The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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SJU’s Complete Commencement Checklist for College Seniors

This checklist will ensure a smooth ending to St. John’s University students’ four-year-long journey.
Torch Illustration / Megan Chapman

As graduation day approaches, college seniors find themselves on the cusp of a new chapter in life. Amidst the excitement and anticipation, it is essential to stay organized and ensure a smooth transition from college to the next phase of students’ professional life. Here is a comprehensive graduation checklist to help students navigate this pivotal moment with confidence.

Finalize Academic Requirements

The first step towards graduation is confirming the completion of all degree requirements — including University core classes, your specific college’s core and any required major and minor courses. Utilize tools like Degree Works as a starting point to check your progress. 

However, it is essential to go the extra mile by sending an email or meeting with your dean for professional confirmation. This is graduation, after all, and you want to ensure you are on the right track. Checking in with academic advisors is another helpful resource, as they can check on any necessary paperwork or final approvals for grade.

Take Senior Portraits

Capture this momentous occasion with senior portraits. Though they may seem trivial to some, these pictures are memorabilia to look back on in years to come. Senior pictures can be done with a group of friends, solo or both. 

Schedule a session with the University’s promoted photographer, look for flyers around campus promoting student photographers or even ask a friend with a good eye for pictures.

Order Diploma

Ordering your diploma is a crucial task, as you do not receive it while walking across the stage. Visit UIS (Student Tab > Graduation > Application for Diploma) to place your order. Remember to do this well in advance, as diplomas typically take four-to-six weeks to arrive.

You can choose to have it mailed to your home address or your dean’s office. In the latter case, there is no rush to pick it up, as it is University policy that diplomas are held at the dean’s office for up to five years.

Graduation Ceremony Preparation 

There are two mandatory tasks to complete before attending the graduation ceremony: registering to attend and purchasing your academic attire. The University requires both of these to participate in the commencement ceremony.

First, you must set a password on MarchingOrder; once you have completed the registration process, students then submit a pronunciation recording and provide the phonetics of their desired name. This will ensure that the recording of your name is accurate when crossing the stage on commencement day.

After you have registered, guest tickets can be collected through the same MarchingOrder site and your personalized Grad Pass. An SJU Grad Pass is scanned during check-in, line-up location during graduation and as students cross the stage for the reading of your pre-recorded name.

Each student receives five guest tickets, which can be accessed through email or printed. If they are printed, be sure that your guests present them at the ceremony to gain access to the Great Lawn. Though St. John’s does not provide extra tickets, fellow graduates may not be using all of theirs; if you need an extra ticket, ask other students.

The second requirement to attend graduation, the attire, is a tradition for graduates. The academic attire page allows students to navigate through degree, school and major to order the proper cap and gown. 

Familiarize yourself with the ceremony schedule. The Undergraduate-Level Commencement Exercises will take place on Sunday, May 19, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. on the Queens campus’ Great Lawn. 

Post-Grad Plans

Prepare for your post-graduation career by optimizing your LinkedIn profile and connecting with alumni. Making connections with fellow alumni allows access to mentorship and networking opportunities in your field. Stay engaged with University events and initiatives as an alumnus to continue growing professionally. 

If applicable, confirm acceptance to graduate school programs or when transitioning from a BA/MA to just an MA for 5-year program students. Secure any employment offers and negotiate job terms if necessary to kickstart this post-graduation journey.

Graduation is not just about crossing the stage — it is about embracing a new beginning with confidence and preparedness. By following this checklist, college students can ensure a clean transition into the next chapter of their lives.

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