The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Pomp and unfortunate circumstance: Reality of applying for graduation

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Nowadays, getting into college is easier than getting out. We scramble to meet deadlines, make endless advising appointments and fill out stacks of paperwork in our attempt to one day hold a single piece of paper: a college diploma. We all face problems when applying for graduation and no one escapes the cyclone of paperwork without a scratch. So what can we do?

  1. Beat the Deadlines

“Apply early,” said Dr. Nancy Burroughs, the Chair of the Communication Studies Department. Her advice was for students to apply when they have completed 90 units or when they have only two semesters left.
We’re college students that wait for deadlines, so we can do it the night before it is due. We often wait to apply for graduation until we hear the word deadline. In a familiar state of panic, students run to Enrollment Services and are told the deadline only applies to priority applicants (whatever that means). There is not actually a posted deadline for non-priority graduation applications, but applying early eliminates the risk of missing deadlines.
After applying for graduation, I found out that it would take eight to 10 weeks for me to receive another packet of paperwork to fill out. With that being said, those applying for graduation should probably consider giving Enrollment Services at least 10 weeks to figure it out.

  1. Know the Requirements

A list of exactly what classes are recommended, prerequisites and requirements for the degree can be found on department websites. This saves a lot of stress when advisors cannot remember my name, let alone what classes I need to take. But, there is another option. Signing into the MyCSUSTAN Portal, I discovered that there is an “Academic Requirements” option in the drop down menu next to my schedule. That magical little option gives you a breakdown of General Education requirements and major requirements; it even shows the classes I have taken, with the number of units I have completed, the grade I earned and a beautiful green check mark to show that I completed a section of requirements.
The thing students should always remember is that it is not the responsibility of your advisor to determine your college career for you. I always go into advising with a plan, which is usually a printed Excel sheet of classes I have taken and what I have left to take (overachiever, I know).

  1. Love the Advisors

We might forget that faculty are human too. Here, like the doctor’s office, a second opinion never hurts. Faculty are never wrong— possibly misinformed, but never wrong. So, when in doubt, check with another faculty member.
In my own department, there was a Pangea, continent-shifting type of change of staff. Multiple faculty members left the department and were replaced, leaving me to play catch up with a new advisor. It is an occurrence that college students have to deal with because let’s face it, we cannot lock our favorite teachers inside their offices and keep them forever. But, I gave my new advisor a chance and what did I learn? My advisor is actually pretty awesome!
The number one thing that I learned when going through the struggle known as applying for graduation is that I am not alone. Talking to my classmates, we all had our own problems with the process. But we have to respect the process. After all the paperwork, nothing will feel better than walking across that stage, pseudo-diploma in hand.

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Pomp and unfortunate circumstance: Reality of applying for graduation