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Advising Center - Course Registration

This guide provides information about academic advising and course registration.

Preparing for Graduation

We often use the terms "graduation" and "commencement" interchangeably, but they actually mean very different things.   

  • Graduation refers to the official completion of all degree requirements as outlined in the College Catalog. When a student formally graduates, their student status changes to "Graduate," and their transcript will reflect the completion of their degree, their status as a graduate, and their graduation date. Students will then receive their diploma in the mail in 4-6 weeks. (Students who owe a balance to the college will not receive a diploma until their account is cleared. Contact the Business Office if you have questions about this.) 
  • Commencement refers to the ceremony that celebrates the completion (or near completion) of degree requirements.  (See the Commencement website for more information.)


Can you graduate without attending commencement?

Yes! Commencement is great opportunity to celebrate your achievements with friends and family as well as faculty and staff, but you are not required to participate in Commencement.


Can you walk in commencement and not graduate?

Yes.  Participating in Commencement does not mean that you have graduated.  Since some students are eligible to participate as they are completing their final classes, they may feel that they have finished their degree because they participated in Commencement.  Sometimes that can cause frustration if a student has participated in Commencement but then does not fulfill their remaining requirements for graduation as expected.  If you are still completing your degree requirements when you participate in Commencement, it's important that you remain focused on graduating and use the positivity from the Commencement ceremony as an extra incentive to finish your degree. 


In order to help you prepare for graduation, follow these keys to success:


Review your academic record:

  • Review your degree matrix/academic roadmap/transfer evaluation to ensure that you have successfully completed all degree requirements, including your culminating experience
  • Ensure that you have achieved the minimum GPA to graduate as specified in the College Catalog

Questions about any of this? Contact your advisor.


Fill out the Central Penn forms:

  • Graduation Application: ALL students should complete the Graduation application, regardless of whether or not they are participating in Commencement. This application allows you to confirm your mailing address for your diploma, confirm how you want your name to appear on your diploma, and update any relevant employment information with Career Services.
  • Commencement Application: Students planning to participate in Commencement must complete the Commencement Application at least two months in advance.

Both documents are available on the Student Portal under My Forms > Frequent Forms.


Update your professional information:
As you finish your degree, this is a great time to ensure that your resume and cover letter are updated with your degree information as well as anything else that has changed! You may want to include your internship experience if you completed an internship and add any graduation honors as applicable. If you use a professional social media account like LinkedIn, you may want to update this as well. Contact Career Services for help!


Become a member of the Alumni Association:
While we are excited to see you graduate, we are sad to see you go! Keep in touch with the College, your peers, and your professors by joining the Alumni Association.