By Connor Keating / Staff writer

As the year comes to a close, many students have to prepare for graduation from Hutchinson Community College, even if their college journey is still far from over. And one of the most important things they must do before they graduate from HutchCC is turn in their graduation application.

Katherine Eberly, HutchCC’s degree audit specialist says the graduation application, “Allows them (students) to have a degree potentially posted … we don’t just automatically post it. So a student has to apply for graduation in order for us to know, ‘yes, this student’s at that point where they’re meeting all the requirements, and yes, they do want that credential posted’. So it is the most important part of it. So that’s what starts the whole process for students.”

Eberly is the one who has to make data entries into the system, and make sure that both students and advisors have done everything they need to do for a student to graduate.

She encourages students to reach out to their advisors as soon as possible to make sure they’re on course for graduation.

“We would like for students to work with their advisors because we want advisors to do the checking, and making sure that students have the requirements,” Eberly said. “The application can actually be found on the website, on the records page, but a lot of students, I think, what happens is that it’s going to be initiated by either them asking their advisor or their advisor is going to be sending that application saying, ‘hey, we’re at this time. You need to fill this out’. My hope is that students are asking their advisors if their advisors aren’t reaching out to them.”

Another importance of the application is the graduation ceremony, specifically the commencement program. The deadline for that was March 20, however, they are happy to take applications after that. Eberly says that the risk of turning in applications late is that students may not get their name in the commencement program, since the marketing department needs those names in by the beginning of April.

“We also have to get information to our marketing department much earlier than what people probably realize,” Eberly said. “So we have to get that information next week. Monday is the cut off for that, for student’s information in the program. Cause the actual program itself, the physical program booklet you get at the ceremony, that takes some time for marketing to put together, that takes some time to be printed, so that’s why we like to have as many applications as possible in March so that we can get ready for that.”

Another event that has already passed is the time to get cap and gowns, however the Parker Student Union still has boxes and boxes of gowns for any procrastination loving students.

“They can get that (their cap and gown) here in records. We have students now that are kind of trickling in. They’re welcome to come into our office anytime we’re open,” Eberly said. “Sometimes students are at the McPherson or Newton locations and we can send gowns there, and they can always reach out to us. Sometimes students will have a friend pick it up or a family member or something like that. So we’ll work with them, and if they have any questions they can just let us know.”

Some students may wonder if the application is needed for students that are graduating, but not attending the ceremony? It is, and even though the date for that has passed, they are still accepting applications.

“It is not maybe as crucial if a student is not participating in the ceremony if they turn it in, in a couple weeks. Usually it’s not as big of a deal for them if their name is not in the program, but of course we want to put as many in there as possible,” Eberly said. “We will take it (graduation applications) until we can’t.”

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