It has come to the final stretch for seniors and their college careers, but there’s much preparation left to make sure all the paperwork is ready for graduation. It can be scary and hard at times, but here are 10 steps that will help the graduation journey. 


1. Communicate with Adviser. “To prepare for graduation, seniors should make sure everything is filed properly,“ Mariah Naylor, graduating senior of Lufkin, advises. “If they are unsure of what to do, they should contact their advisers early to make sure all of the paperwork is done.” Academic Adviser Belinda Vanglahn also advises students to not be afraid to tell advisers they want to change majors. They will not get mad, and they can help direct them to the right classes to take. 

2. File for graduation one or two semesters ahead of the graduation date.  The Graduation Department in the Office of the Registrar (Rusk Building) provides application forms. 

May commencement—apply between Sept. 15 and Nov. 15 of prior year. 

August Commencement—apply between Jan. 2 and March 2.

December Commencement—apply between April 1 and June 1. 

3. Double check that all requirements have been met. With all the excitement of planning for graduation, students need to remember to focus on classes. 

4. Sign degree audit.Before one can officially be a graduate of SFA, he/she has to sign the famous pink paper that says everything has been completed for graduation. Students usually can sign their degree audits within their departments. 

5. Check for best prices for caps and gowns. While many students may get overwhelmed ordering graduation supplies, they should take a deep breath and bargain shop for the best prices. Seniors do not have to be forced to buy items at the closest bookstore or through websites that repetitively send e-mails. There are many bookstores in town, so shop around. 

6. Have a resume. Career Services, on the third floor of the Rusk Building, offers resume writing help for students. David Gehrels, assistant director of career services at SFA, said 35 to 40 percent of college graduates will not find a job upon graduation; for those that do one in three will be underemployed.  

“I feel that the resume is a very important document to have perfected, and the skills and experience listed on this document should be presented in a way as to give students the edge they need to push them to that 60 percent of successfully employed graduates,” he said. 

7. Practice interviews for jobs. Practice makes perfect. Career services offers mock interviews to students wanting extra practice before the real deal happens. Alison Green, writer for, has compiled a list of the 10 most common job interview questions. 

“The more you practice, the better you’ll get and the more comfortable you’ll feel,” Green said in her article. 

8. Ask for help. There’s no use in stressing over matters one does not understand when a simple question will put one out of misery. Ask a friend, professor, advisor, or the registrar faculty. If they do not know the answer, they can point one in the right direction. 

9. Ask for recommendations if going to grad school. In an article titled “Obtaining Letters of Recommendation,” Cornell University advisers suggest students “ask for letters of recommendation from instructors who have evaluated your work and in whose courses you have done well.”    Don’t be shy to ask; more times than not, professors would be happy to write recommendations for a student. 

10. Be positive. This is the end of all those long hours and sleepy mornings. Enjoying one’s last semester should be a requirement at all times. 

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