Universities need to target students at an earlier age

I came across an interesting article in this morning’s Globe and Mail that suggests that increasingly, students start making decisions about attending university as early as grades 6-8. Since most universities continue to target students in grades 11-12 for their recruiting efforts, this article could have a significant impact on such recruiting policies. The findings from the study to which the article refers may be found here. Not surprisingly, students whose parent(s) attended university are more likely to express interest in attending university. From the perspective of Information Management schools, this article and study present interesting food for thought. At Dalhousie, certainly, our school has focused primarily on undergraduate students as well as people who are currently working in an information management environment, but who do not yet have an MLIS. Increasingly, however, I think we need to reach out to students much earlier. I have serious doubts as to whether career or guidance counsellors know very much about the information management profession; at best, they may be familiar with librarianship, but do they know that you need a Master’s degree to be a librarian? In my initial forays at recruitment, I realized very quickly that the undergraduate career counsellors I met did not know of the existence of the MLIS, nor of information management as a career choice. Clearly, we need to do a better job of promoting our profession to other educational institutions.