Q: I have been fighting the desire to be a librarian for years, after working at both academic and public libraries, and I’ve decided that I truly want this degree to obtain a library/information-related career. Yippee!
So, though I have about four years of previous library experience and am excited about a reference career, I am very nervous about my chances to even be accepted by an accredited library program. My GPA upon graduation eleven years ago was about 2.8, which puts me out of the running at first glance. I think I’ll have solid GRE scores (verbal section and writing will be successes based on past experience), but I’m hung up on my grades. Beyond some type of personal statement, I cannot think of how to get past this major strike against me.
Any encouragement would be appreciated, especially based on observations that you’ve made. Do I have any chance of going to one of the better-ranked schools? Would you recommend taking a few courses to pump up my GPA? Thank you!
SM: Don’t beat yourself up about things you cannot change. My advice to you is to choose the library schools that you would like to attend. Choose several, if possible. Visit their web sites and find information on their admission requirements. They will all have slightly different requirements. Some schools do not require GRE scores and some do. All, however, will want your college transcripts. And some will say that they only want the GRE scores if your GPA is under 3.0. So, you will most likely need to take the GRE regardless of its necessity for admission.
Also, your GPA isn’t the deciding factor in acceptance to a particular school. Letters of reference and your statement of purpose are extremely important. And admissions departments in library schools know that librarianship is often a second or third or fourth career choice for people, and they will hopefully work with you to figure out how to get you enrolled. It is to their benefit to enroll motivated individuals who will complete the program.
I don’t think you need to take more classes to prove that you are a good student and that you can get good grades. Wait for library school. And yes, you do have a chance of getting into one of the better-ranked library schools.
If you are still concerned (or if you cannot find information on a school’s website for applicants who have lower GPAs) you should contact the school(s) you want to apply to and talk with someone in admissions. You can ask about being put on academic probation. Some schools will do this and it is essentially a trial admission until you prove that you can maintain your grades. Be honest and up front, and don’t let your (past) grades stop you from pursuing your dream.
Examples of admission requirements for GSLIS programs that offer options for those with lower than 3.0 GPAs: