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Undergraduate Admission

Michael A. Steidel, Director of Admission
Office: Warner Hall, Admission Lobby, First Floor
http://www.cmu.edu/admission

Admission Philosophy

At Carnegie Mellon, we select our freshman class from a large group of very qualified candidates. We don't use a calculation to arrive at our admitted class. Calculations can't take into account all of the factors we like to consider when making admission decisions. We treat every application individually and take great care in making our admission practices fair, thorough and sensitive. We are interested in students who can be successful at Carnegie Mellon and take full advantage of all the university has to offer and enriching our campus community.

Admission Criteria

The majority of our applicants are admissible and could be successful at Carnegie Mellon. We use a variety of factors to select our first-year class from those admissible candidates. High school performance weighs most heavily in our admission decision because it is the most meaningful measure of a student's abilities. We pay close attention to the type of courses taken and to the grades received, and to the challenges you've given yourself in the classroom. If you are applying to programs in the arts, your artistic performance will be either the main factor or a significant factor (depending on the program) in our admission decision.

Standardized test scores add to our knowledge of a student's ability, but we cannot make decisions simply on the basis of test scores alone. The high school record and standardized test scores (SAT Reasoning Test or Act with Writing and SAT Subject Tests) work together to make up the academic portion of a student's evaluation.

Carnegie Mellon is an exciting campus because of the positive qualities and experiences our students bring with them. For this reason, we're interested in the kinds of things students do beyond the classroom, whether they participate in extracurricular activities, work part-time or pursue hobbies. Knowing what students like to do on their own time gives us a feeling for each student's personality, motivation and sense of responsibility. All of this is an important part of the admission process.

Expressing an interest in learning more about Carnegie Mellon can only enhance a student's application. We strongly recommend that students come to the Carnegie Mellon campus to interview with a member of our staff, although it's not required. This adds a personal touch to our evaluation and gives students a chance to ask questions. If you cannot make it to campus, consider talking with a local Carnegie Mellon alumni representative. There are a number of other ways to show interest and learn more about Carnegie Mellon. Students can come to one of our Sleeping Bag Weekends, attend an information program in or near their town, interview in their hometown with one of our staff members or alumni, or enroll in one of our summer programs. Information about a number of these events is included at the end of this section.
 

Different Criteria for Different Colleges

Each college at Carnegie Mellon has special admission criteria specifically related to each course of study.

Admission to the Schools of Drama and Music is based primarily on an audition or portfolio showing. Applicants to the Schools of Art and Design will be evaluated not only on the basis of their portfolio but also on their academic performance. Students applying to the School of Architecture are required to complete an online questionnaire and have the option to submit creative work for review, in addition to having their academic performance evaluated.

Candidates for the Carnegie Institute of Technology, the Mellon College of Science, and the School of Computer Science will be evaluated on the basis of academic performance, and we will look additionally for strength in mathematics and science. Academic performance is also the main criteria we use to evaluate applicants to the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Information Systems program and to the Tepper School of Business' undergraduate program. In these cases, we emphasize reading and comprehension abilities as well as mathematics courses.

No one single grade, factor or score will automatically grant or deny a student admission to Carnegie Mellon. Students should be aware of all the admission requirements-secondary school preparation, standardized test requirements, nonacademic information, counselor, teacher and interview recommendations-when submitting applications. We will use the sum total of these different factors when making our admission decisions. Because we want to have a sense of who the student is as a person, we look closely at the essay and personal statement the student is asked to write, the guidance counselor's evaluation and the teacher's recommendation.
 

Freshman Application Instructions

Carnegie Mellon uses the Common Application exclusively. Before your Common Application will be processed, you must submit the Carnegie Mellon Common Application Supplement.

  1. Apply for admission only to the specific college(s) in which you are interested. You may apply to up to three colleges/programs. If applying to more than one college/program, rank your program and/or major preferences on the Carnegie Mellon Common Application Supplement. Be sure to meet the admission requirements for each college/program.
     
