While my roommate and I were dining on State Street, she asked me, "So what is the School of Information (SI) exactly?" I saw this question as an excellent opportunity to say and explain what are my interests more clearly.
I explained to her SI was formerly known as the School of Information and Library Studies until 1996. The Board of Regents approved the name change to expand and create a new class of professionals who will address complex issues in the digital age. SI students study how information is created, organized, preserved, and managed and how information is used in different environments. U-M was also the first to relabel itself a "school of information". The school's stated mission is "connecting people, information, and technology in more valuable ways." SI is in the forefront on technology research.
The diversity of my incoming MSI peers is so amazing. Out-of-state students represent about 60% (international students comprise about 25%!) in my incoming class. I talked with a few students, and they all said U-M, particularly SI, has a great reputation abroad. The program is small enough that the academic staff have already memorized my name and want to help me succeed in my courses and internships. The interdisciplinary and personal nature of SI reminds me a lot of my alma mater (small class sizes, focus on theory and practice, interdisciplinary collaboration).
MSI students had undergraduate majors ranging from the liberal arts to computer science and engineering. I also met older students who have been in the workforce for over ten years and decided to pursue a career change. We all have diverse career interests (i.e., IT consulting, information economics, academic librarianship, security and copyright policy, community information development, health informatics, etc.). It was very exciting to learn about our different backgrounds.
SI Career Services is also phenomenal. The counselors update weekly a list of active jobs for SI students and encourage us to create e-portfolios. SI has the mandatory practical engagement program, in which students participate in client-based group projects to assist local organizations with their information and technological needs. Finally, all SI graduates regardless of specialization receive American Library Association (ALA) accreditation.
I haven't even started classes, but I already believe U-M will provide me with the necessary skills and training for becoming an effective macro-practice social worker and informational professional. I was looking for flexibility in designing my own program; I definitely made the right decision to enroll in SI this fall. SI caters very much to its students, and I realized now why it is a top-5 ranked program.