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Participation in graduation cermonies without actually graduating?

  1. May 8, 2010 #1


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    Today my college had its graduation exercises, and as I watched students march to the stage to receive their diplomas, it seemed to me that there were more "anticipated graduates" than in previous years.

    These are students who have not quite completed the requirements for graduation, either because they failed a course during the final semester and don't have enough credits, or it's a required course, or they didn't meet GPA requirements, or maybe other reasons. They're expected to complete the requirements during the summer, so they're allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony. They march to the stage, shake hands with the president, and get their picture taken, but the president doesn't give them a diploma. Their names are marked with an asterisk in the program, which is a recent change; until a few years ago, they were listed in a separate section at the end of the list of graduates.

    I'm curious, how common is this? I don't remember this being the practice when I graduated from college 35 years ago (it's reunion time again this summer!). When I first came here, I think the anticipated graduates were listed in the program (in a separate section), but didn't march to the stage. IIRC they were allowed to march starting sometime in the early 1990s.

    I think one rationale is that parents and other relatives may have made travel plans in advance (including non-refundable plane reservations), which would go down the drain if their son/daughter fails a class at the last minute. And then there's the emotional devastation of not being able to join one's friends in the ceremony. :rolleyes:
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  3. May 8, 2010 #2


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    I've never heard of this. But then, I didn't participate in my own college graduation.

    At my high school ceremony, some people were shocked to find a note inside the folder that was handed to them on the stage: "You'll receive your diploma as soon as you pay your library fine."
  4. May 8, 2010 #3


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    I think this is pretty much the norm for students that still may have a course to complete right after graduation ceremonies. I do believe Math Is Hard attended graduation ceremonies before she completed her coursework and it was by no means anything to do with slacking off. It is very common now for students to spread out classes over 12 months and the university cannot have a graduation ceremony every time a student completes enough courses to graduate, and it is not practical for a student to return the following year for a ceremony. It has been decided that if they are on track to complete the necessary credits, they can attend the current ceremony.
  5. May 8, 2010 #4
    Is that even legal?

    I mean, that comes down to selling a diploma doesn't it?

    Oh wait, that happens too, I forgot.
  6. May 8, 2010 #5
    I chose not to participate in graduation in high school (there were three or four lengthy rehearsals I didn't want to go to), but I was actually told beforehand I could not graduate until I payed for a small damaged paperback book. The thing is, it was just as damaged when I got it. They probably charged the guy who had it before me too...

    As for college, I went to my sister's graduation today. The Priest who spoke essentially gave us a two hour lecture on how impressive he is. Incredibly boring and mind-numbing. Before worrying about "graduating in advance", stuff like this needs to be fixed.
  7. May 8, 2010 #6


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    My daughter, a senior honor student in human services will attend college graduation with her class, but due to student residency requirements (she needs to participate and be evaluated in late fall and next spring). She will be fully matriculated at that time. This is due to her switching majors in her sophomore year of college. It is just the way the program works there.

  8. May 8, 2010 #7
    Graduation ceremonies at best are meaningless. I don't think attending one without graduating make any change. I never attended any of these ceremonies/award ceremonies.
  9. May 9, 2010 #8
    That it happens doesn't mean it's legal though, but I see your point.

    The Netherlands luckily hasn't such pompous graduation ceremony's as most Anglo-Saxon countries.

    Word mah dawg.
  10. May 9, 2010 #9


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    Why wouldn't it be? Students know there are conditions on receiving their diploma.
  11. May 9, 2010 #10
    Different legislation I guess, diplomata are awarded by the state here, exams are centralized and you just get the thing (through your school) if you met the conditions and passed the exams.

    Schools of course can demand you pay your fees and even take you to court on it, but they really can't uphold your diploma as a form of blackmail, a diploma is what it says on it, that you passed your courses with the marks it says on it, it doesn't also say 'Was also a student who paid library fees.', a handsome trait, surely, but not in any case marking a scholarly level of intellectual capability?
  12. May 9, 2010 #11


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    One of the conditions are library fines. It's always been this way, even back in the day where you had to walk 15 miles to school. Uphill. Both ways.

    Even a college diploma doesnt say on it that you paid your graduation fee but you have to pay it anyways.
  13. May 9, 2010 #12
    Course it's legal, it usually ststes in a contract that you sign when you join that you will not recieve your diploma until you are financially all square with the university.

    That includes all finanical aspects not just library fees.
  14. May 9, 2010 #13
    Noooot here. Diplomata aren't awarded by schools here but by the state.

    What the hell is that?

    Ccccooontract when you join...?

    You sign a contract?

    Am I safe to assume at this point that universities there are commercial corporations with a profit margin?
  15. May 9, 2010 #14
    Of course Universities are there to make a profit. They do this by government grants, tuition fees and by far the biggest is research grants. Have you never heard of universities closing a course that constantly loses money.

    And yes there is something you sign when you become a student. It lays out the fees you will pay, what you will recieve in return. In essence, a contract.

    Ours specifically stated that unless you had a financial balance of £0 by the time graduation came, you did not graduate. It stops people from running away from their responsibilities. In the last week of University, what stops you checking out the most expensive books to buy and running off and saying you 'lost' with them if you will be presented with your diploma anyway.

    EDIT: Never heard of aspecific graduation fee though.
    Last edited: May 9, 2010
  16. May 9, 2010 #15
  17. May 9, 2010 #16



    This really affirms all the praejudice people have about the US society here that I really thought couldn't be true because it's just too scary.

    Education as a commercial establishment, that's a huge conflict of interest to water things down.

    I think officially, really officially, in this country your diploma is awarded by the Queen, of course she in practise doesn't really check all of those. But it's state-determined what qualities one must meet.

    How it works in this country is that university essentially is free, but you have to pay back the costs you made if you don't get a Master's degree before some time. This is not a contract with the university, this is law, id est a 'contract' with the state.
  18. May 9, 2010 #17
    I'm English. Went to Sheffield University, it's Sheffield that awarded my diploma, not the government.

    Universities, although partially state funded for research and students, are there to make money. It's why they compete with each other for research money and the best students. All students pay partially their own tuition fee the governt pays part of it.
  19. May 9, 2010 #18
    They are nonprofit foundations here that are usually owned by place they're in. The University of Amsterdam for instance is owned by the municipality of Amsterdam. It's an institute, like police.

    That's just scary, to whom does the profit go then?

    They're like companies which have shares, and the board of shareholders gets that profit? Or they're private companies, who 'owns' the university, to whom does the profit go?
  20. May 9, 2010 #19
    Well it's not like a corporation where it goes to the shareholders. It generally get's thrown back in the pot. Money made goes back to the University as an establishment. So in reality it gets spend on new and better equipment.

    I think the best way to describe it, is they are kind of run like charities. Charities are there to make money, but it then gets spent on furthering the charity's goals.

    EDIT: In fact im not sure if Universities do acutally have charitable status.

    It appears that in the UK, Universities actally are charities. The Royal Charter allows them to govern themselves and issue degrees.
    Last edited: May 9, 2010
  21. May 9, 2010 #20
    Id est, a nonprofit foundation?

    Id est, nonprofit foundation?

    Ahh, A nonprofit foundation thus?

    That's where it's different here I guess, titles like M.Sc. Ph.D. (though not professor) are protected, one can only use them on a licence of the government, or in actuality the state, that the state allows you to use that licence is what we call being awarded a degree. Which I think officially is still per approval of the Queen, who happens to be our head of state.
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