College Graduation To-Do List: What Every Senior Needs to Know


College Graduation To-Do List: What Every Senior Needs to Know

College Graduation Like most college seniors, you are probably looking ahead to graduation day with mixed emotions; part of you is overflowing with pride, while the other part may be terrified about the future. Take comfort that you are not alone. Other students are stressing over what they will do after graduation and lamenting over saying good-bye to close friends. You’ve spent the last four years or more figuring out who you are and now it’s time to spread your wings and fly! But, before you can start your new life, you need to make it to graduation. Follow these simple steps to ensure you don’t miss participating in one of the most memorable moments of your life.


  1. Verify You Are Eligible: Meet with your advisor to make sure you have met all the necessary courses and credits to graduate. You would be surprised to know how many students don’t realize there has been a change in their degree requirements and have missing credits.

  2. Graduation Application Deadline: You cannot simply show up on graduation day unannounced. Colleges set a deadline date for seniors to apply to participate in this event, so be sure to check your college website or student service center for information on when and how to apply.

  3. Order Cap & Gown: Many colleges offer online and in-person services for caps and gowns. Be sure to order early to ensure you get the right size. If you wait too long, you may end up wearing a gown that does not fit, which could lead to some interesting pictures.

  4. Check Ticket Availability: This should be done before you order announcements, as many schools limit the number of family members and guests per student. Nothing is worse than sending out announcements and not having enough tickets for everyone. Once you confirm the number available, you can order your announcements and decide who will be invited to attend.

  5. Update Your Contact Information: You won’t receive your actual diploma at the ceremony; it’s typically mailed 8-10 weeks after you graduate. Be sure you have the correct address on file, so yours is not returned to the school.

  6. Complete Your Loan Exit Interview: If you took out any federal student loans, you will need to complete the loan exit interview. If you fail to do so, your school may withhold your transcript, diploma, and other documentation until it is completed.

  7. Review Graduation Guidelines: Check to see if your college prohibits decorating your cap or gown before adding any extras to your attire.  Be sure to review the dress code too, so you won't be banned from participating because you have violated the school's policies.

Once you have completed the necessary tasks to ensure you are included in the graduation ceremony, it’s time to get ready for the next step – life outside the campus. This includes deciding where you will live after graduation and making arrangements to move. You should also start your job search process now. Set up interviews and send out your resume to all potential employers. If you wait until after graduation, you may find yourself with a place to live but no income to pay for rent or other living expenses. Planning now for your future is the best way to ensure you start out on the right foot. Oh, and don’t forget to have a little fun – you’ve earned it!