OBU graduation requirements for senior students

By Abigail Chadwick, Assistant News Editor  (Courtesy photo/PR Department)

Graduation is two and a half weeks away. There are several things graduates need to do before and after graduation.

The RSVP deadline for both the Senior Recognition Dinner and the President’s Reception is Friday, May 4.

The Senior Recognition Dinner is being hosted Thursday, May 10 at 6 p.m. The President’s Reception will be hosted Friday, May 18, right after graduation. Both events will be in GC 218-220. The registrar’s office will send out information about commencement day, including an itinerary that has the times and locations students need to know for graduation.

“Graduating seniors should be on the lookout for commencement announcements and information from the registrar’s office at OBU,” interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the graduate college, Dr. Susan DeWoody said.

“Pay special attention to the commencement day itinerary so students will know where they need to report and what time they are expected to line up.”

Chapel credits are a requirement for graduation. Seniors who have not finished their chapel credits will write chapel reports. This process occurs through Dean Griffin’s office.

“Students that have not completed their requirements will work with Dean Griffin’s office to complete the graduation requirement by listening to archived chapel programs and writing reports on those chapels,” associate vice president for student development and dean of students Odus Compton said.

Students can check remaining chapels on the OBU website the OBU app, or by stopping by the office of the dean of students.

“The total number remaining can be viewed online at http://www.okbu.edu or by using the OBU mobile app,” assistant vice president for spiritual life and dean of chapel Dale Griffin said.

“For an accurate ruling, students may go to the dean of students’ office to secure a report on their total number of chapel credits due.”

The bookstore will have regalia available through graduation day for seniors who either have not purchased any yet or who run into an issue with the regalia they purchased.

“If a graduate has any issue with their regalia they can just come back to the store and we will get it swapped out for them,” Duncan Lyle, OBU bookstore manager, said.

“We are keeping regalia in stock all the way through graduation day, so if a graduating senior has not come in yet, there are still plenty in stock and plenty of time to get their regalia.”

Embellishments are not allowed on the cap and gown, and only approved academic cords are allowed during commencement.

“Keep in mind that regalia should be purchased from the OBU bookstore and worn without adding personal embellishments on the cap or gown,” DeWoody said.

“Only pre-approved OBU academic-related cords will be worn with regalia during the ceremony.”

Students who have not purchased regalia can purchase them at the bookstore. Regalia can be bought as a set or as individual pieces.

“The whole package costs $54.48 this year,” Lyle said. “If a student just needs one piece we also have pricing for that: gown $38.69, cap $9.80, tassel $5.99. We also have plenty of alumni merchandise in stock and available anytime.”

Fees for unreturned items will be charged to a student’s Banner account. If students have not paid their balance, they won’t be able to receive transcripts or their diploma.

“Before leaving campus each student should make sure that they have returned any rented books, mailbox keys or anything else that belongs to OBU,” student loan/ collection manager Melinda Newpher said.

“If things are not returned, they will be charged to their Banner accounts. Remember that any balance on an account will put a hold on the student’s transcript and diploma.”

According to the mailroom, mail will not be forwarded if a forwarding address form is not completed. Seniors should circle either “graduating” or “not returning at all.”

The mailbox key must be turned in by May 17 or students will be charged a $25 fee.

Students with loans are advised to make sure they understand how to pay their loans.

Not staying on top of loan payments can have a negative impact financially.

“Students should make sure they know how much their loans are for, who they will be paying and when those payments will be due,” Newpher said.

“After graduation, one of the most important things is to make sure they stay current on their loans (this could help or hurt their credit scores). Ignoring their loans will only hurt them down the road. Students need to keep in mind that their government loans can be put in deferment or consolidated, which in a lot of cases will help the student.”

The career development office will send out emails this fall. This email is to collect information about graduates for OBU.

“Please read your email from me or the career development office,” director of career development and alumni engagement Lori Hagans said.

“We will be checking in between September and November to see where our graduates have landed. This is important information for us to collect – what companies are hiring our graduates, what graduate schools are our students attending, is there some way we can help with a graduate still looking for a job, etc.”

Students graduating from the Honors program are advised to ensure they have completed all the honors requirements and paperwork.

“Honors students need to ensure that they have (a) completed all of their Honors Program requirements; (b) submitted their honors graduation forms to the honors office, including ticket request, faculty hooding, and program information; and (c) passed all of their spring 2018 classes,” director of honors program Dr. Tawa Anderson said.

Students who want to check that they have met the requirements for graduating with their degree are advised to meet with their academic advisor.

