Graduation Survival Guide

November 5, 2018 by Vicki Stanley

Working towards getting your undergraduate degree and not sure what you need to do to graduate? Don’t fear! Here for your convenience is the Graduation Survival Guide! As a first-generation college student and as someone who had no idea what they were doing while applying to graduate, I have created a guide to help you identify and navigate the steps and channels you may need to go through to graduate. Hopefully this guide will help you avoid some stressful hiccups you may come across on your journey towards graduating. Remember that everyone’s situation is different, so if you run into problems that weren’t addressed here, reach out to your academic advisor, a professor, or another campus resource to help you navigate your way through graduating. Good luck, Rebels!

Step 1: Figure out when you are graduating.

Everyone lives and goes through school differently, so when you begin your undergraduate career, figure out what type of course load you can take. Also consider how long it will take you to graduate based on the classes you need. Keep in mind that unexpected major life events occur, which can change your anticipated graduation date, and that’s okay. You can always re-adjust your graduation game plan.

Step 2: Meet with your academic advisor.

Academic advisors are there for you throughout your undergraduate career to give you advice, help you enroll in the classes you need to graduate, and answer any questions you may have along the way. Meeting with your advisor the semester before and the semester you graduate is crucial. They will give you information about graduation, tell you where to apply for graduation, confirm if you’ve completed all the coursework necessary to graduate, inform you about the graduation fee that will be added to your tuition once you apply to graduate, and tell you when the graduation ceremony will take place. They are there to help you, so if you have more questions about graduation, please ask them!

Step 3: Apply to graduate.

Applying to graduate is an easy process that takes a maximum of three minutes through MyUNLV, but not everyone knows when to apply. I would recommend applying the semester before you graduate. If you are graduating during the Summer or Fall semester and do not apply to graduate before that semester, you may experience issues receiving financial aid during your final semester. I found this out the hard way and almost had to postpone graduating. If you are receiving financial aid and will only need one semester’s worth of financial aid for your final semester: 1) apply to graduate before your final semester, 2) visit UNLV’s Financial Aid webpage and go to Forms, 3) find, print, and fill out the Loan Credit Proration Form, and 4) bring it to the Financial Aid Office on the second floor of SSC-A.

Step 4: Order and pick-up your cap and gown.

After applying for graduation, purchasing a cap and gown for the ceremony had completely slipped my mind. While I’m sure you can outsource to purchase or rent a cap and gown, the UNLV Bookstore will hold a Grad Fair a month or so before graduation where you can purchase or rent them. Other graduation supplies can be outsourced or ordered from the Rebel bookstore as well.


Step 5: Graduate!

If all your ducks are in a row, you should be all set to graduate! You can choose or refuse to walk at the graduation ceremony. If you choose to walk, show up early to the ceremony and remember that you don’t have to purchase tickets for your friends and family, so feel free to invite as many people as you’d like. If you refuse to walk, that’s also okay too, just skip Step 4. In either case, your diploma will be mailed to you. Most importantly, pat yourself on the back and be proud of yourself! You worked hard to get your degree, so congratulate yourself and celebrate!