Seniors, Are You Ready For Graduation?

February 23, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Aida Ahmed
aahmed@smu.edu

February is coming to an end and for seniors that means less than three months until graduation.

With midterms right around the corner and the usual chaos of the school year, it is no wonder that many seniors have yet to start planning for graduation ceremonies.

Cate Hamilton, coordinator of administration, said that this year more students than usual have not yet filed to graduate.

“In reviewing credit hours alone, we currently have 2,580 students who may be eligible to participate in May commencement, however 850 of those students have not yet filed their Application for Candidacy to Graduate (ACG) with their school of record,” Hamilton said. “That is a lot compared to the number of students who may be on track to graduate. We find that students are not aware that they need to file an ACG in order to participate in commencement weekend activities.”

Hamilton said if students have not filed their ACG but do intend on participating in commencement weekend, they are missing out on communications from graduation related vendors, as well as from the university.

(PHOTO COURTESY SMU)

“Students who have completed their ACG will have a much easier time at the Grad Fair coming up on Feb. 24-25, as we will have their information on file and ready, should they need it to order their announcements, cap and gown,” Hamilton said.

With a significant portion of students yet to file, those who have say that its about all they have done in their preparation for graduation.

Senior religious studies major, Alicia Bos, said she filed for graduation back in January when she realized the deadline was quickly approaching.

“I honestly forgot about it until somebody was like, you have to apply,” Bos said.

Other than filing, Bos says she really hasn’t focused on preparing for the ceremonial part of graduation.

“I’ve notified my family but really I’ve just been spending my time job searching,” Bos said.

She also said she hasn’t received or noticed any e-mails in her inbox with reminders of graduation and the graduation fair.

“I think we might have to meet with our advisor but other than that I don’t know,” said Bos.

Meadows degree counselor, Janet Stephens, said that graduating seniors in the Meadows School of the Arts can technically file up to the week before graduation, but it might mean they won’t be able to graduate.

“We’ll file you at whatever point you come in,” Stephens said. “The negative is that you may discover that you have hours left that you don’t know about. You’ll get to participate in the graduation ceremonies but you won’t actually receive your diploma.”

The actual deadline to file for graduation was January 25, so if students find that they are missing some requirements, they are out of luck.

Students who are only missing six hours or less can participate in the ceremonies, but must complete their remaining hours in the summer term. To do this they must file a “Walk” petition with their school of record.

Stephens advises students who haven’t applied yet to come in as soon as possible.

“Nobody is graduating if they haven’t come to see us, so just come in and let us go through your degree progress report,” Stephens said.

But filing to graduate is just the first step. Hamilton says students should still keep in mind the $45 Apply to Graduate Fee that is due by the time they graduate. If it is not paid, graduates will not receive their diploma during the diploma presentation ceremony.

A good resource seniors can use is the May Graduation Fair that is taking place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday Feb. 24 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday Feb. 25 in the Laura Lee Blanton building in rooms 110 and 112.

At the fair, students will receive ceremony instructions and guest information, as well as order their class ring from Balfour and order regalia, invitations and announcements from Herff Jones. Seniors can also order a yearbook and get professional cap and gown photographs taken.

Students with more questions should refer to the May Commencement section of the registrar’s website or visit their degree counselor.

Handy Contacts:
Cox Undergraduate/BBA Office – 252 Maguire / 214.768.3003
Dedman Undergraduate Records Office – 214 Dallas Hall / 214.768.2298
Lyle Undergraduate Advising & Student Records Office – 400 Caruth Hall / 214.768.1457
Meadows Undergraduate Academic Services – 202 U Lee / 214.768.2754