With Spring Break over, there are only about six weeks left for graduating students to tie up all loose ends before May 12. Here are some important things you need to keep in mind to make sure you get your diploma on time.
The first thing you should do is get a copy of your Degree Audit Report and review it with your academic adviser in order to make sure there are no unexpected surprises that could keep you here for another semester.
“The last-minute thing I’m concerned with is if students have substitutions or petitions they submitted to their college, that they double-check and see if they are completed,” Tammy Murphy, assistant registrar, said. “They can go and run a new DARS report in our office. It shows if there are any incomplete areas. We encourage students to do that often. Run the DARS report to see where you stand because that’s basically what we’re looking at.”
Confident that you’re going to graduate, make sure you RSVP for the university graduation ceremony as well as the one for your college. The university RSVP deadline is April 1, and each of the colleges has its own deadlines that you’ll not want to miss.
If you missed the March 17 deadline to purchase your cap and gown, there is still hope. The university bookstore still has a limited supply of caps and gowns in some sizes but will order no more after April 12.
“I would advise them to come in as soon as possible,” said Diane Gibson, assistant buyer for the UT bookstore. “They have to be in their full regalia to participate in any of the ceremonies. [That’s] my understanding.”
A cap and gown will set you back $18. Graduates that are required to rent a hood and have not already done so will have to pay a $10 late fee on top of the rental fee. More information is available through the bookstore. If you are a member of one or more honors societies, be sure to order the honors medallions, ribbons and honor cords you wish to wear during the ceremony. These are available from the honors societies and not the university.
Students who have received student loans or Federal Perkins loans must complete a student loan exit interview. This is a federal requirement and diplomas will be withheld until this has been completed. The deadline to complete these interviews is April 28. For Stafford Loan recipients, contact Financial Aid at 974-3131. For other loans, contact the Student Loan Department at 974-4497.
Students with outstanding financial balances to the university will need to take care of them before May 12. The university can withhold diplomas and transcripts until financial obligations are met.
The campus bookstore has a variety of graduation supplies that may be of interest to you, including custom seal invitations, announcement cards and class rings. A representative from Balfour will be at the bookstore April 10-13 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to take orders. They will be offering price specials. Jostens rings can be ordered at any time through the bookstore.
The General Commencement Ceremony is May 12 at 8:30 a.m. in Thompson-Boling Arena. Students must be in caps and gowns and should be seated by 8 a.m. Gov. Phil Bredesen will be the commencement ceremony speaker. Seating is limited, so students that are inviting guests should have them arrive early in order to get a seat. Each college has its own ceremony at various times and locations, so be sure you know when and where you need to be to participate.
Once you’ve graduated, the last thing to do is receive your diploma. Diplomas will be available for pick-up from the Registrar’s office, temporarily located in Hoskins Library.
“This is very, very important. [Diplomas are mailed] to the permanent address that is listed through the university,” Murphy explains. “We encourage the students to go to CPO to make sure their addresses are correct, to ensure that they get their diplomas.”
More information on graduation requirements and commencement information can be found on the university registrar’s graduation Web site at http://registrar.utk.edu/graduation.shtml or by calling 974-2101.