November 06, 2009
Why SI is for me...
So as application season begins and people are deciding where to apply and where to go I thought I'd talk a little big about why I chose SI. As an LIS student I obviously wanted a program that was ALA accredited but the decision to go to a more traditional library school versus an iSchool or Information School was a little trickier. iSchools are generally geared toward a variety of information professions, for example the UM School of Information includes specializations in Archives, Human-Computer Information, Preservation of Information, Information Policy and more. The Library world and a student interested in library information services can benefit from both. I chose SI because it was an iSchool, I knew I would be able to gain the library skills I needed and have an ALA accredited degree while also being able to take classes and learn in other areas like web design, usability, databases, and archiving. Even though there is a broad focus at SI, everyone here is working toward the same basic goals. I knew when applying to library schools that I wanted to gain some of the more technical skills I lacked that are proving to be more and more necessary in library settings.
SI's Visitng Days for admitted students further made me feel like I was making the right decision in choosing SI. Through visiting the school, meeting with faculty, current students, and my future peers I was able to more fully comprehend just how much I would be able to gain from the program. Obviously you should do your own research on schools but by actually visiting a school you're able to see yourself being a student there and understand how you fit in.
As far as doing research on schools I would recommend looking at websites. What does the website focus on? What is the school's mission statement? You can learn a lot about a school by what's featured on their homepage. You should also look at the course catalog, see what kind of classes are offered, do they look interesting to you? Do they look like classes you would want to take? Finally take the time to contact a current student. Ask them how they feel about the program, ask them why they chose it, how they feel about classes, job prospects, or any questions you couldn't find answers to elsewhere.