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  TAAP Updates
 


August 31, 2011

With the departure of a wonderful colleague, Matt Hyde, I have been given the opportunity to coordinate the Tufts Alumni Admissions Program and it is an honor to work with such an enthusiastic group of alumni volunteers. Many of you have already contacted me to welcome me to the program- thank you! Together with Matt Alander ’08, Assistant Director of Admissions, and Gail Toomajian, Program Assistant for TAAP, I look forward to working with you and helping TAAP continue as a vibrant part of undergraduate admissions.

As my colleagues plan trips to high schools far and wide, hundreds if not thousands of college fair invitations flood the admissions office. The admissions staff cannot travel to every fair and so TAAP volunteers become a great army to help us introduce Tufts to your local communities. You will likely hear from your TAAP Chairpersons soon regarding fairs in your area. Please consider volunteering for college fairs as they are both an integral part of the recruitment cycle and a great warm up for the interview season.

Expect the fall TAAP mailing mid-late September which will include materials to refresh your knowledge of Tufts. In the tradition of keeping you informed of key information and deadlines for TAAP and updates on the admissions process, expect an email update from me on the second Tuesday of every month. These TAAP Tuesdays updates will also be posted to http://taap.tufts.edu/alumni_taap_updates.htm.

On a final note, I am pleased to announce new resources available for TAAP members. You will find a new condensed TAAP Handbook, a Chair Addendum and three new training modules on http://taap.tufts.edu/alumni_training.htm. Our goal was to allow the Handbook to provide broad overview of TAAP while the training modules will provide you with specific details related to specific TAAP functions, such as attending a college fair, conducting interviews or placing congratulatory calls. I encourage you to read these new resources now to prepare for the recruitment and interviewing seasons ahead.

Please be in touch if I can be of service to you in your work with TAAP.

Warm regards,


Emily Roper-Doten
Associate Director of Admissions
Coordinator of the Tufts Alumni Admissions Program


P.S. Facebook users, don’t forget to “like” TAAP.  We have some good dialog and TAAP related discourse rolling through our page – you can visit it from here.
 


July 14, 2011

On June 30, Tufts said farewell to Matthew Hyde as he left Medford for a new role as director of admissions at Lafayette College. It is a well-deserved promotion for someone I had the good fortune to call my friend and partner for nearly a decade.

You knew Matt as the coordinator of the Tufts Alumni Admissions Program. To those of us in Bendetson Hall, Matt was a special colleague. We will miss his savvy professionalism and enduring optimism, his kindness and uncompromised morality, and the humanity and good judgment he brought to our work. In a profession that increasingly tips towards marketing and strategy, Matt Hyde retains the soul of an educator. I dubbed him "Happy Hyde" because he always saw the good in every application he read; "awesome" might just be his favorite word. Even in the face of our 21.8 percent acceptance rate this year, and to his enduring credit, Matt unfailingly and earnestly celebrated every student's virtues even when the final decision might not be an offer of admission in our competitive context. Simply said, Matt always sees the good in kids and that's an invaluable asset for a college admissions officer. Those of us at Tufts salute his outstanding work on behalf of Tufts and its applicants, and we celebrate Lafayette's good fortune as he joins their leadership team.

Emily Roper-Doten, associate director of admissions, succeeded Matt as coordinator of TAAP as of
July 1st. A graduate of Colgate, Emily has been a dynamic and highly effective member of the Undergraduate Admissions staff since 2006. In addition to TAAP, she also manages Engineering outreach for Tufts. Emily served on the TAAP Audit Committee that Matt Hyde led in 2007-8 and she also served as the Boston chair for Colgate’s alumni admissions program from 2003-5, which adds a unique volunteer’s perspective to her work as TAAP coordinator.

Happily, Matt Alander ’08 and Gail Toomajian continue in their respective roles with TAAP, adding their wisdom and organizational prowess as Emily begins her tenure. It’s been a seamless transition on this end and I know you will enjoy working with Emily in her new role as much as you enjoyed the last several years under Matt’s leadership.

Thanks, as always, for your support of Tufts’ undergraduate admission efforts.

Sincerely,


Lee Coffin
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions

 



June 15, 2011

We did it again.  We enrolled another *PHENOMENAL* class.  Thank you for the role you played in helping create Tufts’ class of 2015.  I hope you have the chance to meet them, and I certainly encourage you to follow their future successes on the Hill.

The Jumbos of 2015 were selected from the largest applicant pool on record - 17,130.  Of that massive number, 3,748 (21.88%) were offered admission.  So, let’s do some math:  17,130 – 3,748= 13,382 applicants who were NOT offered admission.  That too is a massive number, and oftentimes it exists as the source of frustration for volunteers who see so many smart, talented and exciting applicants get denied.  Here’s a fact: you are in the trenches and bear witness to the brutality of highly selective admission practices.   We cannot apologize for this reality, but we can celebrate its outcome.  In this case that outcome is the enrollment of a wonderfully smart and uniquely textured class of Tufts students.

The 1,345 members of our newest class tow along an impressive set of academic statistics.  In the previous update I shared the stats for our admitted class – what follows are the stats for the enrollees.  The average rank in class for ’15 falls in the top 5%, and 90% of them earned a spot in the top decile of their high school class.  Testing-wise ’15 is very talented at filling-in ovals with No. 2 pencils – their mean SAT scores (out of 800) are 707 (Critical Reasoning), 717 (Math), and 715 (Writing).

In Tufts ’15 the males outnumber the females by one, but beyond that evenness there is real dynamism within this herd of Jumbos.  Tufts School of Engineering will see 40 more students join their ranks as compared to last year’s enrolling class (226 vs.186).  The number of Pell Grant recipients (federal assistance for students from low-income families) also took a notable jump, growing from 131 students last year to 159 students this year.  Tufts ’15 is 27% domestic students of color, it includes foreign citizens from 57 different countries (141 non-US citizens in the class, up from 116 last year), and 124 Tufts ‘15ers are the first in their family to attend college.

