For some UMBC students, the process of graduating is anxiety-producing and occasionally even distinctly uncomfortable (like childbirth). Below are some tips from those of us who have watched thousands of students either dance to their diplomas singing “Hakuna Matata” or drag their way across the finish line.
1. Apply early!
It is easy! It is free! It will make you feel good! It is on line!
And here is the link:
For graduation in December 2013, apply by September 15, 2013
For graduation in May 2014, apply by February 15, 2014.
2. Apply to graduate even if you do not plan to participate in the commencement ceremony (or have not decided about it)!
When you apply, you are applying to be awarded your degree. You are not applying to wear a cap and gown.
The cap and gown is completely optional (although fun and encouraged). Do not confuse the “party” with the “degree”!
3. Degree Audit is your friend.
You have 24/7 access to a handy summary of every part of your degree and whether you have completed it yet.
This summary is used by your major and minor departments and the Registrar’s office to evaluate your eligibility to graduate.
Therefore, if it is not accurate, get it fixed! Submit a “HELP” ticket through your myUMBC account as soon as you see a problem.
Any special “substitutions,” “waivers,” or “exceptions,” granted by your major Dept should be documented there so your grad review can proceed smoothly. And make sure any transfer courses are being counted correctly.
INSIDER TIP: Not having your major, minor, and certificate choices reflected accurately in degree audit is one of the most common
problems that delays approval for graduation.
4. Meet with your academic advisor early to be certain you have completed (or have in progress) all required courses.
Do this early, while there is still time to address any gaps. If you plan to graduate this fall, NOW would be a good time if you have not already had this discussion.
5. Don’t slack off (much) in your final semester!
If you earn poor grades, or grades lower than your usual standard, you may not actually get your diploma or you may embarrass yourself as the elite grad school that accepted you contemplates whether you are still worthy.
INSIDER TIP: Incompletes can derail your drive to a diploma. No student with an unresolved Incomplete or NG (no grade) can have a degree awarded.
AND, LAST BUT NOT LEAST
6. Trust, but verify---everything.
Be meticulous, detail-oriented, and even semi-obsessive! Count your 45 upper level credits yourself! Compare your courses against the
GEP worksheet published in the catalog! If anything looks the least bit “off,” follow up vigorously. No one cares as much about your graduation as you do. And that’s a fact.
EXTRA CREDIT DISCUSSION QUESTION
Do you have any other suggestions for your fellow students to ensure that graduation is a trouble-free process??
If so, please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.