Monday, December 17, 2012

Funding and Scholarship Resources and Information

UMSI Scholarships
Our UMSI Scholarships are merit-based, and typically cover half of tuition for full time students (regardless of your residency status).

We go through 3-4 rounds of SI Scholarship offers throughout the term. We *will complete* the first round in late February/early March. The second round will be in mid to late April, with the third round in mid to late May.

The first round of UMSI Scholarships are entirely merit-based. Subsequent rounds will always have merit as the primary factor for consideration, but we will also look at your motivation to attend UMSI. These factors can be demonstrated by professional, consistent communication with us. You are welcome to submit an additional letter/email for the admissions committee's consideration. I've seen previous admissions committees look at your excitement about UMSI, your efforts in applying for external fellowships, anything particular about the nature of your need, the connections you make at Visiting Days, the professionalism of your interactions, and other things for the subsequent rounds of UMSI Scholarship.

Merit is still the primary factor, and by merit we mean the strength of your statement of purpose and personal statement, your letters of recommendation, your internship/research/work experience, your academic record including your GRE, demonstration of leadership, service, comfort with ambiguity, etc. It is NOT just your GRE/GPA.

Links to Check Out

Scholarship Announcements

This spreadsheet of external scholarships will be continually updated throughout the winter and early spring.  Please check back for more opportunities, and we will continue to alert prospective students of these as we learn of them.  

Please note the University Library Associate scholarships for which you would need a separate application, due January 15, 2013.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Want to Learn More about UMSI and MHI?

Each month, UMSI sends SI Monthly to those who would like to receive a monthly email about the work happening at UMSI and our faculty and students.

To opt-in, simply fill out this form, and we'll add you to our mailing list!


Additionally, we get many questions about our Master of Health Informatics program, which is a joint program of the School of Information and the School of Public Health.

To provide our readers with a perspective from a current student, Connie Jeng has contributed to our blog today.  She writes:

Two years ago I co-founded a non-profit organization, which is devoted to improving the quality of life in Ghana through educational and health sanitation projects. Through my work, it became clear to me that better transmission of health information was essential to improving the quality of life for those in developing nations. I decided to pursue a Masters of Health Informatics from the University of Michigan because of its focus on leadership and innovation to solving health care issues. I strongly believe that the lessons I’m learning at the University of Michigan are better preparing me to address the health care challenges in the U.S. and abroad. Here are the top 5 lessons that I have learned thus far as a Master of Health Informatics student:

  • Being part of both the School of Information and School of Public Health means you have twice the amount of resources as most students. No matter what area of health informatics you want to study, there is always someone who can give you guidance and help you pursue your area of interest. This also means you have access to twice the amount of career services, advising staff, and study rooms! 
  • Informatics is not as scary as I thought it’d be. Coming into the program with a social sciences background, I was intimated by the School of Information classes; however, I found that informatics is a nice balance between studying information and the ways that people interact with information technologies. Many of the classes are real-world applicable.
  • Take advantage of the many campus events that are available to students. I’ve had the opportunity to meet influential people from big companies as well as listen to inspiring leaders about their work in the health informatics field. This has really broadened my perspective on how technology can be used to improve health care.
  • Being in a smaller program within a big school gives you the best of both worlds. I have access to a lot of knowledgeable faculty and resources but there’s a small-school feel in the MHI group. Everyone in the program knows each other really well and we’re able to make better connections with faculty and staff members.
  •  Studying a growing field means there are endless amounts of opportunity. Not only is health informatics going to be a high demand career but you get to be creative with your work. Think about the missing gaps in today’s health care and how you can solve them!
For general questions about Health Informatics contact

For questions about admissions, please contact

Monday, December 3, 2012

Writing your Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose

For me, the most stressful part of the MSI application process was writing my Personal Statement and Academic Statement of Purpose. I thought about it long and hard before ever typing a single word on the page. I didn't know what to write about or where to start--how could I possibly condense all of my experiences and goals into a few concise pages!? 

I soon realized that it would be impossible to include absolutely everything--and you shouldn't try to do so. Rather, use the essays to round out your application and provide a more comprehensive view of yourself as an applicant. This is a chance to showcase your writing skills, highlight your experiences, and explain your what led you to apply for graduate school and the MSI degree. To try and save you a few headaches, we have a few suggestions to keep in mind while writing your Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose. 

You can find the formal instructions for these essays, as well as the other application requirements, here

"Paper and Pen," Orin Zebest,, CC-BY 2.0
The Personal Statement: 

At just 500 words (starting in 2013-14 year, 1-2 pages), the Personal Statement is a concise explanation of what led you to graduate school and what you hope to gain from the experience. It might include an "AHA! moment" of sorts: a description of a past experience, job, or interaction which helped you to see your future in Information. It might be focused around a goal you have for the future, and how the MSI degree will help you get there. This could also be a good chance to explain any gaps in your transcript or resume. Whether you failed a class as an undergraduate, took a year off to care for an ailing family member, or spent a few years living abroad, chances are the experience taught you something. How has it shaped who you are and what your future goals are? Also include relevant cultural, geographical, financial, educational or other opportunities and challenges. 

The Academic Statement of Purpose for the MSI application: 

The Statement of Purpose is a longer essay (4-6 pages double-spaced) which allows you the opportunity to reflect on your own abilities, experiences, and qualities in context of the following questions: 
  • What are the critical issues in the field of information?
  • What are your aspirations in the field of information?
  • What is your understanding of the School of Information (UMSI)?
  • How will an UMSI education help you reach your aspirations?
  • What would you contribute to the UMSI community and to the field as a whole?
This essay could take a number of different forms, so let your own personality and experiences shine through. However, academic integrity is essential at UMSI, so make sure to use proper attribution for any content that is not original to you. 

You can see the PhD application essays here.

Keep in Mind:
The Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose are two separate essays but a part of a single application. As such, you should not feel like you need to repeat yourself and cover the exact same information in both. Rather let them build on each other, expanding and explaining your application. If you have skills or experiences which do not appear on your transcript or formal resume, this is your chance. 

Formatting and Style: 
There is not one right way to write the essays just as there is not one ideal profile of the MSI student. However, your writing should adhere to the conventions of English grammar and usage. Make sure to read through and edit your essay prior to submission. 
Please follow the instructions in the online application when formatting your Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose. The instructions for Academic Statement of Purpose instruct you to include a header containing the words "Academic Statement of Purpose" or "Personal Statement," your name, the name of the graduate program, and your 8-digit University of Michigan ID (if known). Both documents should utilize a standard font, be double-spaced, and have one inch margins. The place to show your originality and personality is through your writing and experiences, not your font choice and color. 

Final Touches: 
It might be a good idea to have someone you respect and trust look over your essays before you submit your application. They could offer feedback on style and tone, content and flow, or grammar and usage. You might ask a friend or classmate, parent, spouse, or adviser to read it and offer suggestions. Sometimes all it takes is another set of eyes to notice that missing word, typo, or confusing sentence that you've been overlooking for the past six read-throughs. 
Finally, when it comes time to submit, try not to stress. After you hit that final "submit" button, it's out of your hands and all you can do is hope for the best. By putting the time and energy in now to prepare the most accurate and well-rounded application you can, hopefully you can cut down on some of the stress and anxiety later. 

As you're working through your application and essays, please feel free to contact us at if questions arise.
Happy writing, and best wishes!


written by: 
Ellen Gustafson
Information Mentor