It’s easy to tout excellent academic and demographic statistics, but by no means do they capture the character of the class.  The collection of young adults who are Tufts ’15 bring a wonderful degree of energy, smarts and playfulness to the table.  As a whole they are confident, idealistic, talented and fun – they take initiative and are inclusive in their learning.  By all accounts they will come together beautifully at Tufts.  In fact, they are already well on their way to doing so – check out their chatter on the Tufts ’15 ‘facebook’ wall:
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_130730100305858.  It’s a bit voyeuristic, but you have had a hand in pulling this class together, so if you are on ‘facebook’ feel free to take a peek.  Also, if you have not already, you are welcome to check your ‘TAAP Online’ page to see if any of your interviewees enrolled.

Thanks for all that you do for Tufts and TAAP! 

Happy summer!

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions


P.S. Facebook users, don’t forget to “like” TAAP.  We have some good dialog and TAAP related discourse rolling through our page – you can visit it from here.
 



March 30, 2011

By this afternoon our record applicant pool of 17,129 candidates (an 11% increase over last year) will be made aware of their admissions decision.  If you interviewed a Regular Decision candidate you are now able to view their admissions outcome.  TAAP Chairs have the ability to view the admissions decisions for all the candidates interviewed by their committee members.  To access the decisions please visit: http://taap.tufts.edu and login to TAAP Online using your username and password.

While I am absolutely psyched about the thousands of young women and men who were accepted to the Tufts class of 2015 this afternoon, I feel for the thousands upon thousands of highly appealing candidates who were not offered admission.  With a 22% acceptance rate the majority of applicants to Tufts have been denied.  I share this tidbit because sometimes it is hard to comprehend the true nature of a highly selective admissions process.  Please couch any disappointment you might have about a student not being admitted into the competitive reality of our admissions process.

The accepted class of 2015 is a wonderful mix of personality, academic aptitude and dynamic talent.  Certainly they are very bright, but more than that they have terrific energy for learning and demonstrated abilities to contribute to all aspects of life at Tufts.  In meeting and sharing over half of the applicants who requested an interview, TAAP once again proved to be a key tool in selecting this class.  While TAAP reports do not define or dictate admissions decisions, they do inform them.  Your observations and comments charge our committee discussions with firsthand accounts of unscripted interactions with our applicants.  The information you glean from your meetings continues to be a highly valued asset in our work.  Let the record show that one of the most common heard phrases around the committee table is: "What'd the TAAPer say?"

The data behind the accepted class of 2015 is some of the strongest on record.  The average rank in class for our admitted cohort is top 4% with 93% ranking in the 1st decile of their graduating class.  The testing averages continue to be powerful - 722 (critical reasoning), 729 (math), 729 (writing) for the SAT (sections scored on an 800 point scale); and an ACT composite score mean of 32 (on a 36 point scale).  Domestic students of color make-up 32% of the accepted class, and 326 of our admitted students will be the first in their family to attend college.  Numbers do not make the class, so I am happy to report that the human beings behind these numbers have shown themselves to be truly interesting, interested and exciting young adults.  While I do not know who exactly will populate the enrolling class of Tufts 2015, I do know that our newest herd of Jumbos will bring great depth and dynamism to the Hill. 

If one of our newly admitted students was fortunate enough to have met you through TAAP, I encourage you to be in touch with them next week to extend your congratulations.  The face and personality you bring to our admissions process goes a long way with our prospective families.  As you reach out to our newly accepted students, please encourage them to visit Tufts during one of our three on-campus April Open House events - they will take place on April 15th, 21st & 22nd.

With 8,801 completed interviews on file for the admitted class of 2015 my math shows that TAAP contributed 26,403 hours of service this year.  That said though, the collective time, energy and thoughtfulness you contributed to TAAP is unquantifiable.  It is impossible to properly thank you for your volunteerism, but please know that your service continues to play a key role in propagating the momentum and strength of your alma mater.
 
Thanks for all that you do in support of Tufts and TAAP!

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions


P.S. Facebook users, don’t forget to “like” TAAP.  We have some good dialog and TAAP related discourse rolling through our page – you can visit it from here.
 



February 28, 2011

As of this morning 7,379 TAAP reports have been submitted – that’s terrific!  Thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! to those who have completed their TAAP assignments.  Having read hundreds and hundreds of applications over the last couple of months I can tell you that your comments really help contextualize the presence and voice of many of our applicants. 

While the vast majority of reports have been received, there are over a thousand reports that should be adventuring through cyberspace and landing on our server in the next twenty-four hours.  If you have conducted an interview, but have yet to submit a report; please take the time to submit your report(s).  The time you have taken to interview has served its purpose to engage, excite and even inspire your interviewee(s), but now it’s important that you deliver your perspective on the candidate(s) you have met to the admissions committee. 

Ideally we will receive all TAAP reports by tomorrow, March 1st, but if reports roll in as late as Monday, March 7th they will still be included in our committee review process.

Thanks for all that you do for Tufts and TAAP!


Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions
 


February 7, 2011

I’m trying to decide what would be more difficult to walk through: the 3-ish feet of snow on the uphill quad – or – that same quad covered in our 17,000+ applications. Physically, I think I’d rather walk through the snow – manila folders are slippery. Mentally though, it would be fascinating to toddle amongst the mass of humanity encased in our application files. Our applicants are smart, poised and engaged – they bring purpose to their learning and have a lot to share about who they are and what excites them. So, in my mind, having a quad-full of our applicant pool would be pretty terrific.

My colleagues and I are tucked away in our respective dens, caves, nooks and forts dutifully reading and evaluating our record number of applications. As mentioned above, so many of these kiddos (sorry, young adults) are impressive. I love the energy, idealism and spirit they so willingly share. I am jealous that you have the opportunity to know a handful of them in three dimensions. The TAAP reports I have read thus far have done an excellent job fleshing out the interests, ideas, hopes and dreams of the interviewees. TAAP reports really do add more depth to our understanding of our candidates. So, keep up the excellent work, and make your best effort to complete your assignments in a timely fashion. If you have capacity for an additional interview of two, please reach out to your Chairperson and ask for more action.

Note that TAAP reports are due by March 1st
. The sooner we have them though, the better.

Our progress to date:
● 4,588 TAAP reports submitted
● 5,160 TAAP interview assignments in process

A note to TAAP Chairpersons: please continue to make assignments if your committee has the capacity.


