Congratulations, Oberlin student: You have worked hard to get to this next step in your academic career. We are proud of your accomplishments.

Preparing for Graduation

As your time at Oberlin comes to an end, we want to make certain that you follow the next steps to ensure that you have everything in order to receive your diploma and walk at Commencement. Review the guide to graduation, from applying to receiving your diploma. This guide has important information and action items that should be completed prior to graduation. 

Questions: daudit@oberlin.edu 

Review Your Academic Record

Awarding degrees is dependent upon successful completion of all requirements. Check your degree audit to confirm you have completed (or will complete by the end of your selected graduation term) all requirements. You should have declared all of your majors and minors before applying, but if you unexpectedly need to make a change, do not let that delay your application to graduate. You can still submit a graduation application with pending declarations.

Check Degree Works and your unofficial transcript 

Degree Works will tell you which institutional and major requirements you have met and which ones you have not met.

If all of your requirements in Degree Works are marked as complete or in-progress, including your overall total required credits, your “Degree Progress” bar will show as 98% complete. This is normal and will change to 100% once you have earned grades for your in-progress courses. Please double check that all of your required credits for your major (and minor) are completed.

If you notice any discrepancies between what you believe to be your total number of completed courses/credits and what you see on your transcript and your degree evaluation, send email to degreeaudit@oberlin.edu immediately.

Declare all majors/minors/concentrations 

The degree auditor will use whatever information is on your record to determine your graduation eligibility. If you don’t keep your information up to date, our office may determine that you are not eligible to graduate. The deadlines to declare, change or drop majors or minors can be found in on the Graduation Timeline.

If you make changes after this date, we cannot guarantee that you will be on track to receive your degree, diplomas and Commencement-related materials in time.

Transfer of Credit

If you have transfer of credit that can count toward your degree, it is imperative that you submit your transcripts to the Office of the Registrar immediately. Students must request an official transcript, in a sealed envelope, from the institution where their work was completed.

In order to apply to graduate online, the application will require that you have a minimum number of credits, therefore it is crucial that your transfer work be applied toward your degree as soon as possible.

Deadlines to submit transfer of credit are applicable. Allow several weeks’ time for the other institution to process official transcript requests and mail the transcript to our office.

Applying to Graduate

You must apply to graduate so the registrar’s office knows when you intend to complete all of your degree requirements. Oberlin College has three graduation dates each year: December, January, and May.

  • December graduates complete all of their requirements with fall semester courses.
  • January graduates complete all of their requirements with winter term courses.
  • May graduates complete all of their requirements with spring semester courses.

Graduation means earning your degree. Participating in the Commencement ceremony does not automatically mean you have graduated. Even if you do not intend to participate in the Commencement ceremony, you must still apply to graduate.

If you anticipate graduating in the next term, it’s important that you complete the graduation application process outlined below. If you do not, your name will not appear in the commencement program, we will not have a diploma prepared for you, and your parents will not receive the Commencement Mailings.

The application opens with registration for the next term and closes on the last day of Add/drop.  For deadlines, please review dates in the Graduation Timeline, listed below.

  1. Log into OberView and select Apply to Graduate.
  2. Curriculum Term Selection: To determine the curriculum for graduation, select the most recent term and Press Submit.
  3. Curriculum Selection: Confirm the curriculum or program for graduation and Press Continue. If the curriculum (degree/major/minor) information listed is incorrect, contact the Registrar's Office to have it corrected. Once your curriculum information has been updated you can return to complete your application to graduate.
  4. Graduation Term Selection: Select the graduation date for the term you intend to complete your requirements and Press Continue.
  5. Graduation Ceremony Selection:  Check the appropriate radio button that corresponds with your choice to attend Commencement and Press Continue. If you change your mind about your participation in the Commencement ceremony, please contact DegreeAudit. Changes to the Commencement program may not be possible after April 1st.
  6. Diploma Name Selection: Select your current name from the drop-down box. Press Continue. You will have the option to change your name on the next screen.
  7. Diploma Name Selection: Your First, Middle (if provided), Last Name and Suffix (if provided) are indicated on this screen. This is how your name will appear on your diploma, in the Commencement Program, and the names which Deans read as you cross the stage.  If you wish to make changes, you may do so now. Please note we will generally accept requests for variations of your name; for example, a middle initial instead of your full middle name, a shorter first name (Jon instead of Jonathan). We cannot list a completely different name on your diploma than what is on your academic record. Press Continue.
  8. Commencement Mailing Address Selection: Select your address for Commencement mailings or New to enter a new address.   Press Continue. You may contact the Registrar’s Office to verify the addresses of custodial/non-custodial parents and/or guardians. These addresses are used by the Office of the Secretary to send Commencement mailings.
  9. Commencement Mailing Address Selection: Enter a new address or modify an existing address. Press Continue.
  10. Graduation Application Summary: Review the summary to ensure the accuracy of your information. Press the Submit Request button at the bottom of the page.
  11. Graduation Application Signature Page: Your application will now be reviewed by the degree auditors. Your academic history and in-progress coursework will be reviewed by a degree auditor.  Be sure to check your email--the Registrar’s Office will email you with questions and updates.

