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Graduates of 2003: Start degree audits now, or gamble with graduation

Are you ready to graduate? Better check your degree audit before buying that cap and gown. With graduation little more than a month away, some students are still waiting for the degree requirement office green light. What is the problem? Many students say that even though they turned in their degree audit forms five or six months before their expected graduation date, they did not receive a reply until the damage was inflicted, usually in the form of missing credits.

Degree auditor Victoria Yanhson-Chau said that the office tries to get the forms back to students one term before their expected graduation, just in case the student must make up any classes or fix other errors. Many seniors, however, will tell you that this goal is not being met. What is the holdup? Degree requirement workers point out that audit forms change hands, and even leave their office several times before their final approval. If any of those hands hold on too long, the whole process is extended. The office also extends the blame to kinks in the newly implemented Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS).

For many seniors, this explanation is just not good enough. Students are already beginning to apply for jobs, only to be told that they do not qualify to graduate and must return to school for one or two terms.

While many call for a revamping of the entire audit process and are not convinced that the changes taking effect will help matters, we would like to offer this advice to all up and coming seniors: Turn in your degree audit forms one year ahead of schedule. Check in with the degree requirements office or whoever they say has your information on a monthly basis.