Graduation applications turn into online process

by Sarah Powell

Simpson College hopes to have applications for graduation available online for the graduating class of 2005.

Currently a program called Degree Audit shows students what classes they have taken and what classes they need to take over the next two years for graduation from their major. Students who use this program will still have to print off a graduation application to fill out.

The class of 2005 will be able to use the new program called Graduation Application Degree Audit to apply for graduation online.

“I anticipate that we probably won’t start using Degree Audit as a graduation application online until probably the 2005 graduating class,” said John Bolen, associate academic dean and registrar.

According to Bolen, the current Degree Audit program the college is working with is based on the 2001-2003 catalogue, which is causing some discrepancies in the program.

Part of the problem is that most of the current juniors and seniors came in under a different catalogue, and there are some slight differences between that catalogue and the current one being used for the program. As with any new complex program, it will take a while to get all of the bugs worked out so that the program is perfected, according to Bolen.

Bolen said that eventually a special separate program will be added, known as the Graduation Application Degree Audit. Students will be able to fill out the application online but they will still have to print off a page that will be signed by their advisor and department chair, like the current graduation application.

A second page called the “projected schedule page” will show the student what classes are needed to finish their major. They will then make a projected schedule of what classes they will be taking and when to turn it into the registrars office. This shows that the student is aware of what they need to do to graduate.

“I’d guess that for the freshmen class there will be problems. It probably won’t work perfectly the first time, but it will be a lot better than filling out five different forms,” said senior Sean McRoberts. “When I was filling out the graduation application, I thought it should all be automated, because all the information is online anyway. They’ve been doing this for awhile at the University of Iowa.”

According to Bolen, the biggest difference in the program is that it gives a student a complete picture of what classes they have taken for their major and what classes they still need to graduate. However, the only problem is that the program will not pick up special situations, or exceptions, so the student will have to take care of those problems on their own by contacting the registrar office.

This new program will “empower students with information,” according to Bolen.

“If students print off their degree audits and really read them, they are going to be benefited because they are going to be aware,” said Bolen.

However, he stresses that the program is not intended to replace a student’s advisor, who acts as a mentor to a student. The student will just be better informed as to what needs to be done.

Sophomore Jodi Frederickson said, “I think that as long as they make it [the graduation applications] easy to understand, it could simplify a lot of the process.”