Kendra Johnson

Features Editor

It’s one month away.

Undergraduate commencement—graduation ceremony—2021 will take place May 14-15.

Let the annual senior countdown clocks commence.

While graduation is probably the most anticipated event of the entire college experience, it also can bring uncertainty.

During their final semester seniors face the challenges of making sure that they’ve completed all their graduation requirements and simultaneously making plans for life after graduation.

Preparing for graduation doesn’t have to be complicated though.

The follow checklist will give you a head start in making sure you’re ready for May 2021, so jump right in, since several graduation deadlines are coming up fast.

  1. Fill out Application for Graduation

The Student Application for Graduation asks for all the information needed for graduation, including the name students would prefer to have listed on their degree and on the commencement program, their major, minor, mailing address and other relevant details.

“All data on the application is required and necessary to process their degree and prepare for the commencement ceremony,” registrar Marcia McQuerry said.

It’s important to fill it out early—preferably before Senior Salute which took place last month—so if you haven’t already, do so as soon as possible and before the fast approaching April 30 deadline.

You can find the form on the OBU website by going to the “Academics” menu at the top, selecting “Academic Center (Registration)” and clicking on “Student Application for Graduation” on the side menu that appears on that page.

The application is fairly short and simple and takes only a few minutes to fill out.

  • Request a Degree Check

If you haven’t done so already, request a Degree Check in order to make sure that all your academic graduation requirements will be completed in time for graduation.

Ideally, this should be done at least once per year during junior and senior year.

To request a Degree Check, go to the “Academics” menu on the OBU website, select “Academic Center (Registration)” and then click on “Degree and Graduation Check Application” on the side menu.

The form only takes a few minutes to fill out.

Then, once the Degree Check has been completed, you and your academic advisor will receive an email telling you that the Degree Check has been completed and the results are viewable on Degree Works.

Degree Works can be accessed on the OBU website’s quick links menu and it shows a checklist of your academic degree requirements broken down by which requirements you’re in-progress of completing, which ones you’ve completed and which you still need to complete.

To make sure you understand what the information on Degree Works means, meet with your advisor to discuss it.

“Students don’t want surprises when it comes to graduation,” McQuerry said. “By reviewing their degree audit each semester with their advisor, the student can plan for future semesters to graduate on time.”

Hopefully, at this point in your senior year, your Degree Check will simply confirm that you’re ready to graduate in May.

  • Contact Your Financial Aid Advisor

Seniors planning to graduate this May should make sure to speak with their financial aid officer in order to make sure that they have completed all the financial steps to be ready to graduate.

“There may be students who are still lacking necessary items for all financial aid to disburse to his/her account,” director of student financial services Daniella Wellman said. “If they don’t take care of this before the end of the semester, they may find themselves with an unexpected remaining balance that prevents them from receiving a diploma right away.”

The easiest way to avoid this is to speak with your financial aid advisor before the end of April.

“Due to federal regulations, there are certain changes that cannot happen on student accounts after the last day of classes,” Wellman said. “Stopping by in April ensures they can head into finals week in May with no unexpected surprises.”

  • Purchase Your Cap and Gown

Purchasing your cap and gown is one of the simplest steps of preparing for graduation. Visit https://forms.gle/2bDz7my6EiT2VNNu7 to order your graduation regalia[1] .

“The cost for cap, gown and tassel will be about $62.50 and will be paid when students pick up their package at the OBU Campus Store,” OBU campus store manager Jay Stroud said.

Make sure that you do so by this Friday, April 16, though or it won’t arrive in time for graduation!

  • Complete your Chapel Credits

It’s easy to forget, but chapel attendance isn’t just about your faith—although that’s its primary focus.

Chapel attendance is also a requirement for graduation.

So, make sure that you’re on track to complete the needed chapel credits in time. You can check your remaining required chapel credits by visiting the “Chapel Credits” link on the OBU website’s Quick Links menu.

If you still need chapel credits, make a detailed plan now for which chapel services you will attend and which online chapel quizzes you will complete on Canvas in order to finish this requirement in time for graduation.

Students who need more chapel credits than are left during this semester in order to graduate in May, will need to do chapel reports.

If you have questions or concerns about your chapel credits or about chapel reports, contact Sharon Eulberg, secretary to the dean of students, at sharon.eulberg@okbu.edu.

  • Graduation Tickets, Time & Place

You’re almost there. Time to prepare for the celebration and invite the guests!

Commencement will be held in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium.

In order to facilitate social distancing, OBU has split commencement into five separate ceremonies based on students’ majors, according to a statement on the OBU website.

Friday, May 14, 2 p.m.—College of Nursing majors

Saturday, May 15, 8:30 a.m.—Divisions of Teacher Education, Behavioral and Social Sciences and Language and Literature majors

Saturday, May 15, Noon—Hurley College of Science and Mathematics and the Division of Health and Human Performance and Exercise Science, Sport and Recreation majors

Saturday, May 15, 2 p.m.— Dickinson College of Business, Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry and interdisciplinary majors

Saturday, May 15, 4 p.m.— Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts majors

Other safety precautions will also be in place, including sanitation protocols in-between graduation ceremonies, face mask requirements and temperature screenings for all event attendees.

Each graduating senior gets five guest tickets and tickets will be available for pickup at the Student Life offices starting May 7.

If any of your guests have disability accommodation needs contact Secretary to the Dean of Students, Sharon Eulberg, at sharon.eulberg@okbu.edu.

  • Prep for Post-Graduation

Another concern for graduation seniors is being ready for life after graduation.

Students can reach out to the career development office for assistance in this regard.

The “Career Development” webpage, found on the “Student Life” menu on the OBU website, contains useful links on subjects ranging from career/major planning to résumés and interviews to useful websites for job searches.

For further assistance, students can contact director of career development Lori Hagans at lori.hagans@okbu.edu or career.development@okbu.edu.

“I am available for resume/cover letter review, online resources (Optimal Resume and Career Portal), job search, etc.” Hagan said.

Your advisor is another great resource for major-specific career advice.

After graduation, the career development office will send out a follow up survey.

“The Career Development office will be following up with all graduates within six months of graduation to gather information about employment, grad school, etc.” Hagan said.

“I would greatly appreciate each graduate filling out the survey when they receive it. Information is for statistical purposes and individual information will not be publicized.”


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