Are you ready to graduate college? (part 1)

By Lwilliams

No more pencils. No more books. College graduation is just around the corner, and you’re ready to put all that learning to use. Whether you have big plans for cubicle life, grad school, world travel, or charity work, you first need to get through graduation. To help, we’ve put together this handy checklist so you don’t miss a thing.

1. Apply for graduation

it's finally here, courtesy of Reddit
It's finally here. Courtesy of Reddit.

This may go without saying, but you need to let your college know that you’re ready to graduate. Graduation is not automatic. With many students pursuing a double major, or changing their mind midway through a degree, you need to fill out an application for graduation when you’re ready to get that diploma. Look on your college’s website or visit the registrar’s office for information on deadlines and what you’ll need to apply.

2. Have a degree audit

If only Stefon could deliver the news of your degree audit, courtesy of Tumblr
If only Stefon could deliver the news of your degree audit. Courtesy of Tumblr.

Are you sure you have everything needed in order to get a bachelor’s degree? It’s not uncommon for colleges to change their requirements for a degree program, but you have the right to graduate based on the classes and credits required when you first enrolled. Make sure you’ve met all your degree requirements, and clear up any mistakes that might be on your transcripts, such as an incomplete or missing grades.

3. Order your cap and gown

grad swaggy, courtesy of
Grad swaggy. Courtesy of

If you think those funny-looking hats and oversized sheen gowns look silly, imagine how crazy you’ll look if you’re the only one out there without them. Be sure to order your cap and gown in time for your college’s commencement ceremony so you, too, can don the flat hat on grad day. (Thinking about decorating your cap? We found some pretty good ideas here.) Once the commencement ceremony is over, don’t forget to return your cap and gown, if required. They can be costly!

4. Sort out your financial aid and loans

maybe new rules to live by after graduation, courtesy of Tumblr
Maybe new rules to live by after graduation. Courtesy of Tumblr.

If you took out any student loans, especially federal, you'll need to complete a loan exit interview. Failing to do so could prevent you from graduating. Check with your financial aid office to see what’s required, or you can visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website for more information.

5. Make sure you don’t have any additional charges before you check out

Just make sure you return those books, Belle. Courtesy of
Just make sure you return those books, Belle. Courtesy of

Even though that library fee is only a dime a day, don’t let it be the reason you don’t get a diploma. Stop by the cashier’s office or student services to make sure you don’t have holds from past due books or a parking ticket you forgot to pay. While you’re there, make sure your contact information is up to date so your diploma is sent to the right place.

6. Visit the college career center

visit the career center because jobs don't grow on jobbies. Courtesy of
Visit the career center ... because jobs don't grow on jobies. Courtesy of

If you haven’t done so already, check out your college’s career center. It will often have great resources to help you with resumes, cover letters, portfolios, and even interview tips. If nothing else, at least check into getting login information for the job database to use after graduation. Sometimes, it’s not about what you know, but who you know. Growing your network will definitely come in handy after the big grad day.

Stay tuned

Now that we've got the big guns checked, stay tuned for some final tips to send you off with a bang.