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Start Early to Prepare for Commencement

Start Early to Prepare for Commencement

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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, Online Learning Tips

As you approach commencement, your anticipation grows for this long-awaited event. But it’s wise to temper that euphoria with a planned approach to the big day. This planning, at the latest, should begin early in your senior year.

I know from experience what can happen if you just let things ride.

Early in my last semester as an undergraduate, I decided one day to look over my transcript. I have no idea what prompted me to check on my credit-hours total.

Imagine the shock I had when I discovered that after including the credits I would amass that semester, I would still be two credits shy of earning my degree. The problem was my discovery came only days after enrollment had closed.

I rushed to the registrar’s office where my pleas fell on deaf ears. Because I was co-editor of our student newspaper, I turned to the faculty adviser. He agreed to set up an independent study course for me so I could earn the extra two credits. I readily agreed.

Our plan met the same deaf ears in the registrar’s office. “If we did it for you, we’d have to do it for other students too,” I was told.

My last hope was to seek redress through the power of the press. However, my well-reasoned editorial in the student newspaper on the fallacy of that “equality” argument again failed to reverse the decision.

In the end, I enrolled in a three-credit summer school class on the history of the American theater. The class ran three hours each day for just two weeks. We few students were required to read three full-length plays each evening for discussion the following morning. We sat for the mid-term exam on the first Friday and the final exam on the second Friday.

Because graduation ceremonies took place in May and the quickie class took place in early June, I was not permitted to participate in the graduation ceremonies with my classmates.

Early the next spring, when I was in graduate school, I received an invitation to participate in that year’s graduation ceremonies. I did what the registrar’s office had done to me: I said no.

The moral of this story is take steps early to ensure you graduate on schedule. Here are some additional tips:

  • Pay close attention to your credit hours when you begin your senior year or sooner.
  • Be sure to pay all graduation fees (cap and gown, diploma, lab and library fees) as soon as they are due.
  • If you have any outstanding campus debts, pay them in full.
  • If you have been accepted into a graduate school program, watch for correspondence from the institution and respond promptly.
  • If you have not done so yet, prepare your resume, set up a LinkedIn profile and start networking. These tasks will help you begin your job search as soon as possible after you cross the commencement stage and have your degree in hand.

About the Author

David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor at American Public University System. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies. David has taught high school English in Connecticut and at Northern Virginia Community College. He has a master’s degree for Teachers of English from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in English from New York University. This month, Rowman & Littlefield will publish the paperback edition of David’s latest book, “The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation’s Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever.”

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