Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tips for Completing a Well-Rounded Application

The January 15th early application deadline is now less than a month away! We know you're busy working on your application and wanted to provide some tips for making it the best it can be. We’ve recently written several posts related to navigating the admissions process, funding, and asking for letters of recommendation. Below are some additional tips and thoughts to consider before hitting the submit button on your application.

Make sure all your application materials are in order

Review the admissions requirements page and make sure you have all the required elements:

  • Online application
  • Resume
  • Transcripts
  • GRE Scores
  • TOEFL or IELTS Scores (International Students only)
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Personal Statement

The admissions team requires each one of these elements for review, so it is important that they have all been completed.

Be 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. Following up with your writers and the testing agencies through email or phone to ensure everything has been completed and sent to the correct place can provide reassurance. You can also check the status of your application here.

What does your application say about you?

The admissions review committee takes a holistic approach in evaluating each prospective student's application. This means that the admissions team is looking at all elements of your application to see how well you fit with the school's mission statement, your potential for leadership, what you see yourself doing in the future of the field, and other related factors. Please read this post on writing the personal statement and statement of purpose for more tips.

Answering the five questions listed under the Statement of Purpose on the admissions requirements page will allow you to address these factors and give the admissions review committee an idea of how you believe you can further the field of information. Make sure that you have expressed yourself clearly in this section and answered all of the questions posed.

Once you have your essays written, remember to proofread your statements and have a friend review them as well. I remember writing my own personal statement and struggling with what direction to take but what helped me most was imagining I was on the admissions committee reading my statements for the first time. What did I now know about the applicant based only the application? How does this person fit within the field of information? What has the applicant done in the past to ensure future success? Is the applicant a good fit for the school? After you've read your statements, make sure they tell your story, who you are, what you bring to the table, and what you hope to achieve by earning your MSI.

For specific questions about the application process, you may contact the admissions team at umsi.admissions@umich.edu. The admissions office will be closed for the holidays from December 24th to January 2nd. The team will respond to emails as soon as possible when they return to campus the week of January 5th. In addition, please understand that the time it takes to make an admissions decision may vary due to the busy application season and the number of applications the team receives. For general questions about the program or Ann Arbor and to connect with prospective and current students, please check out the UMSI Prospective Students Facebook group.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Funding and Scholarship Reminder

It is never too early to start thinking about funding for graduate school and the time to start is now!  There are many options available to help finance a master's degree at UMSI.

We posted similar information in October, but want to check in and remind you of the resources we've compiled and encourage you to start looking and applying for scholarships now.

Brief reminders (details below): 
  • All students are considered for UMSI merit scholarships, and those who apply to UMSI by January 15, 2015 will receive priority consideration.  
  • Check out our external scholarship spreadsheet.  UMSI is often able to match or double match funding awards from external scholarships.  Many of these deadlines are coming up soon, so don't delay!


UMSI Merit Scholarships
UMSI merit scholarships range from partial to full tuition coverage, with possible additional benefits, (regardless of residency status) for four semester of full-time MSI coursework.
We go through 3-4 rounds of UMSI Scholarship offers throughout the term. We hope to complete the first round in late February/early March. The second round will be in mid- to- late April, with a possible 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 MSI Visiting Days (in March, for admitted students), 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.

UMSI matching funds for external tuition awards
UMSI master's students who receive scholarships administered by external sources, such as associations, foundations, and corporations, are eligible to request matching funds from the School of Information.

UMSI students who receive an external scholarship prior to their first term of enrollment or through their first year (12 months) of enrollment are eligible for up to $10,000 in matching funds, depending on the award amount, the level of funding already awarded by UMSI, the remaining unmet need for cost of attendance, and the availability of funds remaining in the annual matching funds budget. Admitted students who receive an external award should submit the original award statement (keeping a copy for personal records) with a request for matching funds to umsi.admissions@umich.edu. 

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. 

Links from UMSI website:
Please note the University Library Associate scholarships and Bonk Assistantship require separate applications, due January 15, 2015.  The applications are now available.