Let the Grad Plans Begin
April's a big month at HSU. The rain is starting to calm down, the sun is starting to shine again, students are refreshed after Spring Break—and graduation is just around the corner.
I spoke with Mary Kay Hartman, our Commencement coordinator, and Clint Rebik, associate registrar, for tips on how you and your student can best prepare for graduation, even if you've got a few semesters left to go.
A Look At Logistics
If you're coming to HSU to cheer on your grad at Commencement, now's the time to look at logistics. "It's very important to make reservations in advance," Hartman says. "Booking ahead for transportation, lodging, even dinner reservations, can really reduce stress, help save money, and keep everyone in the celebratory mood."
And don't let rain dampen your day. There's a saying around campus: "If you don't like the weather in Humboldt, wait 15 minutes." Commencement will be held outside in Redwood Bowl, whatever the weather, so come prepared for rain or shine. Most years, the weather is misty in the morning and clears by noon.
The Perfect Grad Gift
Just because your student is leaving campus, it doesn't mean he or she can't stay connected to HSU. A membership to the Humboldt Alumni Association can be the perfect gift for your grad.
If your student purchases his or her cap and gown from the HSU Bookstore, membership is included. Those who get their caps and gowns otherwise can find membership information at alumni.humboldt.edu. New grads receive a $15 discount.
As a member of the alumni association, your student will receive Humboldt magazine and alumni newsletter. He or she will get access to the HSU alumni online community, CSU Library privileges and our Career Network services.
Through the alumni association, your recent grad can also find alumni events in his or her area, get consumer discounts, qualify for special insurance rates and more.
You can also claim a "Slice of Humboldt" to honor your grad's achievement with an engraved brick. Each brick can be engraved with a name, major or sport, graduation year, or personal message related to Humboldt State. These bricks will become a permanent part of the University's picturesque landscape in the new plaza overlooking Redwood Bowl where Commencement is held.
Tips to Get to Graduation
It never hurts to be proactive when it comes to graduation. Even if he or she has a few semesters left to go, there are a few things your student can do to get the ball rolling, and keep it going smoothly all the way to Commencement.
Applying for graduation is the most important thing your student can do to prepare. Once he or she has earned about 75 units, encourage your student to submit an application, even if he or she isn't entirely sure when his or her last semester will be.
"It's common for students to be reluctant to apply for graduation until they feel sure of their graduation date," Rebik says. "But our ultimate goal is to give the best advising we can." Applying early lets the Registrar's Office process the degree check with plenty of time for students to make any needed changes. "If we find that a student needs another class to graduate, for instance, we'd like to give enough time for the student to add it to his or her schedule, rather than have to enroll in another term for just one class to finish his or her degree."
There's no harm, Rebik says, in applying a little early. Even if your student decides to change his or her graduation date after applying, there's no penalty. But the consequences of failing to apply on time could be a big hassle.
For more information, visit the Registrar's website.
Finally, it can be tempting for students to take it a little too easy in the final stretch of their college careers. If your student is just a semester or two away from graduating, you might want to talk to him or her about senioritis. With the end in sight, spending a sunny weekend finishing a paper might seem like a wasted effort. But when one class can throw off your student's graduation plans, a little encouragement could be the thing that helps your student power through.
Congratulations to all parents and family of the class of 2012. We'll see you at Commencement next month!