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As parents, you play a crucial role in helping your teens navigate the complex world of college choices. An honors college can be a transformative experience for students who seek an academically rigorous environment paired with unique opportunities. Understanding the benefits and considerations of such programs is the key to making an informed decision.

Understanding the Honors College Experience

Honors colleges offer a smaller academic journey within larger universities. They are characterized by smaller, more interactive classes, access to distinguished faculty, and a community of motivated peers. These programs are not just about advanced courses; they're about cultivating a deeper level of academic engagement and personal growth.

Each college offers a different Honors College experience so it is important to do your research into the requirements as well as the application process.   

Check out a few of the different examples:

 Colorado State University

Oregon State University

CU Boulder

Key Advantages of Honors Programs

Evaluating the Fit for Your Student

Deciding if an honors college is the right choice involves considering your teen’s academic inclinations and aspirations. Key questions include:

The Long-Term Impact

Honors colleges are not merely about academic achievement. They provide a foundation for lifelong learning and success. The rigorous curriculum, coupled with unique experiential learning opportunities, prepares students for future challenges, both in their careers and personal lives.

Making the Decision

Choosing an honors college is a decision that should align with your teen’s academic goals and personal growth aspirations. It's a commitment to a challenging but rewarding educational path.

As you and your teen explore college options, consider the distinctive environment and opportunities an honors college offers.

At Windbourne College Consulting, we’re dedicated to helping families make informed decisions that turn college dreams into reality.

Are you intrigued by the fusion of technology and design? At CU Boulder's Atlas Institute, I discovered a world where engineering isn't just about equations and mechanics; it's about bringing creative visions to life. This is where the future of innovative design and technology education is being shaped today.

The Heart of Innovation: BS in Creative Technology and Design

The Atlas Institute offers a Bachelor of Science in Creative Technology and Design (CTD). This isn't your average engineering degree; it's a playground for the 'makers, tinkerers, and builders'. This interdisciplinary major is rooted in project-based learning, empowering students to blend engineering and design skills with their unique creative flair.  While all engineers are tasked with solving problems the approach in a design-based program will be very different than a more traditional theoretical approach.

Some of the course options that stood out to me were Empathy in Tech, Wearable Electronics, Generative AI, and Neurohacking. 

Engineering Meets Art as people unleash their creativity at CU Boulder's Atlas Institute.

A Journey Through Learning

The journey at Atlas begins with a strong foundation in engineering and CTD core courses during the first two years. But as students progress into their junior and senior years, the world of electives opens up, allowing them to dive deep into their passions, be it UI/UX, AR/VR, digital content, or even gaming design.

Senior Capstone: A Showcase of Innovation and Expo Excitement

One of the highlights of the Atlas experience is the senior capstone project, a beacon of innovation and creativity. These projects are not just final assignments; they culminate years of learning, experimenting, and creating. Students are given the liberty to delve into nearly any interest within the field, leading to a diverse and innovative array of projects.

The annual Spring Expo is a key event that brings these projects to the limelight. This expo is a vibrant showcase where students present their capstone projects, offering a window into the future of technology and design. For anyone interested in witnessing these groundbreaking projects in action, the Spring Expo is an unmissable event. View projects from last year at  CU Boulder Atlas Expo 2023 and keep an eye out for the event this year if you are interested in learning more about this program! It's a fantastic opportunity to see the culmination of student innovation and to get inspired by the creative potential of the next generation of technologists and designers.

A Culture of Collaboration

What sets the Atlas Institute apart is its collaborative culture. The student panel indicated that compared to traditional engineering programs, Atlas students are more focused on the design aspect and working together. This collaborative spirit is best seen in the BTU (Blow Things Up) Lab, a maker space where ideas and prototypes come to life through collective effort.   This isn’t the only maker space in the building but the area where students are most likely to find others working on their projects at any hour of the day.   Students have access to a woodshop, laser cutters, sewing machines, 3D printers, and a variety of electronics.    

Graduates of this program go on to find careers in some less traditional paths. They are equipped for dynamic careers in motion graphics, UI/UX design, AR/VR, digital content production, and more. This degree opens doors to industries where technology meets art, where functionality meets creativity.

