Pomp and Circumstance: Preparing for Graduation

By Sara Pompeo

With the end of the semester quickly approaching, commencement — scheduled for Dec. 14 — is not far away, and students will soon be leaving the university behind in droves.

Jennifer Johnson, director of Career Services, said students should spend ample time preparing for graduation and not put it off until the last minute.

“The earlier students prepare for graduation, the better,” Johnson said. “I suggest in their sophomore or junior year because they will have less stress due to completing the process in steps, rather than all at once right before they graduate.”

Julie Felix, academic adviser and coordinator for College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, helps students within CLASS who are preparing to graduate, and is one of the advisers who looks through graduation evaluations.

“Students should request for a graduation evaluation one year [or two semesters] before the semester they plan to graduate,” Felix said. “They should then apply for graduation at the beginning of the semester they plan to graduate.”

This system applies to all six colleges on campus — with the exception of the Beeghly College of Education, which requires their students to begin the process a year and a half before graduation, rather than one year before. It also depends on the education route they are seeking.

After a student requests for a graduation evaluation, they will receive a confirmation email once grades are posted and after advisers evaluate their senior sheets. Once this process is complete, a student can meet with the chair of their department, and then will be able to apply for graduation.

“Students request a graduation evaluation in advance in order for them to have time to make any needed adjustments to their schedules, and to also make sure they are OK for graduation,” Felix said.

Though life after graduation may seem daunting, students do not have to go through it alone. Career Services in Jones Hall offers a variety of services that strive to assist students in preparing for their futures.

Career Services offers four main services: career planning, resume and cover letter assistance, interview preparation and job search assistance.

“Students should take advantage of all opportunities to network with employers, which is why services like LinkedIn and career fairs are so valuable,” Johnson said.

Kayleigh Perline, a fifth-year psychology and communications major, is preparing to graduate next semester. She said her graduation experience here at YSU has not exactly been easy, but very rewarding.

“Over the summer, before I started my final year, I studied for the GRE, which is expensive, and I visited graduate schools,” she said. “This semester I am working on my senior thesis and conducting my own research project. I’m also starting the application process for my graduate programs.”

After applying for graduate schools, Perline said she will then begin an interviewing process with different graduate programs, and then finally will choose which one best suits her of the ones she gets accepted into.

“My advice for students is to start preparing for graduation as soon as possible, because time flies by really quickly,” she said. “I wish I would have gotten involved in research projects earlier than I did. I would definitely recommend looking into programs early, so you get a sense of what they’re looking for.”