US College Graduation: How To Apply

University education is a journey, but at some point in the future graduation day will arrive. You will need to be well prepared for this day and well in advance.  

A good suggestion is to keep a  semester and an academic year calendar. This can be done on paper, using a real calendar, a word document etc.

Even if you are an incoming freshman it is wise to start looking ahead to senior year. Most schools will require “check points” to keep you on target to graduation. 

The “check points” can be known by many different names such as: grad check, academic review, course review etc.

As you progress along in your program you will usually meet with a specific program adviser. It is useful to note that for various reasons your program may change while you are enrolled.  Usually, there isn’t too much variation when this happens.  

Maybe a course is added, a course number changed, some new requirements, and so on. If this does happen during your program you may need to declare which program you would like to follow.  

This change will be final and you will not be able to go back and change it.  

The change in the academic program isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is important to be aware that it could possibly happen. So, if you flash forward to your final year in university you will have a few semesters to complete.

This is a time to keep close contact with your academic adviser and the published academic calendar. The academic calendar will tell you the final day you can apply for graduation based on your final semester. 

There is usually a solid date and exceptions are rare. Once the paperwork is completed and approved you are ready to graduate.

You are not required to attend a graduation ceremony, but it is a nice pause after your course work to reflect on your time at university.

If you do plan to participate in the graduation ceremony there is typically also a deadline to confirm it. This will also be on the academic calendar or be given to you when your graduation has been approved. 

Further information

For more tips and advice on applying to college, please see: