Graduate Now! (A Guide to Graduating)


Emma Smith

Graduates from the 2016 Spring Commencement celebrate.

By Grant Okazaki, Staff Writer

Each semester at Chaminade, undergraduates and graduates apply for graduation two semesters in advance. To some, this method may be beneficial to those who plan ahead. To walk in commencement on May 15, 2017, students had to file a graduation clearance by Sept. 9, 2016. 

“I was never informed we had to do the graduation clearance a year ahead, so I’m glad I made an appointment with my counselor last week ‘cause if I hadn’t no one would have let me know to do that,” Chaminade senior Stinie Lindbig said the first week of September. “Being from Norway, we have a completely different system so following the system [that’s] here doesn’t come naturally.”

To many, this is a cumbersome, wonky, trial of effort that discourages the final disembarkation from the vehicle called college.

In order to understand this process, I first started at the Records department and spoke to assistant registrar Sarah Yoshikawa.

“The clearance, it’s a form. We have it up front, as well as advisors advising and I believe it’s online for them to print,” Yoshikawa said. “They take the form to their advisor and go over all the main classes they need to complete their degree. The advisor signs it as well as if they have any additional major or minor. Once they get all the necessary approvals for their degree it comes to our office and the registrar reviews it to make sure everything is correct as well. So it goes through two offices to make sure that all remaining requirements are caught. Once he [Registrar] signs off on the clearance it’s emailed to the student’s Chaminade email. So a copy of the Chaminade clearance as well as the petition is emailed to the Chaminade email because that’s a secure email address. That’s how they usually get their petition and their clearance.”

On average, Chaminade receives about 500 clearances for Commencement: 500 for spring, 350 for December, according to registrar John Morris.

Once students are cleared to graduate, then they must file a petition, which tells Chaminade if they plan on walking in the ceremony. 

Chaminade's Commencement app allows students directions and information pertaining to graduation.
Grant Okazaki
Chaminade’s Commencement app allows students directions and information pertaining to graduation.

“When you submit your petition, now you’re basically going to graduate,”assistant to the provost for special projects Teresa Fujino said. “Petition tells us if you’re walking, if you’re not walking, where to send your diploma. It’s basically the thing that says, ‘Yes, I’m graduating.’ Your clearance is saying I’m planning to graduate, this is some more things to do.

The deadline to file the petition for December’s graduation is Sept. 16. The deadline to file the petition for May’s commencement is Feb. 10.

“After the deadline is done, it takes awhile for Records [office] to go through everybody’s record and see who’s getting honors,” Fujino said. “Then they’ll give me the list, and what we do at that point is we mail out a postcard, and send an email basically to tell everybody go to the website and at the website, these are the things you need to do.”

This process was not intended to be difficult according to Dean of Students, Allison Jerome. Students may have varying needs that is a case by case situation, but for most, it’s as simple as filling out paperwork.

“It’s not a very complicated process,” Jerome said. “It’s not meant to be, with some students it can get tricky. As long as you are keeping that communication open between yourself and your faculty advisor and/or the advising office, it should be smooth.”

“I would recommend that students [talk to their advisor] quite a bit,” Morris said. “Log into the portal and review the academic [plan]. The student knows when they’re going to graduate or they should know when they’re going to graduate. We can only help the student get to there, but you plan your own life, I don’t plan your life.”

The road to graduation:
**Sept. 9: Deadline to file graduation clearance for May 2017 ceremony
**Sept. 16: Deadline to file graduation petition for December 2016 ceremony
**Dec. 12: Fall commencement
**Feb. 10: Deadline to file graduation petition for May 2017 ceremony
**May 15: Spring commencement