So, you’ve filled out your FAFSA and you’re ready to get your academic degree so you can enter the workforce and begin your ideal life. Congrats to you! Some requirements for finishing school are easy to accomplish, while others will take years. Here are seven requirements to obtain your academic degree once you’re ready to enter the high education landscape:
1. Choose a College
Not all colleges are alike. 2-year and 4-year institutions different in degree offerings, pricing, and student activities. An online college is less likely to have as many academic degrees and be pricier but may fit your busy life better. Whatever you decide to do, start a pros and cons list. Look at your top three choices to see which institution will offer you the best start on your journey.
2. Choose a Degree
Sometimes your path is clear, and you know almost inherently what you want to do, but sometimes the way forward is foggy. In most circumstances, you don’t need to decide on a degree until you’re ready to enroll in your junior year but knowing early in your program can have benefits. Namely, you can better balance the easier classes with the more difficult classes if you know what your program requires earlier on.
3. Take the Required Credits
The number of credits to graduate differs based on the degree. An associate degree requires 60 credit hours. A bachelor’s degree needs 120 complete. For a graduate degree, it could take between 12 and 18 courses to graduate depending on the program. This is the part that takes years. Expect to spend between two and four years in this phase.
4. Submit an Application for Graduation
After all your hard work, you’ve made it to the finish line. Your academic advisor should give you guidance on completing an application for graduation (if one is required for your school). During this procedure, your credits will be examined for validity. Once confirmed, you’ll be ready to buy your cap and gown.
5. If Necessary, Transfer to a 4-Year Institution
In some cases, you may have selected to start at a 2-year college (perhaps you are getting your gen eds out of the way or you changed your mind about your degree). If you need to move to a 4-year institution to earn a higher academic degree, it is time to start that process. You’ll need to gather all of your documents, including transcripts from your time at your current college to start that journey.
6. Pay Your Graduation Fees
At some colleges, graduation comes with a price tag that can’t be paid by loans, grants, or scholarships. If your school requires you to pay graduation fees, they will not send your diploma to you until you’ve zeroed out what you owe them. Ask early in your senior year how much graduation fees will be and when they are due, and make a plan to have the money by the time you’re asked for it.
7. Walk Across the Stage
Okay, this one isn’t a requirement! For those who are doing their degree online, or who are otherwise incapacitated during the commencement ceremony, skipping out is perfectly reasonable. You will still receive your diploma in the mail. But if you can, make sure you go to the ceremony. You worked hard to earn that academic degree, and you deserve your moment in the spotlight.
The requirements to earn an academic degree require patience and proactive performance. Don’t wait for the information to come to you because you might be delayed in starting or graduating. Use the seven tips above to finish your education so you can proudly display your academic degree.
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