Thanks for all that you do for Tufts and TAAP.

Happy interviewing!


Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions



P.S. Facebook users, don’t forget to “like” TAAP.  We have some good dialog and TAAP related discourse rolling through our page – you can visit it from here.
 


January 7, 2011

Happy New Year!  On behalf of the Tufts admissions staff I wish you and yours the best for a happy & healthy 2011.

It’s hard to believe that the first decade of the newest millennia has slipped into our rearview mirror.  The first 1% of the 2000s has been good to Tufts on many, many levels.  And given the fact that 2011 surged upon this office dumping oodles & oodles of mail and inundating us with a record number of online application submissions, the momentum our university has enjoyed continues. 

I know that chairs of TAAP committees are hyper-aware of our application volume, and that members are likely receiving (and hopefully accepting) interview assignments at an increasing rate.  You will be happy to know that the vast majority of our applicant pool has been uploaded onto our system and that the bulk of candidates seeking an interview have been dispatched to their respective TAAP committees. 

The sheer volume of applicants this year and the fact that our staff was able to process and deliver them to the TAAP committees so quickly has done two things: 

First, it has befuddled TAAP Online on a number of occasions over the last two weeks.  I apologize for any glitches and delays that may have stymied your efforts to manage your TAAP assignments.  Our tech team is closely monitoring TAAP Online and as of today all systems are reportedly running as necessary.  If you encounter a problem with TAAP Online please email the ‘TAAP inbox’ (admissions.taap@ase.tufts.edu) with your issue.  If an error message erupts during your interface with TAAP Online please include the contents of that message it in your note. 

Second, the tremendous volume and the speed with which interview assignments surfaced onto TAAP Online has overwhelmed a number of our TAAP committees.  Please understand that completing 100% of interviews for the majority of our committees is simply not doable.  There is a balance to be struck between completing as many interviews as possible and keeping our interviewing volunteers sane.  In finding this balance there is wisdom in the many adages about ‘quality vs. quantity.’  The goal is to keep our volunteers as fresh and eager as possible.  We want to maximize the positive energy and worthwhile discourse that flows through TAAP interviews – for that to happen TAAP volunteers should not feel overburdened and resentful of their work. 

I hope that you find joy in celebrating Tufts and sharing the power of this community with our applicants.  If you have the time and the will to take on additional interviews, please reach out to your chairperson and ask for more action.  If you feel drained or unenthused about championing Tufts, then take the time you need to recharge.  Please understand that your efforts are important and add real dimension to our ability to thoughtfully select new classes for Tufts.  The next couple of months will be busy, so hang in there, put your best foot forward and take real pride in the awesome service you are providing your alma mater.

Thanks for all that you do for Tufts and TAAP.

Happy interviewing!


Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions



P.S. Facebook users, don’t forget to “like” TAAP.  We have some good dialog and TAAP related discourse rolling through our page – you can visit it from here.
 


December 10, 2010

The end-of-semester, pre-exam buzz that now pervades campus is my cue that it is time to release the admissions results for our first round of Early Decision (ED1).  Fortunately all of our ED1 applications have been thoughtfully considered and decisions have been rendered.  With that said, the purpose of this note is to make you aware that admissions decisions for the ED1 candidates you interviewed have been released and are now available for your viewing.  If you happen to be the Chairperson of a TAAP committee you have the ability to view the admissions decisions for all the candidates interviewed by your committee members.  To access the decisions please visit: http://taap.tufts.edu and login to TAAP Online using your username and password.

If one of our newly admitted students was fortunate enough to have met you through TAAP, I encourage you to be in touch with them sometime next week to extend your congratulations - the face and personality you help us bring to our admissions process goes a long way with our prospective families.  Also, please note that if an ED1 candidate was deferred and an interview has yet to happen for him or her that interview can still be scheduled.  Deferred candidates will be reviewed again in March in the context of the larger regular decision pool of applicants.

ED1 is an excellent primer for the admissions staff - it tunes the flow for our processing of applications and it teases out our excitement for the onslaught of awesome candidates to come.  ED1 is also a bit of a kick-in-the-pants because it reminds us of how challenging it is to make fine distinctions within a pool of highly competitive applicants.  I like to think that we are exacting and surgical in our approach to crafting a class.  However, the reality is that admissions decisions at Tufts are not born out of any kind of admissions calculus.  There are no formulas or instructions to follow.  The choices we make have roots in the amorphous characteristics that make people, people.  Character, personality, lived experiences and backgrounds all have a role in how we understand the power of a candidate. That is why your efforts to interact with our applicants are so important.  Each time you meet with a candidate you have a unique opportunity to add depth to our understanding of who an applicant is and how they share themselves in a face-to-face meeting.  It is a fact that TAAP continues to add wonderful dimension to the admissions committees' ability to evaluate applicants as matches for Tufts.

Given the time crunch between the Early Decision application deadline and when decisions are released, the collective TAAP effort to interview 67% of our ED1 pool is heroic.  And I love that 78% of ED1 applicants who requested a TAAP interview received one.  Thank you so much for your dedication to Tufts and your awesome support of TAAP.  On behalf of a highly appreciative admissions staff, I wish you and yours the best for a happy, healthy and joyous Holiday Season!

 

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions
 


November 12, 2010
 

Knowing that you are busy and that I tend to be long winded in these updates I have divided this note in two sections: ‘What you need to know’ and ‘What I want you to know’ – the former being more important and a required read.

What you need to know
(required reading):

All ED1 applicants have been dealt to their appropriate TAAP committees.  If you are a TAAP Chairperson and have yet to make your ED1 interview assignments please do so ASAP.  TAAP reports for ED1 candidates must be submitted by Wednesday, December 1st, so please plan the timing of your interviews accordingly.

What I want you to know
(not required, but read it anyway):

Yesterday the admissions staff spent a good portion of the day together talking about “merit.”  Given our charge of creating smart, interesting and dynamic classes of new Jumbos, the idea of “merit” is one worth investigating.  When it comes down to it, the admissions process is not a meritocracy based solely on academic achievement.  Certainly the academic component of an application is overwhelmingly important, but yesterday’s conversation was a reminder that we can assign “merit” to whatever we want.   

Is there merit to an applicant’s demonstrated will to serve others?  Yep.  Is there merit to one’s ability to captivate an audience through some type of performance?  MmmHmm.  Should merit be assigned to an applicant who will contribute an underrepresented viewpoint or comes from a diverse background?  We think so.  Is there merit in accurately throwing a baseball 90mph?  Our baseball coach thinks so – and we’d agree with him.  The list goes on. 

Whether it’s a skill, a special talent, a set of lived experiences, or a type of involvement, it does not matter.  An applicant’s ability to work hard, set and achieve goals, have ideas, overcome challenge or hardship, lead their peers, and engage purposefully in the world can be reflected in endless ways.  It’s our job (with your help) to tease out what is meritorious about our applicants.  When you are meeting our candidates for admission keep an eye out for what you think is worthy of “merit” when considering each interviewee.  Even when a candidate emerges as a standard, completely normal, “good kid,” we want to know what makes you arrive at that conclusion.  In my mind there is real “merit” to being a “good kid.”  Remember, your voice is one that can help us understand and get excited about an applicant and his or her fit with Tufts.   

Thanks for all that you do for Tufts and TAAP.

Happy interviewing!

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions
 


October 21, 2010
*IMPORTANT UPDATE

I am pleased to announce that another interview season is upon us! By the end of this week the 259 TAAP committees worldwide will have been opened for business. As you read this note interview assignments are flowing into TAAP committees and will continue to do so at a steadily increasing rate through January. It is now that time of year when it is important to check-in with your TAAP Online page on a regular basis.

In order to make interview assignments in a timely fashion, chairs of TAAP committees should check-in with their TAAP Online page a couple of times each week. As in years past, members will be alerted to their interview assignments via emails from their chairperson, but a new TAAP Online feature will make the management of assignments easier, and will likely draw you to your TAAP Online page on a more consistent basis.

As a way to create more transparency in the flow of interview assignments we have done two things: First, we have introduced an ‘Accept’ or ‘Decline’ action step for interviewers to either accept or decline an interview assignment. Each new interview assignment in your TAAP Online page asks that you accept or decline the assignment. If an interview is declined the member will be prompted to submit a brief note that will automatically alert their chairperson that the interview will need to be reassigned. Second, when an assignment is accepted members now have an ‘Interview Status’ field that will allow them to manage each assignment in an organized fashion. This field will also keep committee chairs updated on where each interview assignment stands. The ‘Interview Status’ options for an accepted assignment are as follows: ‘initiated contact’ (volunteer has reached out to applicant) – ‘interview scheduled’ (date, time & location of interview has been set and agreed upon) – ‘interview completed’ (interview has been conducted, TAAP report submission pending). A small text box is available to make a note at each status point so that members can thoughtfully manage the lifecycle of an assignment in an organized fashion. After an interview has been conducted and a TAAP report has been written, members will submit their comments online as they have in years past.

When members receive an interview assignment they should login to their TAAP Online page to view the assignment and either accept or decline the assignment. It is our expectation that the majority of assignments will be accepted. There will certainly be moments when the ‘Decline’ option makes sense, but please be proactive and reach out to your chairperson to make them aware of your interviewing capacity for the season. If an interview assignment is neither accepted nor declined within a week of the assignment date, the default understanding is that the assignment is accepted. Be sure that your contact information and email address is up-to-date in your TAAP Online page so that the assignment emails are being sent to the appropriate inbox.

The vivid colors of fall on the Hill are a nice complement to the energy that pervades campus. I invite you to explore Tufts from your home and see for yourself the wonderful happenings that are bubbling across campus this semester. The more connected you are to what’s happening at Tufts, the more empowered you are to be an advocate for your alma mater. There are many websites I can point you to, but the University main web page, Tufts Life, and the Tufts Daily are great places to start.

On behalf of the admissions staff I wish you an enjoyable interview season. Have fun getting to know our applicants and take pride in sharing with them the power of a Tufts experience.

Thanks for all that you do for Tufts and TAAP!


Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions

 


September 3, 2010
 

A herd of 1,315 new Jumbos officially joined the Tufts community on Wednesday.  Matriculation day is arguably the favorite day of the year for admissions staff.  Despite the fact that we are already months into recruiting the class of 2015, taking a timeout to watch the class of 2014 begin the process of claiming Tufts as their new home felt awfully good.  We (the collective ‘we’ that includes all TAAP volunteers) invested vast amounts of time, energy and thoughtfulness in helping each member of Tufts ’14 identify and understand your alma mater as a wonderful match for their hopes and dreams.  Because of your spirited support of Tufts, you too deserve a taste of the energy, pomp and circumstance that pervaded campus on Wednesday.  Please visit: http://news.tufts.edu/features/matriculation2010/ and take the time to watch the slideshow of the day and to read President Bacow’s matriculation address.

As in past years, Lee Coffin, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, shared a compelling introduction of the newest class as part of the matriculation ceremony.  It is an absolute treat to listen to Lee’s remarks while watching the assembled mass of new Jumbos on the quad.  Their smiles are big and full of eagerness and pride as they listen to their collective depth, dynamism and diversity.  The class of 2014 has so much to look forward to in their Tufts career and it is truly an honor to be a part of the moment when they realize just how textured and awesome they are as a new class.  I encourage you to read Lee’s introduction for Tufts ’14 (it can be found here: http://enews.tufts.edu/stories/1667/2010/09/01/Classof2014) and join-in on the celebration of this wonderful collection of Tufts students.

You will note that Lee refers to the 15,432 applicants from 886 different high schools that made-up last year’s applicant pool.  As we launch into September of our new recruitment year it is important to remember that those applications did not appear out of thin air.  The admissions staff has already begun to disperse around the world to engage potential applicants and inspire them to consider Tufts.  As we travel the continent and trot the globe, please recognize that you have the opportunity to help us generate excitement about your alma mater.  Consider attending one of our many ‘Tufts on Tour’ (ToT) events if one happens to fall in your area – a listing of ToT events can be found here: https://webcenter.studentservices.tufts.edu/admissions/travel/.  Also, there may be an opportunity for you to represent Tufts at a local college fair.  Visit: http://taap.tufts.edu/alumni_fairlistings.htm and check to see if you can help with an event in your area.  If you are interested to volunteer for an event that has ‘TAAP-TBD’ in the ‘Staffed’ column, please check-in with your TAAP Chair to see if you can help.  The fair listings will be updated throughout the year, so please check-in with the list regularly.    