A group of people sitting at desks in the Atlas Institute classroom at CU Boulder.

For those who find joy at the intersection of STEM and creativity, the Atlas Institute at CU Boulder offers a unique and fulfilling path. It's a place where you can not only dream about the future but also get your hands dirty making it. If you're a young innovator looking to make a mark in the world of technology and design, CU Boulder's Atlas Institute could be the launchpad for your dreams.

"Is Creative Technology and Design Right for Me?" Questionnaire

Reflecting on Your Answers:

If you find yourself answering 'yes' to most of these questions, a Creative Technology and Design program might be an excellent fit for you. It's a field where creativity meets technology, and where your innovative ideas can find practical applications.

As high school students navigate the journey toward college, they often find themselves juggling a multitude of tasks. Balancing academics, extracurricular activities, and college preparations can seem like a daunting challenge. But, with the right strategies and mindset, this balancing act can turn into an empowering experience, paving the way for both personal growth and college admissions success.

Understanding Your Priorities:

The first step in mastering this balancing act is understanding what truly matters to you. Is academic excellence your top priority? Are you passionate about a particular extracurricular activity? It's crucial to set both short-term and long-term goals. In her new book “Never Enough: When Achievement Culture Becomes Toxic- and What We Can Do About It” Jennifer Breheny Wallace explores the “grind culture” many students find themselves in.  She discusses how to reframe your priorities and mindset to focus on what matters most.  Read more about Wallace’s book here.

Time Management Strategies:

Time management is a skill that benefits you far beyond high school. Start by using planners or digital tools to organize your schedule. Allocate specific time blocks for studying, extracurriculars, and college prep activities. Remember, flexibility is key. Unexpected events might require you to adjust your schedule, so staying adaptable is crucial. Consistency in your routine will help establish a productive rhythm.

The Role of Extracurricular Activities:

Extracurriculars are not just about padding your college application; they're avenues for personal growth and self-discovery. Quality trumps quantity here. Deep involvement in a few activities can be more impactful than spreading yourself too thin. Whether it's sports, arts, or community service, these experiences develop essential life skills and showcase your passions to college admissions committees.

Staying Healthy and Avoiding Burnout:

In the pursuit of academic and extracurricular excellence, don't forget to take care of your well-being. Adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise are non-negotiable. The American Psychological Association emphasizes the importance of recognizing burnout and stress in teens, such as chronic fatigue or declining interest in activities you once enjoyed. If you’re showing signs of anxiety, depression, or feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to reach out to family, teachers, or counselors for support.

 An important note to parents, teens may display a high focus on perfectionism while trying to manage the “grind”.  It is important to support them and recognize the signs of unhealthy perfectionism.   This can be especially true during the college application process causing students to procrastinate or freeze.

Balancing school, extracurriculars, and college prep is no easy feat, but it's achievable. High School is about exploring your potential and preparing for the future. Remember, you're not alone in this. Seek guidance, stay organized, and most importantly, take care of yourself. Your future in college and beyond is bright, and this balancing act is just the beginning of an exciting journey.

Are you a high school student with a passion for technology, problem-solving, and innovation? If so, you're in for an exciting journey as we explore college majors within the engineering field, particularly mechatronics. In this blog post, we'll delve into what mechatronics is and provide valuable resources to help you explore job prospects in this interdisciplinary industry.

Understanding Mechatronics

Mechatronics is a cutting-edge field that seamlessly combines mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. By integrating physical components, electronic circuits, and intelligent software, mechatronics enables machines and systems to perform tasks autonomously and efficiently, driving advancements in various industries.

College Programs in Mechatronics

College programs in mechatronics offer a comprehensive range of subjects designed to provide students with a holistic understanding of this exciting field. From mechanics and dynamics to electronics and control systems, programming and computer science, robotics and automation, manufacturing processes, and system integration, these programs equip students with the skills needed to design and develop intelligent systems. Hands-on projects and practical experiences enhance the learning process, allowing students to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios.