  2. Follow these guidelines for your specific area of interest:

    • Carnegie Institute of Technology (CIT)
    • Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences (DC)
    • Information Systems (IS)
    • Mellon College of Science (MCS)
    • School of Computer Science (SCS)
    • Tepper School of Business (Tepper)
    • Bachelor of Humanities and Arts (BHA) - see “BXA Intercollege Degree Programs" 
    • Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA) - see “BXA Intercollege Degree Programs”
    • Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA) - see “BXA Intercollege Degree Programs”

    Although you won't declare a major until the end of your freshman or sophomore year (in some cases), Carnegie Mellon limits access to certain majors, including Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science and Business.


    • College of Fine Arts (CFA)
     
    You must apply specifically to one of the following schools: Architecture, Art, Design, Drama or Music. (See specific instructions to follow.)

     
  3.  Submit the non-refundable $70 application fee (and audition fees if applicable).

    We require this fee of all applicants except in extenuating family financial circumstances. A College Entrance Examination Board Application Fee Waiver, an ACT Application Fee Waiver, or a letter from a secondary school counselor or principal requesting an application for a waiver must be submitted.

    If you are applying to the School of Music, the additional audition fee is $50 and if you are applying to the School of Drama the additional audition fee is $85 and only payable online by VISA or MasterCard, at the time of reserving your audition online at www.cmu.edu/admission/finearts.
     
  4. Request that your secondary school counselor send all high school transcripts, including senior year courses and mid-year grade, as well as a school profile to the Office of Admission as close to January 1 as possible.
     
  5. Take the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT with Writing and SAT Subject Tests preferably by November, but no later than December. If you are applying to art, design, drama or music, SAT Subject Tests are not required.

    • Scores must be official scores from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Copies should not be sent. When registering for the tests, request than an official Score Report be sent directly to Carnegie Mellon. This request can also be made later by getting an Additional Report Request Form from your guidance office. The Carnegie Mellon code is 2074.

    • Register for your tests at least six weeks prior to the test date.
     
  6. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) should be taken if your native language is not English. Carnegie Mellon requires 102 or better on the IBT TOEFL, and an IELTS scores of 7.5 or above. Please arrange to have these scores sent no later than January 1.
     
  7. If you are applying to the College of Fine Arts' Schools of Art, Design, Drama, or Music, you must complete portfolio review or audition requirements. If you are applying to the School of Architecture, you are required to complete an online questionnaire and encouraged to submit a portfolio of creative work. Please go to www.cmu.edu/admission/finearts for further information. The Schools of Art, Architecture, Design and Drama requires that students apply to the university before registering for an audition or portfolio review. There is no Early Decision consideration given for the acting, directing, music theatre, composition, flute, music and technology, piano, violin, voice, or the BXA programs.
     
  8. You must sign the “Confidentiality Statement” on the Common Application School Report Form and give it to your secondary school counselor for completion. Your counselor should return this form, along with the school profile and your transcript.
     
  9. Choose a teacher to complete the Common Application Teacher Recommendation Form and make sure it is submitted to the Office of Admission by January 1 (November 1 or December 1 for Early Decision candidates).
     
  10. Our Regular Decision application deadline is January 1. The College of Fine Arts Regular Decision deadline is December 1.
     
  11. If you are applying for financial aid, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at http://www.fafsa.gov. Carnegie Mellon's Title IV code is 003242. You must also complete the CSS PROFILE at https://profileonline.collegeboard.com and submit signed copies of parent and student tax documents. See www.cmu.edu/admission for more details.
     
Application Notification
  • Students applying under the Early Decision Plan will be notified of our decision by December 15.
  • Students applying under the Regular Decision Plan will be notified of our decisions by April 15.
  • Students who are applying for financial aid will also receive financial aid decisions by April 15 provided they submitted their financial aid forms by the preferred financial aid deadline of February 15.

If you are offered admission and wish to enroll at Carnegie Mellon, you are required to pay an $800 non-refundable enrollment deposit by May 1 (Candidates General Reply Date), even if you are receiving financial aid, in order to reserve places in the freshman class and in university housing. This deposit will be credited to your first semester's charges. The admission staff assumes that a student's deposit to Carnegie Mellon is his or her only deposit. We reserve the right to cancel our offer of admission if a student posts a tuition deposit at another university. During the summer, information concerning registration, enrollment, insurance, orientation, housing and dining services, etc., will be sent to all students.

