Three Profound Tips On Applying For Your MLIS

It’s been a disheartening year since I applied to the University of British Columbia for their Master’s in Library Science program (apparently librarianing is now a science – laugh away bio majors) and was ultimately rejected.


The rejection was real.

Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I’d already attended UBC in hopes of being a teacher and, once having my true destiny as a librarian unlocked, quickly withdrew from the program to begin training to become Dewey Decimal’s protégé – never to be seen again.

Maybe my reputation as a book thief has preceded me and I have now blackened my name as a future librarian.

Or it could have been that while I was submitting my application, my internet-famous-and-smug-about-it boyfriend turned up on my door step and decided to have the break up talk right then and there. I kept trying to tell him it was fine and he just needed to leave.  However, in his mind, he thought this meant he should stay and try to console me.

I would have preferred a break-up text.  (Perhaps he knew that I’d be desperate to have it done with so I could finish submitting my application and planned accordingly.)

In any case, some time has passed and I’m now ready to move on from the horrible rejection that ensued from that fateful night.

Below are three helpful tips I’ve uncovered through blood, sweat, and tears in applying for an MLIS.

1. The Style of Your CV Should Not Be a Direct Reflection On You As a Person

Or at least this is what my ex boss thinks. As he is a quite successful and literary type of person, I decided that he would be the perfect choice to look over my CV and assure me that all of my life experience has been leading up to this moment.  The university staff would be out of their minds not to accept me.

Instead, he told me the following:

“You’ve used the bullets in the opposite way that they’re intended. […] And they’re a little wobbly.  They seem to wander like drunks down the margin. Resumes should not actually resemble private lives.
Key thing to remember.”

Point taken.


Get those bullet points in line or else people will think you’re a drunkard.

2. Your References Are Not Beyond Bribery

Although you don’t want your prospective university to think you’re a drunkard based on how you use bullet points, faculty from your previous university will embrace you for it.  Especially if you offer them beer in exchange for writing your reference.  In fact, if this is your second time requesting one from them, this point is absolutely crucial.

None of this, “I would be eternally grateful” bullshit that wikihow recommends.

My request: How do you feel about my owing you 22 drinks instead of the previously established 11?
Prof’s response:
As to whether that reference was actually coherent or not is another matter.

3. Do Not Say The Words “I Love Books” In Your Statement of Intent.  No Matter How Challenging.

I actually picked this tip up from another website.  I’m sorry.  I don’t know which one.  But the author of said web page made an excellent point.  Anybody going for a career as a librarian is going to love books.  It would be very strange if they didn’t.


If you have to talk about how much you love reading, say something original or tell a story behind why you love books so much.

I talked about escaping from the torturous prison cell of the public school system to find sanctuary in the library.

…I’ll let you know how that application goes.

If not – third time’s a charm, right?

On the off chance that these tips did not solve all of your burning questions about applying to library school, I highly recommend checking out this post from

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