Student Voice

Thursday

June 20, 2024

Graduating with honors takes time

March 8, 2007

Some seniors are confused about the actual calculations of their grade point average when it comes to participating in the commencement ceremony. The ceremony is sometimes held the weekend before finals week, but this semester it is held the weekend after finals.

“Students need all requirements to graduate,” Academic Standards Committee Member Wes Chapin said.

Chapin said the last semester is required for seniors to graduate and is calculated into their cumulative grade point averages.

The date for the commencement ceremony varies from year to year because of a few factors. Chapin said the ceremony is held close to the end of the term because students should not have to postpone job opportunities, internships, living arrangements or graduate school. If students did show interest in waiting around for grade totals to be finalized and the diplomas printed, they would be waiting a minimum of two weeks for the ceremony.

“I would wait to take finals to make sure I graduated,” senior Jenny Isaacs said.

“I would not wait two weeks to walk because that would push back starting a job,” senior Marques Mekosch said.

Another issue involving students participating in the ceremony without having official grades in is honors. When seniors register to graduate, their academic standings at that point are what are recognized in the ceremony. Therefore, seniors must obtain a grade point average of 3.5 or higher the semester before graduation to be recognized as graduating with honors in the ceremony.

Academic standards committee member Kurt Leichtle said that students are eligible for honors after the ceremony if earned in the last semester. If students need the last semester to obtain honor status, they will be accredited with obtaining honors. Even though students will not be recognized in the ceremony as graduating with honors, graduate schools and employers will see the achievement. Students can contact the register’s office to get a certificate stating the achievement if they obtained honors status after the ceremony.

“I don’t think it’s fair to graduate with honors, but not be recognized. You should be recognized for your hard work,” Isaacs said.

There are four types of honors that are awarded to seniors. According to the Faculty Senate Academic Standards Handbook, Senior Merit honor is defined as “graduating seniors who have maintained a minimum cumulative 3.500 grade point in their last 60 credits at UWRF with no outstanding F’s, SPs, or incompletes during those last 60 credits.” The handbook defines the Cum Laude honor as “graduating seniors who have maintained a minimum cumulative 3.700 grade point average for their entire college career, at all institutions, with no outstanding F’s and no outstanding incompletes.” The Magna Cum Laude honor is “graduating seniors who have maintained a minimum cumulative 3.800 grade point average for their entire college career, at all institutions, with no outstanding F’s and no outstanding incompletes.” The Summa Cum Laude as “graduating seniors who have maintained a minimum cumulative 3.900 grade point average for their entire college career, at all institutions, with no outstanding F’s and no outstanding incompletes.” The Senior Merit honor is the only honor that calculates the grade point average from the last 60 credits; all the other honors are purely cumulative from all academic semesters.

Some honors that students may not be aware of are the freshmen, sophomore and junior honors. The handbook indicates, “each spring, superior scholarship is recognized by the awarding of freshman, sophomore and junior merit to those students enrolled during the spring term. To receive merit, students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.500 with no F’s, outstanding incompletes or repeat grades on their academic record.” The divisions of these standings are based on credits. To obtain a freshmen merit, students must have completed 14-38 credits; sophomores must have completed 39-67 credits; juniors must have completed 68-110 credits. All of these credits must be earned at this University.

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