle/
Does that mean that applying late—with a January LSAT—won't necessarily be a bad thing?

Thank you!
Last edited by ThaBlackLord on Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by Lankhs » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:53 pm

Does merit and need-based aid stack? If so, is there a limit to how much merit aid you can receive before you are no longer eligible for need-based? So, for example, if one were to be awarded a scholarship like the Dillard or Darrow -- could they also get additional need-based aid? (I don't mean loans if that's not clear, just federal aid).

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

Post by NikkiLaubenstein » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:19 pm

Lankhs wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:53 pm
Does merit and need-based aid stack? If so, is there a limit to how much merit aid you can receive before you are no longer eligible for need-based? So, for example, if one were to be awarded a scholarship like the Dillard or Darrow -- could they also get additional need-based aid? (I don't mean loans if that's not clear, just federal aid).
Great question! For most law schools that have both need-based and merit-based financial aid, they will first consider you for any merit scholarships you may qualify for. Then, treat any merit aid you’ve been awarded (which are typically larger sums than grants) as showing you have less need because these scholarships essentially reduce your overall tuition costs. Individual schools may differ in this approach (and based on their resources), but because most have limited grant money to spend, they will save true need-based grant awards for those with no/low merit scholarships or may add Federal Work Study as part of the applicant’s financial aid package. The rest - up to the COA, as you’ve noted, is “awarded” in the form of loans.

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

Post by NikkiLaubenstein » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:34 pm

ThaBlackLord wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:45 pm
Hey Spivey team,

If my goal is to attend a T14 would getting scholarship offers from schools like University of Minnesota, Emory or Notre Dame be a good leverage to get money at those T14 schools or are those schools not high enough on the ranking?
Also, for someone who has attended a community college and earned an AA degree. Should I mention this on my resume or just go with the higher degree I hold, a bachelor?
https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/this- ... low-cycle/
Does that mean that applying late—with a January LSAT—won't necessarily be a bad thing?

Thank you!
There are many factors that go in to the full scholarship negotiation process and what causes a T14 law school (or any law school) to increase an award. I would say that it will be more about other factors the school may need in their class in a particular cycle/time in the cycle and that they won’t be as swayed by you having been offered money from schools with a lower ranking.
You only need to list your bachelor’s degree on your resume.
This means that it’s not too late to apply with a January LSAT score and that schools will still be receiving applications and admitting at that time of the year. If a T14 is your goal, becoming a complete applicant after the January LSAT will make the timing more of a challenge for you (rolling admissions means seats are being offered on a rolling basis and fewer are available in Feb.) – however if you need a higher LSAT to be competitive and in the range for a school/set of schools on your list, then the January LSAT may be necessary for you.

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

Post by ThaBlackLord » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:05 pm

NikkiLaubenstein wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:34 pm
ThaBlackLord wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:45 pm
Hey Spivey team,

If my goal is to attend a T14 would getting scholarship offers from schools like University of Minnesota, Emory or Notre Dame be a good leverage to get money at those T14 schools or are those schools not high enough on the ranking?
Also, for someone who has attended a community college and earned an AA degree. Should I mention this on my resume or just go with the higher degree I hold, a bachelor?
https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/this- ... low-cycle/
Does that mean that applying late—with a January LSAT—won't necessarily be a bad thing?

Thank you!
There are many factors that go in to the full scholarship negotiation process and what causes a T14 law school (or any law school) to increase an award. I would say that it will be more about other factors the school may need in their class in a particular cycle/time in the cycle and that they won’t be as swayed by you having been offered money from schools with a lower ranking.
You only need to list your bachelor’s degree on your resume.
This means that it’s not too late to apply with a January LSAT score and that schools will still be receiving applications and admitting at that time of the year. If a T14 is your goal, becoming a complete applicant after the January LSAT will make the timing more of a challenge for you (rolling admissions means seats are being offered on a rolling basis and fewer are available in Feb.) – however if you need a higher LSAT to be competitive and in the range for a school/set of schools on your list, then the January LSAT may be necessary for you.
Thank you soooo much :clap:

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

Post by Nietzschean » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:01 pm

Hi Spivey & friends. Considering the January LSAT is a new occurrence, I am wondering if taking it and having my app complete by mid February will put me at a disadvantage. I am AA and I plan on attending a T-14. I have a ~3.5 GPA and a 157 LSAT. I know applying late impairs my chances, but after getting my Nov. score back, I am confident I can do better. I am aware that last cycle was an outlier and a late app was almost disqualifying. I saw in a post that you mentioned there will be more activity than usual in the February/March months. I also saw Spivey mention that in every past cycle except the last one, a +1 point increase in score for applying in January would be favored over an earlier app, and I wonder if that applies to taking the January LSAT this cycle. Thank you so much for your insight!

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

Post by GunnerControl » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:02 pm

Hi Spivey Team! Thanks for all you do!

I just got my LSAT score back and unfortunately, I didn't do as well as I had hoped. I wish I could point to a reason why I did worse on this past test, but honestly, I have no idea what happened. This was my 4th take and the later 2 scores (1 was a cancel) were both lower than my original score. I was wondering if it would be helpful to write a short addendum explaining that I kept retaking because I was consistently scoring significantly higher on my practice tests and I knew I could do better. I have a feeling that adcomms will wonder why I kept retaking if I didn't improve. If you have any advice you can share on how to do this well, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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