Sharing Insight Into the iSchool Advising Process

iStudent Blog
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Published: May 4, 2023 by Kesheena Doctor

As the spring semester ends, iSchool students are planning for future semesters by course planning, applying for internships, and updating e-portfolios. Part of that process should also entail meeting with an academic advisor.

iSchool Advising Tools

The iSchool has a great academic advising process with many tools for students to use such as the Advising Toolkit and the Student Success Planner. The iSchool Student Services team is also available for any questions students may have about using the Advising Tools. Since the iSchool is designed for students to select from an array of elective courses with few required courses, students are better able to build a diverse portfolio to have a competitive advantage in the library career market. However, some students might have trouble deciding on which MLIS Career Pathway to choose, need help selecting from the myriad courses offered or may simply be overwhelmed by the flexibility of the iSchool program and need advisement. Some students like myself may just want reassurance that they are on the right path.

My First Advising Session

To help me with my questions regarding my MLIS Career Pathway, Academic Librarianship, I decided to meet with an iSchool Advising Faculty Pathway Advisor and opted to work with Dr. Maria Otero-Boisvert. I chose Dr. Otero-Boisvert since she would be teaching a course I was interested in, INFO 230 Issues in Academic Libraries, and I wanted to build a relationship with her. I first met with Dr. Otero-Boisvert this past November during the fall semester to discuss my academic plans and also get some information about my career options.

We had a nice hour-long discussion about the academic librarianship role as well as reassurance on my planned spring schedule. Dr. Otero-Boisvert also stressed that if I had more questions about specific classes, I should reach out to Dr. Linda Main, who has comprehensive knowledge regarding iSchool courses. Our first meeting went very well, and it helped better prepare me for the spring semester.

My Second Advising Session

For the spring semester, I had more confidence in my chosen career pathway after attending the ARL symposium as part of the Kaleidoscope Program and attending ALA’s ACRL 2023 Conference. These experiences equipped me with more insight into my intended career as a liaison librarian and I had more options to explore with courses and post-graduation plans. I decided to meet with Dr. Otero-Boisvert again and check in with her about my options

I met Dr. Otero-Boisvert in late March shortly after I returned from ACRL and we discussed my summer course schedule and what other experience I needed to fill any gaps in my resume. Dr. Otero-Boisvert offered information on internships I could apply to for summer, residencies that I might take once I graduate, which addressed my concerns about gaining more library experience to round out my resume.

The academic advising process was very fruitful for me and helped build confidence while talking with a future peer in the profession. I greatly appreciated Dr. Otero-Boisvert’s insight and suggestions about my queries and appreciated that someone with over 20 years of experience in academic librarianship was able to take time and talk about my career aspirations.

Tips for Maximizing Your Advising Session

I greatly enjoyed the iSchool’s advising process and though I had specific questions about my plans for career and goals after graduation, the iSchool advising faculty were more than happy to assist me and provide answers. If you are thinking of meeting with an advisor, I suggest doing the following:

  • Use all advising tools and resources available on the iSchool’s website.
  • Write down some clear and concise questions about what you need help with.
  • In your introductory email, introduce yourself with the year expected to graduate, your education & career goals, your concerns and availability.

Unfortunately, Dr. Otero-Boisvert will be retiring this year, but after my experience with her, I am very confident that any faculty advisers will be more than adept at providing me with the appropriate advising and insurance about my path at the high school. I would love to hear about anyone else’s experience with the advising process here at the iSchool, please comment below.


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