posted 2012-02-16 11:38:00

My Attempt to Graduate

Columnist Anna Serio navigates her through way through Hunter’s biggest bureaucratic challenge.

Anna Serio

Contributing writer

 

Here we are, seniors. It’s hard to believe it’s almost been 120 credits. It seems like this morning I was a freshman wondering why Thomas Hunter’s second floor is the third floor everywhere else. But before we can say good-bye to our daily trips to 68th Street, there is one last thing we need to go through: the graduation process.

First, let me introduce myself. I am a senior, I am a fulltime student, and this is my fourth year. Unfortunately, I have a lot of experience with bureaucracy, particularly at Hunter. So, I’ll be here every couple of weeks to take you through the process of degree audits, major advisement, general advisement, filing for graduation, and everything else you thought you would never have to do yourself (and hopefully will never have to do again).

If you’re like me a year ago, you thought you could just graduate by finishing 120 credits. Oh, how wrong you were. To begin with, you have to apply for graduation, and then go through a degree audit before you can even think about graduating. What’s a degree audit? In simplest terms, it’s the way that Hunter ensures that nobody sneaks out of here without that English or that math requirement you didn’t want to take. If you’re a senior and you have no idea what I’m talking about, go to the registrar’s website and search “Audit Information & Instructions for Undergraduates.” There, you will find a brightly lettered instructional PDF with lots of exclamation points inside of yield signs for some reason (you’ll know it when you see it).

The gist of it is that you have to do everything you were supposed to be doing in the first place—declare a major, activate your hunter webmail and esims account (really? how were you registering for classes without esims?), et cetera—before you fill out the application for graduation. Then, have it signed, stamped, and dated by your major and minor advisors, and drop it off at Oasis before the sixth week of the semester. Sounds easy enough, right?

By now you should know that Hunter is very big, there is a lot of paper involved, and everyone is annoyed. What seems easy can be easily drawn out into a long and painful process. Case and point: I spent my junior spring semester at a not a CUNY school. Before I left, I was told I had to get permission to transfer credits. I did exactly that, only to be told at the last minute that I had wasted my time. Didn’t anybody tell me I needed to get permission after I took the courses, not before? No. When I came back, my transcript was sent to the wrong office. Then it was lost on its way to the right one. Eventually, I figured out I just needed to fill out a course equivalency form, have it signed and stamped by department advisors, and have my transcript sent over to the Admissions Office. After I completed all of the courses, that is.

My point is that it should have been so easy to fill out a couple of forms and hand it to a person sitting behind a desk. But a simple task becomes difficult when nobody seems to know what that simple task is. Even though my credits were transferred, it’s not over yet. So I’ll be here, to wandering through the existentialist limbo that is Hunter bureaucracy, chronicling my attempt to graduate.

This week’s tips and tricks:

1. Stuff gets lost. Photocopy everything. Keep it in a folder. If you’re going to lose that, tape it to your wall. I’m completely serious.

2. The earlier apply for graduation, the easier it is. DO IT NOW. Also, you also have more of a chance of things being lost if you do it near to the deadline.