Eventually, it happens to all of us. One day you wake up to find a mysterious and unexpected email in your inbox. “You have met the minimum requirements to apply for graduation.” What? I haven’t thought about next semester’s classes, let alone graduating. Am I even on track? What am I supposed to do?
First of all, pat yourself on the back. If you play your cards right, you can probably walk across the stage in a cap and gown in a year. But why do I have to apply for graduation? And why so early? After all, it’s just a ceremony and a piece of paper. What’s the big deal? Well, as you’ve probably figured out by now, earning a university degree is a big deal.
The graduation process is just that, a process. In order for you to get your degree, a lot of things need to happen. You will need to apply for graduation, and your major department has to review your TDA to make sure it shows the correct major classes and approve your grad check. The grad fee needs to be paid, and all of the degree requirements have to be met. The Graduation Unit in Admissions and Records will review your TDA to determine degree completion. With several thousands of degrees being awarded each year, that process takes time; that process begins with applying for graduation.
Applying for graduation a year in advance is very beneficial. You’ve heard the horror stories. A student thinks he’s graduating, but makes one tiny mistake, and bam. No degree. Applying in advance will give your major department time to review your TDA, and give you the time to receive the necessary advising to ensure that you graduate when you want to.
So, you’re eligible to apply for graduation. What’s the next step? First, determine your final semester and apply for graduation through your Student Center. If you’re not sure which semester to pick, talk to an advisor first. Next, pay your graduation fee ($115) at Student Financial Services (UH-180). It’s a one-time fee, so don’t be afraid to pay it early. Plus, paying the grad fee is necessary to become a Candidate for graduation (along with your major grad check advisor reviewing/approving your TDA), and there are many benefits to becoming a final Candidate: you will be able to register earlier for your final semester, get tickets to your assigned commencement ceremony, and get on the radar of the Graduation Unit so your TDA can be reviewed in advance. After that, get advising and review your TDA regularly. Seek general education and major advising to ensure that no degree requirements are forgotten. Lastly, enjoy your final semesters and complete all of your classes. CSUF wants you to help you graduate, so begin the graduation process as soon as possible, and seek the resources provided to help you move from student to proud alumnus.