Deferred Admission

If you are admitted to Carnegie Mellon and wish to defer your admission for one year, you must submit a request in writing to the Office of Admission. If permission is granted, your enrollment deposit must be paid in order to confirm enrollment for the following year. You cannot enroll in a degree program at another institution in the interim.

 

Application Plans

Early Decision Plan

If Carnegie Mellon is your first choice, you may want to consider applying Early Decision. Under this plan, applicants are notified of our admission decision early in the senior year. If you are accepted Early Decision, we expect you to enroll in Carnegie Mellon. Under the Early Decision plan, we encourage you to submit applications to other schools. However, if you are accepted to Carnegie Mellon, we require you to withdraw your applications from other schools.

Carnegie Mellon will meet the full demonstrated need with a combination of grants, loans and work-study as calculated by the university for all students admitted under Early Decision. However, we do not guarantee to meet full need for students who are deferred or denied admission under Early Decision and later admitted under Regular Decision.

Early Decision is available to all programs, with the exception of acting, music theatre, directing, composition, flute, piano, music and technology, piano, violin, voice or the BXA programs.

Early Decision Applications are due November 1 and students will be notified of an admission decision by December 15. If you are admitted under Early Decision, you are required to withdraw all admission applications to other colleges or universities and post a non-refundable enrollment deposit of $800 within two weeks of your admission notification.
 

Regular Decision Plan

Regular Decision is our most popular application option. The deadline is January 1 (December 1 for fine arts applicants). You will be notified of our decision by April 15. Admitted students will have until May 1 (Candidate's General Reply Date) to accept our offer of admission.
 

Early Admission

Through the process of Early Admission, the university admits certain highly qualified applicants at the end of their junior year in high school. In general, Early Admission candidates are highly mature and responsible students who have usually exhausted the courses offered at their high schools without receiving a high school diploma. We expect students who apply for early admission to follow the same procedures as regular freshman applicants. We also strongly encourage applicants to have a personal interview with a member of the Office of Admission staff. It is important to note that the College of Fine Arts very rarely accepts Early Admission applicants.
 

Transfer Applicants

Transfer students are admitted to Carnegie Mellon under policies which vary from college to college. If there is space in the requested program, we will base our decision on your college grades, college recommendations, high school grades and test scores (SAT Reasoning Test or ACT with Writing and SAT Subject Tests, if available). In the College of Fine Arts, most transfer applicants compete with freshman applicants for a place in the entering class.

Transfer Application Instructions
  1. Apply for admission to the specific college of interest, noting departmental preference. If interested in music or drama, student should specify the option. Transfer students will be considered only to their first-choice college. Please do not apply to more than one college.

    CIT, DC, IS, MCS, or SCS:
    • Fall transfer possible if space is available
    • Spring transfer extremely limited and unlikely
    • No external transfers accepted into BHA/BSA/BCSA

    CFA:
    • Fall transfer possible
    • No spring transfer opportunities (except for advanced students in the School of Music)
    • If you are interested in the School of Music or Drama, specify the option
    • No external transfers accepted into BHA/BSA/BCSA

    The Tepper School of Business does not accept transfer applications.
     
  2. Enclose a non-refundable fee of $75 (and audition fees if applicable). This application fee is required, except in extenuating family financial circumstances.
     
  3. Send all transcripts that reflect secondary school and college/university studies to the Office of Admission. We also require a copy of course descriptions from a college catalog from each college/university you attended. Course descriptions should be sent by email to mailto:undergraduate-admission@andrew.cmu.edu with the subject line "Transfer Course Descriptions." Course descriptions should be copied and pasted into a single .doc or .pdf document, and must have your name and address on the first page.

    IMPORTANT:If you have applied to Carnegie Mellon within the past three years, you must resubmit an updated application with fee (and audition fee if appropriate) and all other materials required of transfer students. You do not have to submit high school records.
     
  4. If you are applying to the Schools of Architecture, Art, Design, Drama or Music, you must complete any portfolio or audition requirements. You must complete and submit the application for admission by December 1.
     
