Information for Graduating Students

COUNTDOWN TO GRADUATION DAY: May 10, 2014

Graduation speaker: Dr. Paul Jones, Interim President, Darton State College

We are pleased by your commitment to your education and academic success, and we are looking forward to celebrating your accomplishments at 11:00 a.m., May 10, 2014 in the Storm Dome. While you are studying to finish your final classes, also make sure you’ve taken care of the following details so your graduation day is as memorable and special as you’ve always imagined it would be.

Attention Graduate Students: As a special celebration to your success, the Graduate Hooding Ceremony will be held at 9:00 a.m., May 10, 2014 in Jackson Hall

Are you going to graduate?

Have you filed your graduation application and paid the fee? http://gsw.edu/Assets/AcademicResources/StudentForms/GraduationApplication.pdf

Not sure if you paid your graduation fee? Check on RAIN. Go to your student account summary. The graduation fee code is GRAF.  If your balance for GRAF is 0, you are good to go!  If you don’t see GRAF, it has not been paid, and you need to get to Student Accounts and pay. Please do not send money to the Registrar, only student accounts can take your money, (legally anyway). 

Are you in process of completing all remaining requirements? Only students who have successfully met all graduation requirements are allowed to walk in commencement exercises. If you applied by the deadline, you should have received a degree audit from Registrar’s Office indicating all outstanding requirements.  Make sure you are registered for all remaining requirements and don’t forget to study.

What if I don’t have my degree audit? If you have not received your degree audit, make sure your graduation application has been submitted.  Back to step one above: your first stop is your advisor. If your graduation date has changed, contact the Registrar’s Office immediately (229-928-1331).

What if I cannot attend to graduation? We are going to miss you! Your diploma will be mailed to you at the address on file in RAIN, so be sure it is correct (go on, check right now!). If your address differs from the one listed in RAIN or will change prior to graduation, please notify Lois Oliver, Assistant Registrar, immediately at lois.oliver@gsw.edu and complete a Change of Address form, There is a $10.00 mailing fee, so you might as well just come pick up your diploma in person and enjoy the celebration!

What do you need to do before the big day?

Order your regalia for the big day. Deadline to order April 14, 2014.  (Sometimes we cut you some slack on deadlines, but this one is not in our control, and its firm, so please order early!) If you plan to walk across the stage and receive your diploma, you need regalia. The color of your tassel and hood (for master’s) represents your degree, so be sure to fill in the information correctly. Caps and gowns are only available by ordering online. To be certain you have the right regalia, please place your order at: www.herffjones.com/college/graduation.

Have you taken care of all your holds and outstanding fees? Do not let that parking ticket or library fine keep you from getting your diploma on graduation day!  Students with outstanding balances will not get a diploma in that nice leather folder on graduation day. All fees must be paid by May 3, 2014; otherwise, you’ll have to come back to campus to pay your balance and pick up your diploma.

Help us help you!  If any you need any physical accommodations for the ceremony, please contact Lois Oliver lois.oliver@gsw.edu.

Do you need graduation swag? Personalized graduation announcements and other memorabilia can be ordered online from Herff Jones. Orders for announcements or accessories may be charged to credit card or debit card and will be delivered directly to the address you provide. Order here: www.herffjones.com/college/graduation. 

Diploma frames are also available online.

How are we going to celebrate your achievement?

New for 2014 Spring Graduates!

Special Graduation and Honors Convocation will be held on Friday, May 2, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in Jackson Hall with a reception to follow in the Private Dining Room. All seniors will be recognized and special honors for students and faculty will be recognized.  Family and friends are invited to join you in celebrating your accomplishments.  We are planning a few surprises, so don’t miss this celebration!

What can you expect on graduation day?

There will be no rehearsal for graduation, so how will you know what to do?
In order to ensure that you are in the correct place and that you have all necessary instructions, please report to the Intramural Gym located in the Student Success Center no later than 10:00 a.m. on May 10. It may sound early, but your friends and family will need to be there that early to get a seat anyway, so just plan to be there.

