The independent student news organization of Nicholls State University

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Graduates listen to guest speaker Dr. Kevin Kit Parker at Nicholls 99th Commencement Ceremony December 17, 2016.

Students allowed to walk at graduation before getting a degree

January 26, 2017

Walking across the stage on Saturday, Dec. 17 of last year was an honor for students at Nicholls Fall commencement. However, some of these students did so without having actually completed their degrees.

This has become a common practice among many college students in the recent years. At Nicholls State University, a major contender to this confusion is the final grade due date on Dec. 13, which was only five days prior to the ceremony.

The official numbers provided by Nicholls State University Registrar, Kelly Rodrigue, indicate that 670 degrees were awarded to undergraduate and graduate students who completed their curricular activities either during the summer or fall semesters of 2016.

Nonetheless, not every student that graduates physically walks in the ceremony and not every student that walked in fact graduated. Rodrigue informed that 731 applications for graduation were submitted during the summer and fall semesters.

From that total, 61 applications were withdrawn, meaning that these students did not meet the requirements to obtain their degrees at the end of the semester.
In regard to those numbers, Rodrigue said, “it is possible a summer withdrawal graduated in the fall.”

Reasons for incompletion of curriculum varied, however, some students had an insufficient grade in at least one course during the semester. These students have to return to Nicholls to retake these courses in order to be considered eligible for graduation. According to the Nicholls website, signing the proper forms makes you an official graduation candidate. Neither of these conditions, however, means that you are graduating.

According to Nicholls Commencement Ceremony Guidelines and Instructions, the requirements for participation in graduation ceremony does not include the completion of all the coursework required to achieving a degree.

It reads, “to be eligible to walk in the graduation procession students must have applied for graduation by the stated deadline date with the intent to have met all graduation requirements by the end of the term. Deans will have authority to grant exceptions to this requirement, but this exception should be granted rarely and for only unusual circumstances as determined by the dean.”

There is no official record, however, some students who walked the stage still opted to do so even though they were shy of earning their degrees.

This is possible because participation on the ceremony is merely a formal celebration. The actual diplomas are in fact mailed to each student’s address post graduation ceremony. The respective dean’s office for each college runs a degree audit on the students to check if the requirements for completion of their degrees are met, including the final grades for the classes the student took during their last semester.

“Nobody is officially a graduate, even though the ceremony takes place, because there are audits that have to be done on each and every student from the dean’s office,” Kristie Ayo, administrative coordinator at the office of Records and Registration, said. “That list doesn’t come to the records office until a few days after the ceremony and then your degree will be posted online. So if you walk or not does not mean you physically graduated, it’s just a ceremony.”

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