Some of your teens will earn a certificate, diploma, or degree while still in high school. This process usually requires some action on your part as well as your teen’s. Answers to these frequently asked questions will help!
Will I have to submit an application for graduation?
Probably. While some colleges automatically determine graduation eligibility through the Registrar’s Office, that’s not usually the case. If your teen will accumulate enough credits / classes this semester to close out the requirements for one of the college’s credentials, you may have to file paperwork, submit an updated high school transcript, get an advisor’s signature, or formally apply for graduation. Since this varies by college, start with the website and don’t stop until your understanding of the exact process is complete.
How will I know if I’ve met graduation eligibility requirements?
For most students, those who meet graduation eligibility requirements will be notified of their pending graduation eligibility through their college email account. Since your teen’s dual enrollment status may prevent them from having a college email account, be sure to watch the email of record that the college has for you (parent or teen). It is my opinion that parents should always keep track of their teen’s progress toward a credential and if you believe they are eligible for graduation, but have not received notification from the college, have your teen contact their advisor by mid-term.
What name will be printed on their certificate, diploma, or degree?
The student’s full name as previously provided by you will appear on their credential. If you’ve noticed and ignored a typo, be sure to change it ASAP! If you have a middle name or initial that you want added (or removed) now is the time to act on that change.
What if my teen withdraws or fails their last courses?
Courses withdrawn or failed may change program status and graduation eligibility. Have your teen contact their college advisor in advance, when possible, to discuss how the withdrawal will be handled and develop a plan for finishing. This may delay graduation as long as a year in programs where the needed course won’t be offered again until next year!
What’s going to be in the leather folder they get on stage?
Probably nothing. Degrees, diplomas and certificates are NOT given out at the commencement ceremonies. In most cases these come in the mail weeks or months following the ceremony. Local students may have the option of picking up their credential in person. (NOTE: Of the 6 degrees that were mailed to our home for our kids over the years, 5 arrived wrinkled or damaged. For one son it arrived folded (!) in our mailbox by our mailman, and when the school sent a second one, it also arrived folded. If you have the option of picking them up in person, I’d take that option every time!)
Does it cost money to graduate?
Usually there are costs. It’s common to pay a “graduation fee” that may cover the mailing of your official credential and or leather case. You may also have to pay for cap and gown rental /purchase, tassel, honor cord, tickets, photos, diploma frames, and parking at the venue.
What about college transcripts?
If your teen is finished with this school, they should wait for their graduation verification to post on their account before requesting final transcripts that get forwarded elsewhere. If your teen will continue for another credential, their transcript will continue to be updated each term with credentials earned and their dates both noted on the transcript.
Should we travel to walk the stage?
That’s your personal preference. With my own teens, each had a different feeling about that milestone. For my sons who earned their first credential while knowing they were on target to earn a higher one, “walking” didn’t seem as important to them, but this is a joint-accomplishment and one that we always celebrated! In the DeRosa house, I make my kids walk if reasonable to get there, but whatever you decide, be sure to CELEBRATE! Each and every credential earned is a big deal. If you don’t physically go to the ceremony (or if COVID upsets your plans) you can borrow a cap and gown and take photos in the yard. We had to do that for 3 of our degrees since 2020, so you do the best you can with what you have to celebrate this moment!
Let us celebrate with you!
We love celebrating in the Homeschooling for College Credit community. If your teen is graduating, let me know! If you like, you can even send a photo of your teen for publication in our Happy Stories tab. Sharing your journey with others is the greatest gift you can give the community that helped you get there.