Steps to take before walking at Chatham graduation

Three-part series about preparing for commencement


Students walk toward the Athletic and Fitness Center for December 2022 commencement. Photo Credit: Chatham University

Alice Crow

College doesn’t last forever. Some students may read this statement with a sigh of relief, while others may be struck with complete dread. However you feel about this fact, almost all students hope their college experience ends in graduating.  

Whether you are completing your undergraduate degree in a couple months or a couple years, there will come a time when you are thrust into the real world. Preparing for this transition is not something students should procrastinate on. 

Some useful information from the Registrar’s Office, Career Development and psychology can help ease fears and equip students with the tools to handle this transition. 

Academic preparation 

One of the crucial steps on the path to degree completion is applying for degree conferral. This process is essentially notifying the University of a student’s intent to graduate at the end of the term. 

Students can apply for degree conferral by selecting the Application for Degree Conferral on my.chatham. The application is listed under “myTOOLS” and has a $100 fee that covers the cost of the diploma and associated administrative work. The deadline to apply for spring 2023 degree conferral is March 15 for students who are on track to complete their degree at the end of this term.

The degree conferral application then triggers a degree audit, which students complete with their academic advisers. This involves reviewing the student’s degree checklist to make sure all major and general education requirements have been completed. This information will be sent to the director of the student’s academic program, who will review the student’s academic history and compare it to the University’s requirements. After this review, the director will send it to the Registrar’s Office to be finalized. 

To avoid a degree audit from being rejected or missing application deadlines, University Registrar Maria Aveni encourages students to consult their academic checklists and the academic calendar often. 

“Up until the point the student applies for degree conferral, their information is protected from the people in this office,” Aveni said. “Once you complete the application and pay the fee, then you’re on our radar. Unfortunately at that point, it’s probably too late if there were issues.”


Action  May 2023 Graduation  August 2023 Graduation 
Apply for Degree Conferral Dec. 30 – March 15  April 30 – Aug. 15
Registrar starts to receive audits  March 30 June 30 
Degree Conferral date May 30 Aug. 30 


To avoid this, students should prioritize their relationship with their academic adviser and be proactive about taking important classes on their academic checklist. 

To ensure a smoother ride through the undergrad experience, follow these tips: 

  • Ask questions early and often.
  • Access advising tools on my.chatham (four-year plans and major and minor checklists are available on in the “Services & Departments” tab under “Academic Advising.”) 
  • Roughly plan out classes before advising meetings.

If your degree conferral is rejected by the Registrar’s Office, don’t panic. Connect with your adviser and your academic department. You may be able to work out a solution using substitutions or a retroactive petition – all things with which academic advisers can help. 

Even if you are not able to technically graduate, if only a summer class is required, you might still be able to walk in an upcoming commencement ceremony. All students graduating can sign up for graduation on my.chatham by selecting the commencement tab under MyTOOLS.