Monday, January 28, 2013

Deciding on a School

Making decisions about where you will go to graduate school is pretty complex and involves many variables. Some of the variables that impact your decision may include the culture of the program, the course offerings, the career outcomes, research opportunities, faculty, reputation of the School, funding opportunities, practical exposure in the curriculum, and more! All of these variables are important, and it is up to each student to decide which factors are the most important to them, and how a School or program may fit in with their goals and plans.
Here at UMSI, we try to be as helpful as we can in communicating with admitted students about these issues, and about who we are as a School. Some of the ways that we try to make our program clear to students is by assigning all admitted students to a current student mentor, having an organized weekend visit called Visiting Days @ UMSI for admitted students, and trying to be available on email or phone (or in person!) to help answer questions. We're happy to answer any email questions from students, and often try to connect them with other students or faculty who may be a better match for them to learn more about the program. Overall, learning about the School can be a process that happens over time, but as long as we work together, you can learn a lot about the program.
One of the big questions I often get from students is about when they need to decide if they are coming to UMSI. In general, we don't have a firm/final date by which students have to make a decision on our offer. We want to give everyone adequate time to explore their options and make the best decisions for themselves. However, if a student is offered a scholarship at some point, there will be a timeline attached to the offer for making a decision. We do abide by the national Council of Graduate Schools guideline of not requiring students to make decisions on funding offers prior to April 15. In general, we would like to know people's decisions as soon as possible, but we want to give everyone an opportunity to hear from other programs as well. Most students make their decisions in April or so.
I hope this is helpful information for any admitted student as they begin their process of evaluating programs, but feel free to contact us with any more specific questions and I'd be happy to talk to you more.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Updates and reminders

Thanks so much to those who have submitted their applications for the PhD (the deadline was December 15) and Master of Science in Information and Master of Health Informatics programs (early deadline was January 15).

For those who submitted master's applications on or before January 15, I've been getting a few questions about when UMSI actually received an application and how that might affect the status of being considered for the first round of UMSI scholarships.  If the status of your application states that it was received after January 15, please do not worry!  It may take your application a couple of days to get into our system, but if you applied on or before January 15, you can be sure you will be considered.

For those who have not yet applied, our deadlines are open until May and we do have subsequent rounds of funding.  Please let us know if you have further questions about the process, feel free to join our Facebook group where you can ask questions of current students and staff, and check out our old blog posts (about the application process).

For all, stay tuned to this blog in the coming weeks for posts about the culture of UMSI, living in Ann Arbor, and other topics! If you have ideas of things you'd like to hear about from our current students, please comment on this post or let us know via Facebook.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Early Deadline tomorrow!

Tomorrow, January 15 is the early deadline for priority consideration for admissions and funding for the University of Michigan School of Information!  Please also note that the deadline for submission of the University Library Associate scholarship ( - full funding, plus a stipend and benefits - for those who are interested in academic and research libraries, is January 15 as well.

We hope you've found our previous blog posts helpful and we appreciate your patience as we work to process applications as quickly as possible.  It will take us several days to process your application and for you to receive an email notification that your materials have been received, so we appreciate your patience during this busy time.  

Moving forward, this blog will aim to provide prospective from current students on what the MSI program is like, what to expect in Michigan and in Ann Arbor, and a great deal of other information you might find helpful.  We hope you'll continue to follow our posts and engage with one another via the Facebook group (

Thank you again for your interest in our programs and for your understanding as we work to process applications.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Creating a Complete Application

Now that the early application deadline is nearing, many of you are beginning to put the final touches on your applications before the deadline for first consideration for merit-based scholarships. One of the other Information Mentors, Alyssa, has recently written a helpful post providing tips for helping you complete your application, and you can see that hereShe, and other Information Mentors, have used this blog to give great advice on the nature of applying to UMSI, but today, I would like to talk a little about how to make your application as well rounded and “complete” as possible.

The first thing to consider is whether you have all of your application materials in order, and you can read more about the different parts of the application on the MSI application requirements page. It is essential to meet all of these requirements, and the admissions team will look for each section on every application. There is great advice on the UMSI Admissions blog about writing your personal statements, asking for letters of recommendation, and scholarships, and you should reference these posts for in-depth information about these sections. You should also make sure to pay special attention to the elements of your application that may be outside of your immediate control, like the letters of recommendation and test scores. I found it helpful to follow up with my writers and the testing agencies through emails or telephone calls to make sure they have sent everything to each one of my schools; this assurance can go a long way towards making you feel in control of these elements that you might never get to see. 

The admissions review committee takes a holistic approach to each prospective student’s application. This means that they look at the application as a whole, and not a conglomeration of separate sets of sections. Some things that the admissions team will look for when considering your application are how well you fit within the school’s mission, what your idea of the information profession is, and what you see yourself doing in the future of the field. The best places to express this information is in the statement of purpose and personal statement, and it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with the school’s mission, which you can read here. Addressing the five questions listed under the Statement of Purpose on the Applications Requirements page will allow you to address these topics, and will help you complete a well-rounded application that gives the admissions review committee an idea of how you believe you can further the field of information studies. Therefore, make sure that you have expressed yourself clearly in this section and answered all of the questions posed. Ultimately, each part of your application plays a role in the admissions process, and you want your application to present a balanced and informative vision of your past, your interest in information, and what you can contribute to UMSI and the information world.

The admissions team will consider your application once they have received it in its entirety. You can check on the status of your application, and what you are missing here. However, please note that it may take a few days for our system to recognize and process an application, so please have patience. If you do not immediately see that your application is complete right after you submit, you may wait a few days before checking again. For specific questions about the application process, you may contact the admissions team at, however, please understand that given the busyness of the application season, and the number of applications the team receives, the time it takes to make an admissions decision may vary. For any general questions about the program, cultural issues, or questions about Ann Arbor, please check out the UMSI Prospective Students Facebook group.

Best of luck, and have a great start to the New Year!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tips For Completing Your MSI Application

Happy New Year!  As the month begins, the application deadline for first consideration for UMSI scholarships is coming up quickly on Tuesday, January 15.  I remember very well from my experience as a prospective student last year how stressful this time can be so I would like to share some things I found helpful as I wrapped up my own application:

First, I would recommend looking at the application requirements page on the UMSI website to double-check that you have gathered all the necessary materials for your application.  Since there are multiple pieces required to complete your application, this page was helpful to me in making sure I didn’t forget to submit any of them.

If you have submitted your application already, you can also use this page to check which pieces have been received by UMSI admissions. Please note that it may take several days for us to process your application.  The admissions team begins processing around the January 15 early deadline, and appreciates your patience during this busy time.

I also found the UMSI Prospective MSI Students Facebook page ( to be an excellent resource for asking questions about the MSI program to current UMSI students since they have been through the application process before.  Other prospective students often had the same questions I did and the current MSI students and staff were always very helpful and happy to answer them.

I would also recommend having someone you trust proofread your essays and resume for grammar or spelling errors.  I read over my application several times before I submitted it but still failed to see a couple grammatical errors that someone else caught for me later, so an extra set of eyes can be valuable!

Also as I mentioned before, the application deadline for first consideration for UMSI scholarships is Tuesday, January 15 for those applying to the MSI program.  However, the final application deadline for Fall 2013 is May 1.

As always, if you have any questions as you are completing your application, make sure to contact us at

I wish you all the best of luck with your applications and again, a great new year!