Early graduation, earlier deadlines



Seniors graduating in December will walk the stage two days before final grades are due.

First semester finals can cause problems for early graduates because there is less time to record grades before commencement. 

Finals are scheduled from Dec. 15 through Dec. 20. Grades are due in registration and records by 10 a.m. on Dec. 23. 

However, seniors graduating at the end of this semester must have their grades recorded before commencement, which means their professors have a smaller window of time.

This raised concerns with professors and students alike.

Some professors have chosen to solve the problem by having these seniors take their finals before the rest of the class, while other professors have given them alternate assignments.

Senior Rebekah Mackey, an arts administration major and business law minor, will graduate Dec. 21 and said she is not concerned with the date.

“Luckily, my professors have been very upfront with everything,” she said. “I have, surprisingly, a lot of take home finals and papers that I’m doing.”

Registrar Michele Neary said, previously, professors have been told they need to turn the grades in early for graduating students. 

“What we have done in years past that has worked very well is reached out to all the instructors who have graduating seniors in their class and we tell them we need the grades for the graduating seniors on Thursday,” Neary said. “So we can finalize everything that needs to be done during the rest of the day on Thursday and Friday before commencement.”

If a graduating senior takes a final Thursday or Friday, the registrar said she recommends the professor estimates how the student will do. That estimated grade will be temporarily entered into the records and printed on the diploma so the student can receive a diploma at commencement. 

Once the professor has the student’s actual grade, it is entered into the records and a new diploma with correct information is given to the student. 

Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh, an associate communications professor, has two students graduating early in her international communication class. This affected how the entire class will take their finals.

“For this class, students have to write a final paper, not a final exam,” she said. “They can turn the paper in earlier, so that I can finalize their grades ahead of time.”

Trey Meehan, a strategic communication major who will graduate in December, is taking three classes that require him to complete a group project by the end of the semester.

“When you get into higher level (classes), at least in my major, it is all group projects. It is all applying,” Meehan said. “It’s like, ‘Let’s take this information that you have learned as you worked your way up and then apply it at the end.’”