Thanks for all that you do for Tufts and TAAP!

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions

 


July 22, 2010

In the past I’ve shared that the admissions staff puts the summer months to good use.  Whether we’re planning our approach to fall travel, updating the content of the admissions website or hatching new ideas for recruitment programming, the scent of productivity pervades Bendetson Hall.  It smells good…. unless it’s really humid out. 

Anyway, one of the ideas that has been simmering for TAAP has finally sprung legs and is ready to be unleashed.  To be determined (TBD) whether or not said idea will add any sweetness to the waft of productivity blowing out of the office, but at least it won’t sour it.  So here it goes….. we’ve created a TAAP Facebook group.  Justifiably, detractors of online communication and networking might see a real conflict when using the words ‘Facebook’ and ‘productivity’ in the same breath, but hear me out.

Full disclosure: I do not have a Facebook account.  So if you are like me and do not play the game that involves ‘Tweets’, ‘Facebook Updates’ and ‘Friend-ing’, then you are welcome to gloss over the next few lines of this note and pick up below where you see:

**Pay Attention Here**


For those of you who are engaged in the world that includes Facebook, I invite you to find the ‘Tufts Alumni Admissions Program’ group from your Facebook account and take the leap to “Like” us. 

As we continue to move into the new recruitment year we will use the TAAP Facebook group as an additional means to disseminate information about TAAP and Tufts.  The Facebook platform will allow us to share pertinent programmatic updates as they emerge and also push worthwhile admissions and university news to you via your Facebook page.  Also, the TAAP Facebook group empowers our volunteers from around the globe to connect with one another and share ideas and questions that pertain to TAAP volunteerism.  Members of the admissions staff (those with Facebook accounts - i.e. not me…) will keep tabs on the goings-on in our group and lend a voice in moderating and addressing the questions and issues as they surface.  That said, please join us in this little adventure – who knows, I might finally be coaxed into the frenzy of the online world.

**Pay Attention Here**

Let the record show that the introduction of our Facebook group will not replace these monthly updates and other communication from the admissions staff – we will continue to do our best to reach out to our volunteer base as consistently and appropriately as possible.  Last month I highlighted the wonderful achievement of our National Champion men’s lacrosse program.  It was an unfortunate oversight that I did not also share the extraordinary success of Julia Browne and her grab of 2010 NCAA Division III Singles Championship in women’s tennis.  If you are a tennis fan, you might also note that Julia (a Dean’s List Psychology major) is also the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship – a national award that will be bestowed upon her at next month’s U.S. Open.  Awesome. 

In the future such updates might not make it into the monthly TAAP Update, but they will certainly be fodder for the Facebook group.  I received a number of very nice notes after last month’s update that glowed with Tufts pride upon learning of the recent Jumbo athletic success.  There were also a few emails that showed notable disinterest and a hint of disdain for Tufts Athletics.  While TAAP volunteers are not expected to be interested in all things Tufts, I do hope that there is a willingness to be conversant and knowledgeable about a variety of University opportunities and successes.

Thanks for all that you do for Tufts and TAAP! 

Happy summer!

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions

 


June 21, 2010

The campus is quiet.  Sure, the handful of Jumbos taking summer courses roam the quad, but for the most part the normal buzz of activity on the Hill has disappeared.  That’s all about to change though.  As we approach the end of June hundreds of thousands of newly minted high school seniors are awakening to the realization that they are only about 400 days away from moving into their freshman year dorm room.  Tens of thousands of those kiddos have Tufts on their radar.  When this awakening happens, we get busy quick.  The waning moments of June give way to a *very* busy July and August.  In those two months alone last year we saw 11,922 admissions visitors on campus.  Yup, Tufts is popular. 

Amidst the relative calm of May and June the admission staff has been quietly recharging in Bendetson Hall.  During our respite we employ our 20/20 hindsight to look at what happened over the course of the last admissions cycle.  We take what we learn and begin to map out and plan for what’s to come.  One of my very favorite tasks in May is to help create short answer and essay questions/prompts for our supplemental application.  This is a staff-wide project that essentially amounts to a massive and prolonged brainstorming session.  I will share with you the final results of our essay question/prompt construction when this year’s supplement is formally released later this summer.  In the meantime I thought that you might like to a peek at a handful of the questions that emerged from the collective brain of Bendetson Hall, but were not selected for the supplement.  A few that did not make the cut are below: 

  • Winston Churchill famously mused about “the terrible ifs” of history. Join him. Pick an event or person in world history and imagine how the things might have changed if the event had never happened or if the person had never existed. What if…
     

  • There are approximately 6.8 billion people on earth going about their lives at this moment.  You are one of them.  Discuss.
     

  • Tufts students bring a broad diversity to our campus and our classrooms; they are English majors and engineers, New Yorkers and Californians, preppie and Goth, gay and straight, athletes and artists, black and white, Jewish and Christian, and everything in between.  Share with us what perspective you will add to the Class of 2015.
     

  • What medium best captures your life - a staged production?  An art house film?  A work of fiction?  A New York Times editorial? Or do you see your existence best reflected in another form of media or means of communication. Perhaps your reality fits perfectly in a Nightly News segment, a scientific journal, or a Renaissance masterpiece.  The enormity of your being certainly cannot be contained in a few hundred words, but the chosen form of sharing yourself can be telling.  Lives are made up of ordinary moments and climatic pinnacles – feel free to allude to one or two of your life moments as you illustrate the best way to share yourself with the world. 
     

  • Actor and director Alan Rudolph once said: “Human identity is the most fragile thing that we have, and it's often only found in moments of truth.” What moments of truth in your life have helped you begin to understand who you are and where you see yourself in the future?
     

