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This may be too little too late for some of you, but I have a little feedback now that people are receiving acceptance letters for Fall 2017:

- I was very worried about UCLA's communication before I arrived on campus, but a lot of that anxiety dissipated as soon as I got to Los Angeles and started classes. I also learned that the primary point person for incoming students was brand new in her role and responsible for an insane number of students. She is lovely (as are all IS staff members). 

-UCLA's IS department is strongly dedicated to its social justice mission. This has been amplified since Trump has been in office. If you are expecting to learn how to take staples out of archival materials or use any type of technology, you are totally on your own. The emphasis of this program is extremely theoretical, so be prepared to really get busy reading critical theory (i.e. feminist theory, queer theory, deconstructionism, Marxism, critical race theory, etc.). You can craft your course load to avoid encountering these topics to a degree, but if you do not have an open mind about progressive issues, you may have a hard time connecting with this program. 

- This IS department's program strengths are in Media Preservation (it used to be a Moving Image Archives track that has now been absorbed into the general Information Studies program) and Archival Studies. Media Studies--because we are in Los Angeles and can have courses taught by people who work at the Academy, the Getty, etc.. A pretty solid number of students in their 2nd year intern at sites like the HBO archive, Nickelodeon, Sony, the Academy, LACMA, etc. --the opportunities for people interested in media archives and preservation (and less specialized topics, for that matter) are vast. Archival Studies--because we have a couple of relatively well-known faculty members in the (tiny) field (Google Michelle Caswell and Anne Gilliland--both write extensively about using archival records for human rights and social justice purposes). Students focusing on Librarianship often have a hard time making themselves heard and there are few faculty members who are/were actual librarians--this may be something for you to keep in mind. 

- If you are moving to LA from out of town, be prepared to have a helluva time finding housing that is affordable and within 45 minutes of campus by car or bus. 

All in all, I do not regret choosing UCLA for personal and intellectual reasons, but I really can't emphasize enough that almost every course offered in this program is meant to work confront issues of racism/sexism/white supremacy in LIS. This is arguably a practical skill, but you will not have many opportunities in the classroom to learn some of the more traditional nuts and bolts of LIS--you'll have to find work/internship/volunteer opportunities on your own outside of school. Everyone has a different experience in the program--that is for sure--and I do not want to speak for everyone, but these have been my biggest impressions so far. I'm sure I would be equally happy at UW or UIUC, but I ultimately just had to pick a school and get on with it. Congratulations to everyone who has been getting into schools lately and best wishes! 


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