To thrive in mechatronics, several key skills are essential:

  1. Inquisitiveness: A natural curiosity about how things work and a drive to explore new technologies are crucial in this ever-evolving field.
  2. Analytical Thinking: The ability to break down complex problems, apply mathematical and scientific principles, and think critically is vital for tackling challenges in mechatronics.
  3. Innovation: Mechatronics thrives on innovation. Thinking outside the box, generating fresh ideas, and finding creative solutions are highly valued skills.
  4. Attention to Detail: Working with intricate systems and components requires meticulous attention to detail to ensure precision in design and execution.

Job Prospects

Graduates of mechatronics programs find themselves well-positioned for exciting careers in industries such as robotics, automation, advanced manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, and more. The demand for mechatronics professionals is steadily increasing as companies seek expertise in designing intelligent systems and leveraging automation to improve efficiency and productivity.

Resources to Check-Out

  1. Robotics Industries Association (RIA): Stay up-to-date with the latest advancements, industry news, and job opportunities in the field of robotics by visiting the RIA website.
  2. Professional Associations: Engage with professional associations like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for access to resources, conferences, and networking opportunities.
  3. College Programs: Explore colleges that offer mechatronics programs, such as:

Mechatronics presents an exciting pathway for high school students interested in the engineering field. With its interdisciplinary nature, focus on innovation, and promising job prospects, mechatronics offers a dynamic career filled with opportunities to shape the future. Start exploring today and embark on an incredible journey of technological discovery and creative problem-solving.

Are you interested in learning more or exploring additional major during your college application process? Reach out to us today!

Ah, the Common App - the go-to platform for applying to multiple colleges. It can be a bit nerve-wracking, but fear not! We're here to help you tackle it with ease, and maybe even a hint of fun.

To get started, create an account on the Common App website. This is your virtual hub for managing almost all of your college applications. While the official launch is on August 1st, you can still create an account now and get familiar with the application.

A tip from us: use a brand new email solely for your college search.

To complete the Common App, you'll need to gather several pieces of information and materials.

Here's a quick list to help you out:

Now for some tips to make the Common App process smoother and even enjoyable:

The Common App may seem daunting, but with these tips, a positive attitude, and a little bit of fun, you can do it. You're awesome - now go rock that Common App and make your college dreams come true!

The school year is beginning to wind down and our teens are busier than ever!   Are you the parent of a Sophomore wondering if you should be starting to think about college now?

  Your teen is at a crucial stage in their academic career, and it's time to start thinking about the exciting possibilities that lie ahead. With so many end-of-year events and college prep tasks on their plate, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

But don't worry, we've got you covered! Here are some exciting and proactive steps your Sophomore can take to prepare for college and set themselves up for success:

  1. Keep up the hard work: Encourage your teen to maintain good grades and take on challenging classes like honors, Dual Enrollment, or AP courses. Not only will this show colleges that they can handle college-level coursework, but it will also prepare them for the rigors of higher education.
  2. Get involved: Extracurricular activities are a great way for your teen to develop skills and show their passions to college admissions officers. Encourage them to participate in clubs, sports, or other activities that interest them.
  3. Explore college options: Research different colleges and universities, and help your teen think about what they're looking for in a school. Don't just focus on the big names - think about what schools offer that would be a good fit for your teen.
  4. Visit colleges: Visiting colleges can give your teen a firsthand look at different campuses and help them get a sense of what they're looking for in a college.
  5. Plan to take the SAT during Junior year: While some colleges are test-optional, a high score on the SAT can still help with admissions or scholarships. (Keep an eye out for our future post about the Digital SAT!)
  6. Seek guidance: Encourage your teen to meet with their school counselor or college advisor to discuss their college plans and to set some timelines and goals. 
  7. Create a summer plan: Summer is a great time for your teen to explore their interests through part-time jobs, job shadowing, service trips, or even creating their own passion project.

Your teen has so many exciting opportunities ahead, and it's never too early to start preparing for college. Encourage them to take these proactive steps and watch them soar!

Need some expert advice? Make sure to reach out! Windbourne College Consulting is here to help!

Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.- Maya Angelou

As a high school student, the prospect of choosing a college major can feel overwhelming. However, it's important to remember that you're not alone in this process. Many students struggle with this decision, and it's okay not to have everything figured out right away. Here are some tips to help you navigate the process of finding your college major:

  1. Acknowledge the challenge: Choosing a college major is a big decision, and it's okay if you don't have everything figured out right away. Many students change their majors multiple times throughout their college careers.
  2. Explore your interests and strengths: One of the best ways to start thinking about a college major is to consider your interests and strengths. What classes do you enjoy the most in high school? What topics or activities do you find engaging? Take online quizzes, attend workshops or conferences related to your interests, or talk to mentors or family members in related fields.

You are more likely to have a successful college experience if you are excited by what you are learning about. 

  1. Research different majors: Look into the different majors offered at the colleges you're considering and read about their curriculum, career opportunities, and other relevant information. Attend college fairs, talk to college advisors, and read college guidebooks to learn more about majors that interest you.
  2. Look for internships, volunteering, and networking opportunities: Internships and job shadowing opportunities can provide valuable insight into your chosen field and help you make important connections with professionals who can offer guidance and support.  You might also find opportunities to volunteer in a field that interests you- which helps you explore and helps your community!
  3. Look for colleges with Exploratory majors like this one at the University of Colorado Boulder.   An exploratory major will allow you to spend your first year exploring different options before you have to decide.  
  4. Use online resources: Check out websites like MyMajors, Road Trip Nation, and Career Girls to hear real people talk about their careers and explore common college majors.

What if you still aren't sure?

Check out colleges with design-your-own-major or interdisciplinary programs like these:

Keep in mind that each program may have specific requirements and guidelines for creating your own major, so be sure to research each school's individual program thoroughly before applying.

Remember, choosing a college major is an important decision, but it's not one you have to make alone. Seek advice from family members, teachers, and college advisors, and don't be afraid to ask for help. With these tips and a little self-reflection, you'll be on your way to finding the major that's right for you.

Need help with your college and major research? 

Windbourne College Consulting is happy to help!  Reach out to us today and let's get started!

We have had a long cold winter here in Colorado!  It is time to start dreaming of summer!  Did you know that there are some colleges that explicitly ask students what they have done in the last two summers?   The summer is an important time to have some fun and get some rest, but it is also a time to show colleges what you care about. 

High school students should take advantage of the summer break by engaging in a variety of activities that can help them grow and develop their skills and interests, such as:

What is a Pre-College Summer Program?

One of the options your teens might be interested in- or might be mailing you information- are pre-college programs.   A pre-college summer program is a short-term educational experience designed for high school students.  These are typically a week or two and offer students the opportunity to experience college life and explore their interests and career goals. Some common features of pre-college summer programs include:

Overall, pre-college summer programs can be an excellent way for high school students to explore their interests and potential careers in a supportive and challenging environment.  While these programs don’t tend to give your student an inside track to admissions, they do sometimes add to great essays!

What About Job Shadowing?

Your student may be interested in a particular career path, but need some more time to explore it.  Job Shadowing and internships can be a great way to find out about the reality of a career.  

How should they find these opportunities?

  1. Determine what careers or industries you are interested in and want to explore further.
  2. Research companies in your area that align with your interests and see if they offer job shadowing programs or internships.
  3. Network: Reach out to people you know who work in your desired field and ask if they know of any job shadowing opportunities.
  4. Check with your school: Your school's guidance counselor or career center may have information on job shadowing programs and can help you find opportunities.
  5. Look online: Check websites such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor for job shadowing opportunities in your area.
  6. Contact local businesses: Reach out to businesses in your area directly to inquire about job shadowing opportunities. Explain your interest and your desire to gain experience and knowledge in the field.
  7. Utilize social media: Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to connect with people in your desired field and inquire about job shadowing opportunities.

It's important to note that job shadowing programs are often competitive and may require an application process, so be prepared to submit a resume and cover letter to apply.

If you are looking for summer opportunities check out a site like or  Make sure to check out our Facebook page for more ideas.

There is a world of opportunities waiting!

After months of preparing for college applications, essay writing, and hitting submit to each early action school on your list, there isn’t much to do but stay focused on your senior year- and wait for decisions.  

Finally, that email comes to check your portal and you log in hoping to see a “YES” from that school, but instead, you find a message that you have been deferred.    As disappointing as this is, what does it really mean?