It's fun to think about what we can ask our applicants in an effort to get them to share themselves – try it, see what bubbles out of your brain.  If one of your creations strikes you as a good one, then think about how you can use it during your TAAP interviews for the class of 2015.  Remember, we are trying to tease out a student’s self-understanding and access their capacity to be engaged, interested and inspired.  We hope that the Tufts application in complement with our TAAP interviews empowers our applicants to share their different types of intelligence. When we read applications we look for demonstrations of practical, social, emotional and creative intelligence, as well as the ability to think critically and take action.  There is no right combination of smarts, interests or talents that makes a student great for Tufts; but asking thoughtful questions certainly helps us zero-in and make the fine distinctions within our terrific pool of applicants.

On a completely different note it gives me great pleasure to highlight the achievement of the 2010 Tufts’ Men’s Lacrosse team – they are National Champions!  Sports fan or not, you have reason to take pride in Tufts and its powerful athletic program.  The success of this years men’s lax team is one of many points of athletic pride that have surfaced on the Hill this year, but given that this is Tufts’ first team national title (won in front of over 20,000 spectators) I thought I would shine the spot light in its direction.  If you have a moment I encourage you to check out some season highlights and an introduction to the program at the links below (allow the videos time to load before playing them).

Tufts Men’s Lacrosse Intro: http://www.jumboslaxtv.com/springspot.htm

NESCAC Championship Highlights:
http://www.jumboslaxtv.com/MiddleburyNESCAC10.htm


National Championship Highlights:
http://all-access.cbssports.com/player.html?code=ncaa&media=181694



Thanks for all that you do in support of Tufts and TAAP!

Happy Summer!

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions
 


May 18, 2010

Tufts’ class of 2014 has been cleared to land on The Hill. On the afternoon of September 1, 2010 the newest class of Jumbos will take their seats on the Quad and formally matriculate into the Tufts family. Please take a moment to reflect on your TAAP service and recognize that your efforts played a notable role in helping us recruit, shape and yield this amazing class of young women and men.

It’s impossible to effectively show our gratitude to you and your fellow TAAP volunteers for your terrific work. My hope is that knowing that you had a hand in crafting this *AWESOME* class emerges as a point of pride for you. So, below are factoids that you can grasp onto to celebrate the class of ’14 and the process that led to its formation.

Our yield (the percentage of admitted students who accept our offer of admission) jumped by nearly 5 percentage points to 37% this year. Remember, your face time with our applicants exist as yield moments; because of their interaction with you at a college fair, during an interview or at a reception, applicants connect more deeply and meaningfully with Tufts.

This was the 2nd most selective admissions year on record at Tufts. With an acceptance rate of 24.5% the admissions team had the luxury/challenge of making very thoughtful, but difficult admissions decisions within an applicant pool overflowing with highly qualified and compelling candidates. While I don’t love touting selectivity as a measure of success, it does reflect directly on the power and momentum of your alma mater.

By the numbers, the class of ’14 enjoys some serious academic chops. The mean rank in class for ’14 is top 6%, and 85% of our enrollees ranked in the top decile of their class. Our newest Jumbos are also quite good at filling in dots, achieving mean SAT I scores of 706 (Critical Reasoning), 712 (Math) and 715 (Writing) – each section is scored out of 800.

Demographically the class of ’14 is nicely balanced and diverse. They are 50/50 male/female; 26% are domestic students of color; 91 carry foreign passports (that # does not include dual citizens); and 144 students in the class of ’14 will be the first in their family to attend college.


The real strength and personality of the class of 2014 is difficult to capture as a collective whole. They come from across the country and around the world – its members each have his/her own story that somehow has led them to Tufts. What I can attest to is that each of these 1,300+ kiddos is a wonderful match for your alma mater. I invite you to keep close tabs on the class of ’14 as they make their way on The Hill – stay in touch with Tufts and continue to take great pride in what is happing within our family of Jumbos.

Thanks for all that you do in support of Tufts and TAAP!

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions



*Note: The Chronicle of High Education recently ran a story entitled ‘Admissions Interviews: Still and Art and a Science’ that discusses the role alumni play in interviewing – TAAP is mentioned, complete with quotes from one of our Washington DC area TAAP Chairs. You may find the piece by clicking the following link: http://chronicle.com/article/The-Enduring-Mystery-of-the/65545/?sid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en.


 


March 31, 2010

By this afternoon the 15,437 applicants to the Tufts Class of 2014 will be made aware of their admissions decision. If you interviewed a Regular Decision candidate you are now able to view their admissions outcome. TAAP Chairs have the ability to view the admissions decisions for all the candidates interviewed by their committee members. To access the decisions please visit: http://taap.tufts.edu and login to TAAP Online using your username and password.

With an acceptance rate of 24.5% this year proved to be the second most selective admissions year on record for Tufts. I share this tidbit because there are thousands of competitive and highly appealing applicants who were not offered admission. This is the nature of a highly selective admissions process. Please couch any disappointment you might have about a student not being admitted into the competitive reality of Tufts admissions.

That said, we have a lot to celebrate when it comes to the dynamism and scholarly power of our newly admitted class. They hail from Medford and Madagascar, Denver and Dubai, Miami, Portland (ME & OR), San Francisco, Milwaukee, Shanghai and everywhere in between. In fact, all 50 states are represented in our admitted class, as are 63 different countries. Over 350 admits to '14 will be the first in their family to attend college, and 247 are prospective female engineers. Domestic students of color comprise 32% of the admitted class and 56% of all admits are from public high schools. Testing wise the class of '14 is powerful, owning SAT means of 722 (Critical Reasoning), 726 (Math), and 728 (Writing). Finally, with a mean rank in class of top 5%, over 90% of those admitted to '14 are in the top decile of their graduating class.

What is most impressive about this prospective class though is not the data. Rather the power of this class lies in their stories and lived experiences that you helped tease out in your TAAP interviews. The prospective Jumbos to '14 are bright, eager and energized -they are utterly normal kiddos on many levels, but are also completely extraordinary on many others. Thank you for sharing them with us via your TAAP Reports -your efforts truly contributed to helping us build and shape this class.

If one of our newly admitted students was fortunate enough to have met you through TAAP, I encourage you to be in touch with them sometime early next week to extend your congratulations. The face and personality you bring to our admissions process goes a long way with our prospective families. As you reach out to our newly accepted students, please encourage them to explore Tufts during one of our three on-campus April Open House days -they will take place on April 16th, 22nd & 23rd.