  5. Sign the “Confidentiality Statement” on the Secondary School Report. Give this form and your completed application for admission to a dean or an advisor at the college you attended (or are currently attending). Your dean or advisor should complete and return the form and application directly to the Office of Admission.

    IMPORTANT: Carnegie Mellon prefers that all forms and documents be submitted at the same time. If they must be sent separately, make sure to print your full name and social security number at the top of each document.
     
  6. Transfer application deadlines are as follows:

    • Spring transfer: October 15
    • Fall transfer: March 1 (December 1 for CFA applicants)
     
  7. If you are applying for financial aid, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at http://www.fafsa.gov. Carnegie Mellon's Title IV code is 003242. You must also complete the CSS Profile at https://profileonline.collegeboard.com and submit signed copies of parent and student tax documents. See http://www.cmu.edu/admission for more details.
If planning on:File FAFSA by this date:
Spring transferNovember 1
Fall tansfer (CFA)February 15
Fall transfer (all other colleges)May 1

IMPORTANT: If you are applying for financial aid as a transfer student, you must send a Financial Aid transcript of aid applied for and/or received at all colleges previously attended. Even if you didn't receive any aid, federal regulations require that the college(s) attended complete the form.

Admission and financial aid award notification dates for transfer students:

Spring transfer:December 15 or soon after
Fall transfer(CFA):April 15
Fall transfer (all other colleges):During month of June

 

  8.  Make arrangements to have a final copy of your college transcript(s) sent to Carnegie Mellon.

 

Deposit Information for Transfers

If you are offered admission for the spring semester, Carnegie Mellon does not require a tuition deposit (due to the short time interval between December 15 and the start of the second semester). If you are offered admission to the College of Fine Arts for the fall semester, you must pay a non-refundable deposit of $800 by May 1, even if you are receiving financial aid. If you are offered admission to CIT, DC, IS, MCS, or SCS for the Fall semester, you must pay a non-refundable $800 deposit by June 15, even if you are receiving financial aid. The enrollment deposit will reserve your place at the university and a place in university housing if available. It will be credited to the first semester charges.

IMPORTANT: If you accept our offer of admission, Carnegie Mellon assumes that the tuition deposit to Carnegie Mellon is your only tuition deposit. We reserve the right to cancel our offer of admission if you post a tuition deposit at more than one university. Enrollment deposits received after the deadline may be returned if space is no longer available.
 

University Housing for Transfers

Carnegie Mellon expects to accommodate most transfer students who request university housing. University housing is not guaranteed, however, for transfer students. The Off-campus Housing Advisory and Referral Service is available to help you locate housing accommodations in the local area.
 

Transfer Credit Evaluated on Individual Basis

Carnegie Mellon's departmental faculty will determine transfer credit for courses you've taken at other universities. Transfer credit is considered on an individual basis. We may award elective credit for courses with no Carnegie Mellon equivalent. In some instances, the College Council may recommend a special program of study for you to meet the university's graduation requirements.

Transfer credit for courses you are taking while we review your existing college record depends upon successful completion of each course. Grades are not transferred - only credit is. You may receive transfer credit for elective courses you've taken but will still have to take Carnegie Mellon courses to fulfill the elective space in your chosen degree program. Sometimes transfer students have to take specific courses and accumulate a larger total number of credits than the normal amount required for graduation. The time it takes for you to graduate will depend on the time you need to complete the full university degree requirements - not on class standing at a previous institution.

If you transfer into CIT, IS, MCS, or SCS in the Fall semester, you will receive an estimate of the additional academic work that you must complete in order to fulfill the university degree requirements. If you transfer into CIT, IS, MCS or SCS in the Spring semester, you will have the opportunity to meet with a dean or department head in order to outline the additional academic work that you must complete in order to meet the university degree requirements. If you transfer into DC in the fall or spring semester, you'll receive a credit and requirement review of the work you've completed at your previous institution(s). It is best for transfer students in CFA to assume freshman status. Occasionally advanced standing is awarded based on review of previous college courses.
 