Will I get my diploma at commencement?
Yes, AFTER the ceremony, provided you have finished all requirements and have no holds or fees due. So be sure to check your RAIN account before graduation and make sure you have no holds or fees.  When you cross the stage, you will be given a diploma sleeve.  At the end of the ceremony, seniors will be led back into the intramural gym where the Registrar’s Office will have all the official diplomas.  You will need to provide a picture ID in order to pick up your diploma, so please tuck your ID into your pocket before the ceremony.  You should not carry any other items with you, except a picture ID. 

What should I bring with me? 
Be sure to have your cap and gown with you when you arrive (yes, there have been students who forgot to bring their cap and gown!).  The only item you should have with you is a picture ID so you can pick up your diploma after the ceremony. Do not bring anything else with you– no purse, coat, cell phone, or camera, etc. The Intramural Gym will not be secure after you leave and you are not permitted to bring any items with you into the ceremony. 

Make sure you are dressed appropriately. 
Graduates must wear cap and gown.  To make sure you have the right regalia please order from www.herffjones.com/college/graduation. Hoods for Master’s and Specialist degree are included in your order. All candidates wear the tassel on the left side for the ceremony.  Do not attach anything to your cap. You will not be allowed to march if your cap has anything on it. No stoles or cords can be worn unless from an organization that has received prior permission from the GSW Graduation Committee, such as honor societies. (See list of approved societies on the sidebar tab of this page, and contact your advisor for information on receiving your cord or stole.)  

How about under that cap and gown?
Women can wear neutral or dark hose and dark shoes with dresses and skirts, or dark pants, with dark socks and shoes. Nothing is to be worn high on the neck, nor should you wear a collar overlapping the robe. Any jewelry should be simple and small, if worn at all.  Men are to wear white shirts, ties, dark slacks, dark socks and dark shoes. Coats are optional. 

You many not carry any items with you into the ceremony, except a picture ID which should be placed in a pocket or otherwise secured under your gown. No books, flowers, purses, cell phones, cameras or programs should be carried into the ceremony. A program will be placed in your chair and you will be given card indicating your name and degree when you line up. You will hand this card to the name reader right before you cross the stage, so don’t lose your card.  And remember to have a picture ID with you to get your diploma after the ceremony.

What should I tell my family and friends?

The doors to the Convocation Hall will close at 10:55 a.m. sharp!
There will be plenty of seating for guests attending the graduation ceremony and tickets are not needed, but we do recommend family arrive early for the best seating. Late entry is not allowed as it will disrupt the procession of students and faculty. Late comers will be directed to a room where they can watch the ceremony streaming live, but they cannot enter the Convocation Hall. Remember that there will be lots of people on campus, so guests will need to allow time to park and walk to the Convocation Hall, so plan accordingly. It is the one day of the year you can expect a traffic jam in Americus!

Please remind family and friends about expectations for celebrating your achievement.  You have worked hard to achieve your goal and every student who walks across the stage on graduation day deserves celebration.  While we welcome well-deserved applause, loud cheers and noisemakers are not appropriate.  These disruptions often drowned out the names of other graduates walking across the stage, and every GSW graduate deserves to hear his or her name read as that prized degree is awarded.  Please let your family and friends know that loud cheers and noisemakers are not allowed, and anyone disrupting the ceremony may be asked to leave.  We promise, after every student has crossed the stage, we will all cheer!

Help your family and friends plan for parking.  Police Officers will be assisting with parking. Plan to enter the Convocation Hall (Storm Dome) from the North Parking Lot.  If you have family members who need accommodations, they can be dropped off at the North Parking Lot doors.  Handicapped parking is available in the North Lot (between the Student Success Center and the baseball field).  There is also parking available in the lots by the Business, History and Political Science Building, the Education Center, the Library, and Southwestern Oaks.  Shuttles will run between these buildings and the Storm Dome.

Still have questions?

I’ll be glad to answer your questions.  Contact Dr. Tate, Associate Vice President of Academic Affair at Helen.tate@gsw.edu.

Now, get back to the books because if you don’t successfully pass all your requirements, you won’t be walking in May!