The Road to Graduation

By Laura McDonough

The graduation process isn’t always made clear. Some students are unaware they need to submit and complete a senior evaluation with their department chair before they can apply for graduation.

Amy Crawford, associate professor and acting chair of communication, said it is always best to touch base with your department chair and the advisor in the dean’s office.

She said when students reach approximately 83 and 93 credit hours completed, with about two semesters away from the expected graduation date, they should make an appointment for a senior evaluation.

To apply for the evaluation, students should go into the YSU Portal, go to student records and fill out a graduation evaluation request. This is not applying for graduation, it’s to schedule a meeting to begin the graduation process.

“This is about one year before graduation. That’s not applying for graduation, that’s just clearing the first step to make sure they’re okay to apply to graduate,” Crawford said.  “Then typically what the chair will do is sit down and look at six different things.”

For Bachelor of Arts degrees such as communication, Crawford looks at general education requirements, language requirements, major, minor, 48 upper division hours at the 3700 level or above and a minimum of 120 credit hours.

“Once we’re finished, that’s essentially the chair saying, ‘here is your path to graduation,’” Crawford said. “Then we can take a look at those next two semesters and make sure [the classes a student needs to graduate] are going to be offered.”

She said at that point it is easy to reach out to anyone for clarification, ask questions and look at how any transferred classes while it’s early enough to detect and solve problems that may prevent a student from graduating.

“Once that goes through, and this varies based on college, that will then begin the process of getting permission to apply to graduate,” Crawford said.

The graduation evaluation request is then turned over to the dean’s office.

The online graduation evaluation request initiates a record of the student who is then put on a list for the graduating semester which allows the dean’s office to begin a senior sheet.

Shannon Reesh, an academic advisor for College of Creative Arts and Communication, oversees the senior sheets.

It lists all the courses that a student has, like a transcript. That information will be reviewed and approved by the chair of the department for degree verification.

Greg Moring, associate dean of CCAC, said student information is typically held in individual departments, so his office doesn’t see it.

“Once we start working on the senior sheet, we then call and contact the chair of the appropriate department and verify the student has completed the evaluation,” Moring said. “According to the chairperson, they are on track to graduate.”

A senior sheet shows everything a student has completed up to that date, but does not show courses a student may have registered for in the following semester.

“Really, it’s verification by the chair that indeed this student has done their evaluation that also triggers what is called a ‘grad-okay’ process, which we initiate from our end,” Moring said.

A “grad-okay” is a status that enables a student to apply for graduation.

“Once we [do this process] an email is automatically sent to the student to say ‘congratulations, you can go ahead and apply.’ If we don’t do that, then the student does not have the ability to apply for graduation,” Moring said.

A “grad-okay” is not granted too far in advance because they have to be certain a student met with an advisor in the department, completed the evaluation and is considered on track to graduate on time.

The information is then sent to the Office of Records.

Julie Felix, associate director of records, said her office awards the degree once the college decides the student is okay to graduate and submits the graduation evaluation to the office after final grades.

The Jambar spoke with the Communications Department and the Dean of CCAC for this article. Students should check with their department, as some requirements or procedures may differ.