Application as an International Student

International students should apply to Carnegie Mellon using the same procedures outlined for either freshmen or transfer students. Also note this additional information:

  • Before submitting the Common Application and Carnegie Mellon Supplement, and other application materials, please submit the Preliminary Application for International Students at https://www.as.cmu.edu/international/. Because Carnegie Mellon does not offer financial aid or installment plans to international students, we use this application to verify each student's ability to pay for a Carnegie Mellon education. International students are not eligible for application fee waivers.
  • If your native language is not English, you are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Carnegie Mellon requires 102 or better on the IBT TOEFL or an IELFTS score of 7.5 and above. Please arrange to have these scores sent no later than January 1.

 

Advanced Placement Consideration

Advanced Placement Program

Carnegie Mellon recognizes the Advanced Placement program and may grant advanced placement and credit for test scores of four or five. We encourage eligible students to take the AP examinations. We will receive the test scores in early summer for those students who have requested that their results be sent to Carnegie Mellon. The appropriate academic deans will evaluate your scores, and in late summer, you will be informed of the AP credit awarded.

College Level Course Work

The university may also award placement and credit for college work completed during high school. Applicants who have taken college courses should arrange to have their college transcripts along with course catalogs or descriptions sent to the Carnegie Mellon Office of Admission for transfer credit evaluation and advanced placement.

International Baccalaureate Program

Carnegie Mellon also recognizes the International Baccalaureate Examination and may grant advanced standing and/or credit in various fields if scores on the higher level examination range from six and seven. The results of the IB exams should be sent to Carnegie Mellon, where the appropriate dean will evaluate the scores. In late summer, you will be notified of the credit that has been awarded.

 

BXA Intercollege Degree Programs

Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA)

The Bachelor of Computer Science and Arts (BCSA) Program is an intercollege degree-granting program. It is designed for students who would like to combine their interests in the fine arts and computer science rather than pursue a conventional major and degree in either the College of Fine Arts or the School of Computer Science. To be considered for the BCSA program, you must apply and be admitted to both CFA and SCS (you must check the CFA box and SCS box on the Carnegie Mellon Common Application Supplement). This program is only open to directing and production technology and management for Drama and composition and music technology for Music. Not all students admitted to both colleges are selected for the BCSA program.

Bachelor of Humanities and Arts (BHA)

The Bachelor of Humanities and Arts (BHA) program is an intercollege degree-granting program. It is designed for students who would like to combine and blend their interests in fine arts and humanities/social sciences rather than pursue a conventional major and degree in either the College of Fine Arts (CFA) or the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences (DC). To be considered for the BHA program, a student must apply and be admitted to both CFA and DC (you must check the CFA box and DC box on the supplement). This program is not open to music theatre or acting majors. Not all students admitted to both colleges are selected for the BHA program.

Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA)

The Bachelor of Science and Arts (BSA) program is an intercollege degree-granting program. It is designed for students who would like to combine studies in both the fine arts and natural sciences/mathematics rather than pursue a conventional major and degree in either the College of Fine Arts (CFA) or the Mellon College of Science (MCS). To be considered for the BSA program, a student must apply and be admitted to both CFA and MCS (you must check both the CFA box and MCS box on the supplement). This program is not open to music theatre or acting majors. Not all students admitted to both colleges are selected for the BSA program.

With the BXA programs, you must include with your application a statement of intent (essay) describing your interdisciplinary goals in both academic areas and how the BXA program would provide the opportunity and framework for you to accomplish these objectives. This essay is a central component in the selection process. The BXA statement of intent fulfills the essay requirement on the supplement. You do not need to complete another essay. If you are selected for this program, you will be notified in your admission decision letter. These programs are not available under Early Decision.

 

College of Fine Arts Requirements

Deadlines
  • Early Decision applicants must submit a complete admission application, including any required artistic evaluation, by November 1 (Drama applicants must meet this deadline if they choose the November audition date).
  • Regular Decision applicants must submit a complete admission application by December 1 and all audition or portfolio review reservations should be made before this date.
Communication of Information and Admissions Decisions
  • Once you have registered for the appropriate audition or portfolio review at http://www.cmu.edu/admission/finearts, you will receive further instructions from us via email.
  • Final admission decisions are not made at the time of your audition or portfolio review. We will consider the artistic evaluation as part of your application along with your other credentials and notify you by April 15 (December 15 for Early Decision applicants).