If your application has been deferred it means that your application to that college has not been accepted or rejected at this time. Instead, the college has decided to postpone making a decision on your application until later. This may happen if the college is still considering your application or if they need more time to make a decision.  The admissions team will provide details if they need more information from you before they consider your application as part of the regular decision. 



As always, it is important to remember that the decision made at the college is not a judgement of you or your future success!   There are so many great schools out there where you will thrive! 

 If you need help balancing your list let’s talk

Your family may be feeling very out of balance right now as we all try to get back to “normal” in our post-pandemic world. Things are picking up, your high schooler is busier than ever, and soon you’ll have to start thinking about college applications! The pressure is on to squeeze in family time, schedule more college tours, and log more volunteer hours – all while figuring out which colleges are a good option for your teen. Then you’ll have to figure out how to complete the applications and essays in time. How do you get started?

How College Admissions Has Changed

The college admissions landscape has changed so much over the years that the days of a “safety” school are gone. It’s super competitive, and there is no guarantee that the type of student a college is looking for will be the same from year to year. But don’t despair! The good news is that most colleges still accept a large percentage of their applicants – you just need to be strategic to maximize your choices. 

Finding the Right College Fit With Your Student

First, you’ll need to define what schools best fit your student’s interests and goals, and there just isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach to this one. It’s fine to peruse the “Top 10” college lists, but these rankings are suspect for a variety of reasons. The question you need to ask about these lists is, “the ten best colleges for who?” We all know that no two teenagers are the same, so why would we think one college could be the best for all of them? 

Creating a Balanced College List for Your Student 

A balanced list begins by identifying your teen’s strengths and interests. The trick is to create a list of target schools that fits academically, socially, culturally, and financially. Questions to ask can include:

These things are all important, and every teen might weigh them differently. If your teen has no idea how to answer these questions, take time to use the multitude of research tools and tour a college campus or two. Thanks to COVID-19, many tours can now be conducted online, but it’s ideal to visit in-person to really get a feel for the campus. There is even value in visiting schools that aren’t on your student’s list – every college campus will help you and your teen decide what they are looking for in a college experience. 

Creating a balanced list means your teen will be applying to schools with a range of selectivity, but it will also be a list of schools that they’re excited about and where they will thrive.  

Windbourne College Consulting is here to help you through your family’s college search and bring some balance back into your life! Reach out today so we can help you create your teen’s college list – then we’ll get ready to apply! 

Many families find themselves thinking about college planning when their students are in their freshman or sophomore years of high school. But is that too late?

It is no secret that family life is busy, and time moves at a fast clip in those early high school years – and when the new realities of high school life are setting in, there is so much to think about and plan for, even outside of college.

To reduce stress and make the most of your student’s opportunities for success, it is ideal that students can enter high school already thinking about how college planning will factor into their lives.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm. Matching students with their best-fit school and navigating the process of college admission is a complex process – even more reason to start early.

For students, the summer before freshman year of high school is an excellent time for families to brainstorm and make a timeline for the college admission process.

Students can start drafting a list of their interests, hopes, and goals for high school; Families can look at schedules and start planning early college information-gathering visits – maybe even take a summer vacation to visit one or two top college locations to get a feel for the area. (And be sure to have fun while you’re at it!)

Windborne College Consulting can work with students during this period to brainstorm and create a college admissions timeline and game plan – making certain that students get a “leg up” as they kick off their high school journeys. Contact us today.

As junior year quickly winds down, your family is probably beginning to wonder about college visits & college tours. Specifically, how to plan them, and what to ask while on campus.

Planning a college visit should be fun for your family. A fantastic way to start is to look around your local area to see which schools are available to tour. You can find this information on the website of any school. You may find that your student isn’t very interested in the local campuses but try to tour them anyway. Students often don’t know what to expect and honestly aren’t sure what to look for in a college, so this is good practice. Your student may also have ideas based on name recognition, but that alone isn’t a good indicator of whether a school will be a good fit for your student.