“If [students] have questions about degree requirements at this point in time, they can schedule a meeting with their advisor to discuss their degree check,” Teri Walker, assistant registrar/degree counselor, said.

Graduates entering the professional world are advised to keep their email and social media professional and to network, she said.

“Network on LinkedIn. Use other networking opportunities and use your connections to make new connections. Be sure to do so in an ethical and professional manner, no one wants to feel used.”

Graduates who have not found a full-time job are encouraged to consider internships in their field.

“Check out internships in their areas of interest; some paid internships are available for recent grads,” Hagans said.

“This is a great way to get some experience if full-time employment has not been acquired,” she said. “Quite often successfully completed internship opportunities provide an offer of full-time employment.”

Preparation tips for graduating seniors

By Abigail Chadwick, Assistant News Editor   (Courtesy Photo)

Seniors gathered in the bookstore Monday, March 12, and Tuesday, March 13, for Senior Salute. The event had various stations to help seniors complete steps for graduation preparation.

Students who could not attend or did not go to every station can still complete these steps, but some purchased items will be more expensive. Seniors who missed Senior Salute will receive an email with information on the necessary steps.

“Teri’s [Teri Walker, OBU degree counselor] going to email everybody that [didn’t] come and then they’ll have a list of places they need to go, which is basically to see all of us,” Melinda Newpher, student loan/collections manager, said. “We just try to make it simpler for these few days, so that they can get it all in one place and be done.”

Seniors must submit a graduation application. Seniors who have not submitted their graduation application yet will receive an email prompting them to do so.

“It’s not important right now, but it’s the name you want on your diploma and a diploma mailing address, stuff that will get important to you,” Walker said. “So make sure you get that to me.”

Seniors who have not completed their chapel requirements will not be able to graduate. For some, this will mean completing chapel reports.

“If they don’t meet the requirement they won’t be allowed to participate in graduation,” Sharon Eulberg, secretary to the dean of students said.

The first step in starting chapel reports is visiting Eulberg’s office.

“They have to come to me,” Eulberg said. “We look and see how many reports that they need to write and then I contact Dale Griffin and Kelley Chlouber.”

Students at Senior Salute also received information on their Stafford loan, if applicable. The form and a booklet given had information on determining the amount of money owed and how to go about paying off the loan.

“[http://www.nslds.ed.gov] is where you would be able to go online right now and see exactly how much you owe on your Stafford loan,” Newpher said. “[http://www.studentloans.gov] will tell you what to do from here, what your options are for repayment.”

Graduation tickets will be picked up the week of graduation at Eulberg’s office. An email with more details will be sent out later.

“You’ll receive an email from me that’s going to let you know to pick the tickets up. You can start picking them up the week of graduation,” Eulberg said. “You’ll come to my office to pick the tickets up.”

Seniors will have a $50 graduation fee, which must be paid before graduation. Additional fees will be applied later if seniors don’t return mail keys and books.

“If you have a mailbox key you’re going to want to be sure you return that before you leave so you don’t get charged a re-key fee,” Lisa Cook, senior student financial services counselor, said. “If you’ve rented any books or checked out any books, you want to make sure you return those so you don’t get charged. Upon leaving campus, if there’s any remaining charges or anything like that, those won’t even hit your account until the summer so make sure you open up any emails that you get from OBU.”

The campus bookstore sells both regalia (cap, gown and tassel) and alumni merchandise (shirts, stickers, mugs, and diploma frames). The 20 percent sale for alumni merchandise only applied at Senior Salute, but the price for regalia remains the same.

“We always do 20 percent off the day of Senior Salute,” Duncan Lyle. OBU bookstore manager said. “The 20 percent doesn’t apply to regalia. So, the regalia packages are always going to be $49.99 and then each individual item has its own price…You can stop by anytime between now and graduation.”

Graduation announcements and rings can be purchased online at http://www.jostens.com. However, if not ordered in time, announcements will not arrive before graduation.

“It takes three weeks to get [the announcements] and about six weeks [for the rings],” Carrie Bricker, Jostens’ sales associate, said.

While announcement prices remain the same after Senior Salute, ring prices increased by more than $100.

“We have an event special [for Senior Salute], it starts at about $269 and then if you go online it’s about $389,” Bricker said. “The announcements can be ordered online and you do not have to pay any extra online.”

One stop at Senior Salute had seniors leave an email address that they will be using after leaving OBU, so that OBU can follow-up on what seniors do after they graduate.

“We will be following up with all the graduates after graduation in that six-month window to do our reporting for the next year to show, where our graduates went to work and where they went to grad school,” Lori Hagans, director of career services and alumni engagement, said. “So, we hope everyone will respond.”