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Author Topic: Where we get our degree doesn't matter?  (Read 38633 times)
red_lady
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« on: March 16, 2011, 7:46:15 PM »

Hi everyone,
I got notice last week from my home university that I've been accepted into their program. I am really excited and super grateful for just being accepted, but the program does not rank very highly. It is ALA-accredited though (and has been for at a very long time). There are many reasons as to why I'm tempted to take the offer though:
1. It'll be cost effective. I'll live at home. The way the program is set up allows me to work during the year.
2. It's a dual degree program.
3. My supervisor is quite a famous scholar. I met hu awhile back and hu was very kind and very, very intelligent.
4. I already know the university community and the city itself well. Therefore, I'll be more comfortable and relaxed when I write my thesis.

So I guess my question is: how important is ranking? I want to accept their offer, but if I don't get job offers later because my program is lower-ranked it'll just be better to spend more money now on a Library Science degree at another university.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 7:47:29 PM by red_lady » Logged
fourhats
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 8:01:31 PM »

I don't know library programs very well, so will approach this from my own field.  Before I do that, though, may I say that "hu" is becoming a despised pronoun that should be avoided.

In my humanities field, where you get your degree is everything.  It will follow you for the rest of your career, and perhaps (likely) determine where you get interviews and offers.  In a terrible job market, it is far, far better to go with the highly-ranked program if you have a choice.

On the other hand, working under an important, recognized scholar in the field counts for a lot as well.  As does work experience, in the case of your field.

I would discount the "ease" and "comfort" aspects of your decision, and think in the longer term.
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punchnpie
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 8:42:00 PM »

I'm a prof in a SLIS. Because these are professional programs, with ALA accreditation (which should mean at least a minimum of quality), I'm going to say that it's not terribly important where you go to school EXCEPT...

1) if you want to do a PhD later - you want to be exposed to a more rigorous program (rigorous programs are nice, in and of themselves, but then I'm biased)

2) if you have an interest in the info science side of things, rather than the traditional LIS side. You do not want to go to a program that won't offer you courses in computing, policy, management, etc. that you need for work in places like Google, if that's your thing. I did technology policy work after my masters in information. I could never have done the work if I'd gone to a traditional program; I just wouldn't have had the background, or had the profs who could have helped guide me to the field.

The job search will probably be regional or national. You need to be willing to go where the job is. If you think you can stay in Ann Arbor, Iowa City, Madison, or even a big town like Seattle and get a job, keep thinking. Most likely you will end up working outside of a library, hoping for someone to die before there is an opening. Don't be too bound to your home town, though, at least in my part of the country, students are able to find work in the state.

You need to get experience while you are in school if you are coming in without it. Do an internship, volunteer, or get a PT job. Try different information environments to see what you really like and not just what you think you like.

I don't care if you want to stay home for school. I do care that you have enough exposure to the field, academically and practically, to get a job at the end of it all.  That's my view from academe - there are some practitioners on the board who may have something else to say.
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collegekidsmom
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2011, 9:56:02 PM »

It's what you bring to the table in our job searches that seal the deal. It's really the experience of course. Can a person hit the ground running, be flexible, do what needs to be done?  I think where you get the degree matters of course, but what you've done and where you've worked-now that really makes a difference. The right skill set matched to the opportunity is the key. Someone coming out of an OK school with not much experience? No chance at my research institution. Like everything else, you have to set yourself apart from a crowd. Some people do that with school, others with publications, others with a dynamite combination of relevant skills. There is no single formula for success.

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red_lady
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2011, 5:14:39 AM »

Thanks for the responses.
I should apologize. When I started the thread, I was upset because I thought I didn't get into the university I really wanted to get into (which is also one out of the two top programs in my country). I thought I was going to have to stay at home and was trying to convince myself that that's the best choice I have.

I got notice early this morning that I was admitted into my first choice :) I'm super ecstatic. I love my home university but am definitely ready to move and start my academic career at another institution. Thanks for keeping it real for me.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 5:15:53 AM by red_lady » Logged
punchnpie
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 12:46:14 PM »

I got notice early this morning that I was admitted into my first choice :) I'm super ecstatic. I love my home university but am definitely ready to move and start my academic career at another institution. Thanks for keeping it real for me.

Congrats! Have an excellent experience! And yeah, there's nothing like getting into one's first choice, is there? My son applied to grad programs this season, so I know what you mean.
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collegekidsmom
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2011, 11:33:47 PM »

That's great news! Congratulations on getting into the program.
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palla
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2012, 10:58:22 AM »

Excellent news, red_lady!  Congratulations!!
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anisogamy
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2012, 11:30:12 AM »

Congratulations, red_lady, and enjoy your new program!
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A little compassion is better than kicking people when they are down, regardless of who has suffered more and longer or whose bad job market has the biggest dick.
libwitch
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Posts: 188


« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2012, 1:52:18 PM »

I used to answer quickly, no it doesn't matter.  But now I want to say, no it usually doesn't matter.  Clearly, it needs to be accredited.  And the right core program needs to be there - we have been doing hiring recently, and I am sort of shocked by candidates explaining what hasn't been covered in the library school - "well, reference service was an elective - because the reference desk is dead -  not a core, so I took 3 classes on metadata instead"

(Then don't apply for a job that requires lots of reference desk work.) 

And be wary of programs - if you are not interested in going into a phD program - that don't have faculty who have actually worked in the field recently on staff.  Yes, you want rigour in the program, and oh yes, statistical methodology comes in handy more then you would ever dream in day to day work, but you also want someone who can say "and then is how you actually take this theory and apply it to day to day life" not "this is how I tell libraries they should be doing when I consult (but I don't actually know) or this is what the research says, but you know, I never tried it"

And i know its hard when you are working FT but try, try, try to get some actual in person, face to face experience in the type of library and work you are interested in doing.  If you can't, work with your professors to develop strong projects.  What we wouldn't give for a new librarian to walk in with a decent collection development project  under their belt!




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