Try to arrange three tours at local universities and then keep notes of what you see. What do you like and what don’t you like? Pay attention to:

Your family may also want to conduct visits during a family vacation. Heading to Arizona for Spring Training? Schedule a visit to Arizona State or the University of Arizona, or go check out the mountain campus at Northern Arizona University. These campuses have a vastly different vibe for your student. The same goes for vacation road trips – you can set up a college tour or two on the way to your final destination. (Find a fun lunch spot while you’re at it and get to know the local flavors! We always need driving breaks anyway, right?) You can also find tours at

Deciding where to spend the next four years is a big decision, and the more information you can gather, the easier the transition to college life will be.

COVID-19 also did us one favor – if you want to tour schools but can’t make the trip, practically every school website now features a virtual tour, Zoom appointments with the admissions team, and some even have videos of current students talking about their experiences.

If you manage some tours before the application window opens, you will have a much better idea of where you want to apply. But, of course, you can always tour after applications are out too.

If you’d like help building a college list for your student, we can also help! Give Windbourne College Consulting a call, or contact us today to set up a free consultation.

When clients come to us, ready to start their college application journey, they’re typically grappling with a similar question – I’m ready, but where do I begin?

One thing is for sure – the college admissions process is not what it used to be. From highly complicated application processes to steep competition, hiring an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC) not only helps your student find a college that fits their needs and goals, we help you answer that very first question to get you headed down the path toward success.

Windborne College Consulting helps families navigate the complicated process of college admission from start-to-finish. Here are the most important reasons why you should choose to work with an Independent Educational Consultant, or IEC:

  1. Navigating the college admissions process is challenging and admissions are extremely competitive. The college admissions process is not what it used to be! Many parents remember fondly the days of applying to their state colleges with their friends and not worrying very much about the selectivity or the admissions process itself. Unfortunately, those days have gone the way of boy bands. Hiring an IEC allows families to continue focusing on things other than college admissions during a time when it probably already feels like you aren’t seeing your teen enough!
  2. Investment – college is expensive and important. College graduates earn more over their lifetime than those without a degree, but how do you know you are making the best investment? There are over 2,000 accredited colleges and universities in the United States. Most teens don’t even know where to begin with finding a school that will be a good fit for the next four years.
  3. Students who find the right college are more likely to complete their degree on time. High school counselors are busier than ever. Many of them have a case load of more than 400 students, which doesn’t allow them to spend the kind of personalized time with each student that they would like to. An IEC is focused on providing personalized service to each student and can help your teen manage deadlines and expectations throughout.
  4. An IEC will have a wide variety of areas of expertise and a few key specialties as well. IEC’s visit colleges throughout the year and have the training and skills to guide your student. Areas of expertise might include working with college bound athletes or students with learning differences. As the admissions landscape changes, including topics like SAT/ACT testing, selective admissions and financial changes, an IEC is constantly learning and adding the most recent information to their knowledge base. After all – it’s their job!
  5. The investment of time – parents and teens are BUSY! An IEC can save you both hours of online research time and help you narrow down which colleges to visit, how to write great essays and how to maximize your time during the application process.

Are you ready but not sure where to begin? Contact us today.

Let’s say you studied music or theatre in high school and loved it, but you have other goals for your college major – still, the idea of “leaving the performing arts behind” doesn’t feel quite right.

Great news – you don’t have to! For students interested in the performing arts, college can provide a wealth of opportunities – and you don’t have to major or minor in music or theatre to enjoy them.

Windborne can help you think through these options and create a list of liberal arts colleges that would be best suited for this type of interest.

For students looking for extra-curricular or co-curricular participation in the arts, most schools offer great opportunities.

Campus auditions for non-majors

Auditioning for a college theatre production or music ensemble is a great way to meet new friends and continue your arts involvement while you work on another major.

Most schools offer audition opportunities for non-majors in theatre and music – you could be in play, sing with a choir, or do technical theatre work backstage.

Community arts programs

Depending on your college’s location, there are often community-based arts organizations (like community theatres or choirs) that love to have new members. In some cases, these outside programs recruit local students to teach arts to local community members (an after-school program for young people is a great example). This is a fantastic way to get involved in community life in your college hometown, even outside of school.

Even as you focus diligently on the studies in your major, you should look for opportunities to be well-rounded because after college, job recruiters will be looking at you as a whole person. In college, we encourage you to dream big and soak up opportunities that interest and challenge you and help form you into the well-rounded, whole person you want to be.

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