Please visit http://www.cmu.edu/admission/finearts for details regarding the specific requirements for fine arts auditions and portfolio reviews.

 

Exploring Carnegie Mellon

Visiting a campus is one of the best ways for you to discover which school is right for you. We strongly recommend that you attend an information session or interview with a member of the admission staff while on campus. Admission interviews allow us the opportunity to get to know our applicants. Interviews are considered in the admission process and help the admission committee make better, more informed decisions with determining the freshman class. During the interview, you'll have the opportunity to ask questions about admission requirements, financial aid, student life, Pittsburgh - and much more!

On-campus auditions and portfolio reviews usually include an interview with a member of the Fine Arts faculty and a campus tour. Therefore, only one campus visit is necessary for fine arts students.

Campus Tours

Campus tours are conducted by Andrew Ambassadors and leave from the Office of Admission, 101 Warner Hall. On most weekdays during the academic year, we conduct four tours daily at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m., as well as a residence hall visit at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Saturday tours and group sessions are held throughout the year as well. Tours may not be available during university holidays, vacations or final exam periods in mid-December, late March, mid-April and early May. To be sure a tour is available on the day you're coming to the campus, please call 412-268-2082.

Hometown Interviews

Although we strongly recommend a campus visit, we realize that it is not always possible for you to come to campus. The Admission staff does travel to various parts of the country interviewing students in their hometowns. Information about making an appointment will be mailed to students prior to the time we arrive in your city. Students who interview on campus do not have to schedule another interview in their hometown. The specific dates and locations for Hometown
Interviews are listed online at www.cmu.edu/admission.

Alumni Interviews

We encourage students to talk with a member of the Carnegie Mellon Admission Council (CMAC). CMAC, a select group of alumni, helps the Admission staff reach out to prospective students. Alumni interviews are as valuable when making admission decisions as interviews with the Admission staff. If you're interested in interviewing with a member of CMAC, please visit http://my.cmu.edu/portal/site/admission/alum_interviews/.

Sleeping Bag Weekends

The more information you have, the better decisions about college you'll make! The Admission staff invites you to learn more about Carnegie Mellon by living like a university student for a day and a half in our Sleeping Bag Weekend program. Visits begin on Sunday morning and last through Monday afternoon.

Sleeping Bag Weekends give you the opportunity to learn everything you may want to know about Carnegie Mellon. The weekend activities allow you to:

  • meet current students, faculty members, deans and admission counselors
  • attend information sessions about the university and specific programs
  • stay overnight in a residence hall
  • tour the campus
  • attend classes
  • at at the dining facilities

There are four Sleeping Bag Weekends in the fall and winter. If you are on our mailing list, you should receive an invitation in the early fall. To reserve a place at a Sleeping Bag Weekend, visit www.cmu.edu/admission/sbw.

Information Sessions

The Office of Admission offers two different information sessions throughout the year, both on and off campus. Carnegie Mellon Preview Sessions, offered in the Spring, are meant for freshmen, sophomores and juniors in high school, who are looking for a general overview of the college search process. Carnegie Mellon's Information Sessions for High School Seniors, available in the Summer and early Fall, offer an in-depth look at the university. During the informational program, you'll have the opportunity to learn more about Carnegie Mellon's areas of study, the admission process and admission requirements, how to apply for financial aid and our campus and alumni through exciting video testimonials. Check out the schedule and register at http://my.cmu.edu/portal/site/admission/counselors/.

Call Carnegie Mellon for Assistance

If a student will need assistance while visiting the campus, due to a physical or learning disability, he/she should call us at 412-268-2082, and we will help meet the student's needs during his/her visit at Carnegie Mellon.

 

Directions to Campus

Directions to Carnegie Mellon's campus from the north, east, south, west and the airport are available at http://my.cmu.edu/portal/site/admission/travel. Please call (412) 268-8343 to listen to a recorded message of these directions to campus by phone. If you are using a GPS, the following address will take you to the East Campus Parking Garage: 5040 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

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