The online graduation application resembles what was once called an electronic “smart” form that validates against Banner data. The link to it is on the student menu available online within OASIS.
This first quarter of 2014 has brought permanent changes to the process of applying for graduation. Students no longer use paper forms to execute this important business transaction, and a means of surveying graduating students is now standardized. This latest, long overdue development follows the University Registrar’s Office discontinuation of preprinted paper application forms several years ago and realizes a more formal means of collecting exit data. Per Dr. Peter Harries, Graduate Office Dean, "The new exit survey allows all graduate programs to gain additional insight into their overall quality, effectiveness, as well as student satisfaction. The survey results are vital data that can aid in program improvement that ultimately can assist in promoting increased student success." The Office of Decision Support built the actual instrument (i.e. survey system), and according to Joseph Butts, Assistant Director of Academics, the Graduate Office created the content for assessment in the survey. Dr. Robert Sullins, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, collaborated with Decision Support to develop the undergraduate survey.
One impact we’ve seen so far is the empowerment of the applicants to manage their curriculum information. Those who detect a difference from their intended program(s) of study are informed to make an appointment with an academic advisor and request an update to how their records are coded, as necessary.
Another impact is the receipt of immediate acknowledgement of their applicant status and that their eligibility for graduation is on course. University departments are benefited by reductions in manually reviewing paper applications from students whose program(s) of study are correctly coded. For example, University Registrar’s Office staffs are able to spend more time on applicant problem resolution and less on labor-intensive, rote data entry. Of the 6,770 Spring 2014 graduating class’ applicants, 23% applied self-service. This is impressive considering the fact that the official launch of the online graduation application did not occur until February 3, 2014-5 days prior to the Spring 2014 graduation application deadline!
Their record of having applied successfully is also expeditious, allowing efficient response to applicant needs even more timely than in semesters past. You can imagine the mutual benefit of no longer having to apply handwriting analysis that paper applications required us to employ! Diploma names and destination addresses are easily discernable, all typed-in by the applicant personally, essentially eliminating the need for special print or parenthetical instructions to USF diploma vendors for producing and delivering our most important document.
The online graduation application also affords a better tracking mechanism than paper. Employees will not be called upon to confirm whether a request has been received. As the link to Apply to Graduate becomes the exclusive means for application beginning this Summer semester, there will be no more claims of “lost” and far fewer “late” applications. Student who do apply late, though, are still subject to certain restrictions concerning the commencement ceremonies, honors, and publication of their name in the Commencement Brochure. To a smaller but significant degree, the move to online application also affords another opportunity to reclaim space previously cluttered with paper-even if the paper took up space only until imaged and indexed to a student’s academic record.
Any remaining questions regarding this exclusive new means of applying for graduation, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Rick Boyd, Assistant University Registrar
and Nydia Lopez, Lead Enrollment Management Specialist