The collective time, energy and thoughtfulness you contributed to TAAP this year is unquantifiable. It is impossible to properly thank you for your volunteerism, but please know that your service continues to play a key role in propagating the momentum and strength of your alma mater.


2009-2010 TAAP Year by the #s

TAAP Reports submitted: 8,604
Assigned interviews not completed: 1,248
Interviews not assigned: 1,143
Applicants who waived a TAAP experience: 2,152


Thanks for all that you do in support of Tufts and TAAP!

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions

 


March 2, 2010

Within the last week 1,919 TAAP Reports were submitted. The increased traffic populating TAAP Online over the last 36 hours created challenges for a number of volunteers who were trying to submit reports. I apologize to those who had difficulty and appreciate your patience as we addressed the issue. TAAP Online is now fully functional, so if you were not able to submit your report yesterday, you are now able to do so.

Our interview progress to date is as follows:

TAAP Reports submitted: 8,034
Assigned interviews awaiting completion: 1,776

If you have completed an interview and have yet to write or submit a TAAP Report, please close the loop ASAP. Admissions committee meetings will begin in earnest at the end of this week, and TAAP Reports (when available) are a helpful tool for each committee.

Thanks for all that you do in support of Tufts and TAAP!

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions

 


January 27, 2010

I am happy to share with you that over 15,000 high school seniors decided to apply to Tufts this year. Based on the applications that have crossed my desk thus far it is easy to state that this year’s applicant pool is deep – brimming with bright, engaged and interesting kids. TAAP reports continue to add important dimension to our understanding of interviewed applicants, so please keep up the good work and continue to push this important information to us as soon as you complete and interview. We have gained good momentum as we approach the end of January, but we sill have a lot to accomplish.

Our interview progress to date is as follows:

• TAAP Reports submitted: 2,799
• Assigned interviews awaiting completion: 5,990
• Interviews to be assigned by Chairperson: 1,607

If you are a Chairperson, please check your TAAP Online page and make any assignments that need to be made.


As a reminder, the deadlines for TAAP Report submission are:

• February 1st for ED2 candidates
• March 1st for Regular Decision candidates


Please note that the earlier a TAAP report is submitted, the more useful it is in the early stages of evaluating a candidate. For this reason we will continue to request that TAAP Reports are submitted within three weeks of the assignment date.

Thanks for all that you do in support of Tufts and TAAP!

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions
 



December 11, 2009

The end-of-semester, pre-exam buzz that now pervades campus is my cue that it is time to release the admissions results for our first round of Early Decision (ED1). Fortunately all of our ED1 applications have been thoughtfully considered and decisions have been rendered. With that said, the purpose of this note is to make you aware that admissions decisions for the ED1 candidates you interviewed have been released and are now available for your viewing. If you happen to be the Chairperson of a TAAP committee you have the ability to view the admissions decisions for all the candidates interviewed by your committee members. To access the decisions please visit: http://taap.tufts.edu and login to TAAP Online using your username and password.

If one of our newly admitted students was fortunate enough to have met you through TAAP, I encourage you to be in touch with them sometime next week to extend your congratulations - the face and personality you help us bring to our admissions process goes a long way with our prospective families. Also, please note that if an ED1 candidate was deferred and an interview has yet to happen for him or her that interview can still be scheduled. Deferred candidates will be reviewed again in March in the context of the larger regular decision pool of applicants.

ED1 is an excellent primer for the admissions staff - it tunes the flow for our processing of applications and it teases out our excitement for the onslaught of awesome candidates to come. ED1 is also a bit of a kick-in-the-pants because it reminds us of how challenging it is to make fine distinctions within a pool of highly competitive applicants. I like to think that we are exacting and surgical in our approach to crafting a class. However, the reality is that admissions decisions at Tufts are not born out of any kind of admissions calculus. There are no formulas or instructions to follow. The choices we make have roots in the amorphous characteristics that make people, people. Character, personality, lived experiences and backgrounds all have a role in how we understand the power of a candidate. That is why your efforts to interact with our applicants are so important. Each time you meet with a candidate you have a unique opportunity to add depth to our understanding of who an applicant is and how they share themselves in a face-to-face meeting. It is a fact that TAAP continues to add wonderful dimension to the admissions committees- ability to evaluate applicants as matches for Tufts.

Given the time crunch between the Early Decision application deadline and when decisions are released, the collective TAAP effort to interview over 70% of our ED1 pool is heroic. And I love that over 80% of ED1 applicants who requested a TAAP interview received one. Thank you so much for your dedication to Tufts and your awesome support of TAAP. On behalf of a highly appreciative admissions staff, I wish you and yours our best for a happy, healthy and joyous Holiday Season!


Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions

 

November 10, 2009


Yesterday, twenty sharp, eager and energized admissions officers were allowed to leap headfirst into our ED1 pool of applicants. Prior to taking the plunge, the reading staff met for a final four hour ‘reading meeting’ to discuss our approach to evaluating applicants and the role we play in articulating the strengths of a candidate and identifying their fit with Tufts. Throughout the meeting the TAAP report surfaced as a key component to understanding applicants and the contextual backdrop to their successes.

Let me put it this way: the written application is effective in delivering the ‘what’ of an applicant – ‘what’ classes they take, ‘what’ they are involved in, ‘what’ their grades and testing look like. This information is important, but admissions decisions are made well beyond the ‘what’ – we are much more interest in the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ behind the ‘what.’ If a candidate has a love for physics, has a real ear for mixing music as a DJ, and is now just discovering a talent for pole vaulting – ‘how’ and ‘why’ has she explored her emerging self, and how has that lead to her excitement for college and an interest in your alma mater? This is what I mean by a contextual backdrop, and this is what TAAP reports are so good at providing for admissions readers and the admissions committee.

(Note: Sample TAAP reports and critiques of reports are available as a PDF on the ‘Training’ page of the TAAP website: http://taap.tufts.edu/alumni_training.htm)

With the power of a TAAP report in mind, let’s launch into this TAAP interview year with real purpose and intent to meet, excite and inspire as many applicants as possible. Thus far 49 ED1 applicants have had TAAP reports submitted, 396 ED1 applicants have been assigned to interviewers and another 141 ED1 applicants are waiting to be assigned by a TAAP Chair. Please take full advantage of the next couple of weeks to gain sustainable momentum into this interviewing season.

Now that interviews are underway, just a few logistical reminders about interviewing:

• Plan and schedule your interviews for a neutral location. Do all that you can to *NOT* host interviews in your homes or private offices. I know that it is a matter of convenience if an applicant comes to you, but please respect each interviewee and their comfort levels with a chosen interview location.

• Make your TAAP Chairperson aware if you have a son or daughter who is currently a senior at a high school located within your committee area. TAAP volunteers should not be assigned to interview classmates of their children.

• While we do live in an age smart phones and wireless access, please recognize that not all applicants’ pockets vibrate when they get a new email. Give your interviewees significant lead time if you have to change the date, time or location of your interview. Do not make last minute changes and expect your interviewee to know about them.

Finally, with nearly 3,500 alumni populating the ranks of TAAP, I imagine that there are a number of applications from the children of TAAP volunteers in this year’s applicant pool – we’d like to know who they are. If you have a daughter or son who has applied, or will be applying to Tufts this year, please e-mail me (matthew.hyde@tufts.edu) at your earliest convenience.

Thanks so much for your support of Tufts and TAAP!

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions
 



October 23, 2009


I don’t need a calendar and clock staring me in the face telling me that the deadline for our first round of Early Decision (ED1) is looming. The apple cider in the dining halls and the fact that dusk now settles on the Hill by the time Goddard Chapel’s bells toll the 5 o’clock hour are more pleasant reminders that fall is upon us. With our fall recruitment efforts in full swing, the time has come to deploy the efforts of our TAAP interviewers.

This year’s ED1 application deadline is November 2nd, and the last possible submission date for TAAP interview reports is November 30th. That gives us thirty-eight days from today to engage and excite our ED1 applicants about Tufts, and to report on your conversations with them. If you are a TAAP Chair, please visit your TAAP Online page and begin making interview assignments - making the ED1 applicants the priority. TAAP members should anticipate assignments being made to them via e-mail, but please also get into the habit of checking your TAAP Online page regularly.

Once an applicant has landed on your interviewing docket it is critical that he or she is contacted as soon as possible – it can take time to iron out an appropriate meeting time and place, so it is important to get that conversation started sooner rather than later. While we might like to think that the teenage brain is always sharp and immediately on-task, please give our applicants ample time to respond to you to arrange for their interview.

The TAAP interview prompts introduced last year proved to be an excellent means of drawing out information that was very helpful to the admissions committees, accordingly the prompts have not changed:
• What prompted the applicant to apply to Tufts? How thoughtful were they in sharing their interest(s) in the University?
• How would you characterize the applicant’s presence and engagement during your time together?
• What thoughts, strengths, experiences, and/or skills did the applicant share that suggests that they are prepared for a Tufts experience?
• Does the applicant offer meaningful reflection on challenges, leadership roles or other significant experiences in their life?
• What gets the applicant out of bed in the morning? Were interests and passions openly shared? How well were they articulated?
• What struck you the most about the applicant?
• What question would the applicant have asked themselves in an interview? How would they have answered it?

The above prompts are not a slate of questions to be asked and answered during an interview; rather they are guide posts to shape your interview report. The face-to-face opportunity that you enjoy with our applicants should feel more like a conversation. Share yourself and your Tufts experience openly while also inviting your interviewee to reflect on who they are, what they are all about, and how Tufts fits into their vision for college and life beyond it.

Finally, do not forget to have fun with these interviewing moments. You are providing Tufts with a wonderful service, but also you are connecting more deeply with your community and the young people who share it with you. Celebrate your excitement for Tufts and allow it to bleed into how you engage our applicants – they are psyched about your alma mater and are eager to connect with you and to share themselves. There is a lot of good energy that surround TAAP interviews – have fun with them.

So, away we go! The TAAP interviewing season is officially open.

As always, thank you for your volunteerism and for your wonderful support of Tufts and TAAP.

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions

 

September 11, 2009


New website launched! Feedback welcomed.
 

September 2nd 2009 was a gorgeous day at Tufts.  And I love that the 1,313 new Jumbos and their families would attest to how electric and exciting their move-in and matriculation day proved to be.  Put yourself in their shoes and reach back for the memories of when you first sunk your roots into The Hill – I hope it was as awesome for you as it was for Tufts ’13.  To give you a quick glimpse into the day, and a much deeper one into our newest class, please take the time to read Dean Coffin’s introduction of the class.  Also, I encourage you to read President Bacow’s Matriculation Address, and to take a peek at a few of our new matriculants in an audio slide show from September 2nd (see below web links).

If you have taken the time to explore any of the above web links (and I hope that you have!), your web browser is open – so why not click one last link to our newly designed TAAP website – http://taap.tufts.edu.  In addition to its new look, please note that your portal to TAAP Online is now front and center.  Take a few moments to explore the site and to login to TAAP Online to make sure that your contact information is up-to-date.  Another new feature available on the site is ‘College Fairs’ – a clearinghouse listing of all college fairs that Tufts plans to attend.  Many TAAP members graciously volunteer a lot of their time to represent Tufts at college fairs.  This new portion of the website allows TAAP committees and their Chairs to see what fairs will be staffed by Tufts representatives (admissions officers and/or TAAP members).  As a whole, the TAAP website is the primary interface for the communication of all things TAAP, so please check-in with the site throughout the year. 

With a new website under our belt, it has been deemed a good time to put forth a worldwide TAAP recruitment effort.  This morning over 12,000 recent Tufts graduates were e-mailed a slideshow created to encourage TAAP involvement.  To view the slide show visit: http://www.tufts.edu/alumni/flash/taap.html.

On behalf of the admissions staff I want to share with you our continued appreciation for your volunteerism, as well as our eagerness to work with you as we launch into a new recruitment year.

Cheers,

Matthew Hyde
Associate Director
Undergraduate Admissions


P.S. Please keep your eyes out for the annual TAAP mailing slated to be sent later this month -- it will include updated viewbooks as well as your TAAP Online username and password.
 

 

 

 
 

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