Finish Away

Oberlin College allows students to complete their degree requirements away from campus. Students must fulfill several academic and policy requirements before they can complete their coursework away from campus.

College of Arts and Sciences

A student in the College of Arts and Sciences who lacks at the end of the spring semester a maximum of two courses/eight credits or at the end of the fall semester a maximum of one course/four credits required for graduation may apply in the Academic Advising Resource Center for permission to complete these courses/credits away from Oberlin.

A student who has completed at least seven semesters may apply to finish away a maximum of two courses/eight credits after either a fall or spring semester, provided all other requirements, including the residency requirement, have been met, and the courses/credits to be completed away from Oberlin are within the post-matriculation transfer of credit limit.

The work may be done at another institution or through Oberlin courses on an Enrolled Not in Residence registration. Study completed while Enrolled Not in Residence is not subject to the post-matriculation limit.

Permission to complete more than two courses/eight credits away from Oberlin will be granted only after careful consideration of educational or personal reasons by the associate dean for academic advising—as long as all other graduation requirements have been met and the total number of courses/credits transferred to Oberlin does not exceed the postmatriculation transfer-of-credit limit.

Students who wish to finish their remaining requirements away from Oberlin must apply through the Office of the Registrar in Carnegie 113. Deadlines to apply are applicable; please review the Graduation Timeline section for more information.

College of Arts and Sciences: Finish Away Process

Finish Away Status: If a student falls within the guidelines stated above, he or she should contact the Academic Advising Resource Center to make arrangements to complete the degree through Finish Away (FINA) status. Students have one year to complete their requirements under the normal Finish Away guidelines.

Academic Leave of Absence to Finish Away: In special circumstances, a student may be allowed to complete degree requirements through an Academic Leave of Absence (ALOA). This normally involves students who have completed all required course work and wish to spend their last semester on an academic leave either at another U.S. institution or through a study abroad program. The Catalog has specific details about the ALOA status.

Students in this category must complete the following steps:

  • A completed ALOA application must be submitted by the ALOA deadline (March 15 in the year prior to the leave). Refer to the Office of Study Away for assistance.
  • Students asking for a waiver of the last semester in residence must meet with the associate dean of academic advising to review their degree progress and remaining requirements.
  • Students must be approved for the academic leave by the Off-Campus Study Committee.

Enrolled Not in Residence (ENR) Status: Permission to complete more than two courses/eight credits away from Oberlin will be granted only after careful consideration of educational or personal reasons by the associate dean for academic advising, provided all other graduation requirements have been met and the total number of courses/credits transferred to Oberlin does not exceed the post-matriculation transfer-of-credit limit.

Students must first contact the associate dean for academic advising to discuss the proposal. The completed proposal requires a description of the course, faculty approval, and departmental approval if appropriate. Final approval must take place before the beginning of the semester in which ENR is to occur.

When a program is approved, the Office of the Registrar is notified and bills the student and enrolls the student in the course(s). This must be completed by the end of the enrollment period for the semester the student wishes to be on ENR.


Important Reminders:

  1. You must be eligible to transfer all credits while on Finish Away without exceeding the transfer limit. Refer to the Transfer of Credit section of the Catalog.
  2. Credits taken at another institution are transfer credits subject to the normal transfer of credit fee; if you elect to do outstanding credits through Oberlin on an Enrolled Not In Residence basis (ENR), then you pay Oberlin’s current tuition rate for each ENR credit. Check the current rate in the Catalog.
  3. If you want to march at graduation, you must submit to the Academic Advising Resource Center by mid-May an official transcript or letters from your professors verifying that you have passed all courses with at least a 'C-'. Refer to the Marching at Graduation section in the Catalog and carefully check to make sure that you will be eligible to participate in Commencement exercises.
Oberlin Conservatory: Finish Away Process

A Conservatory of Music student who lacks not more than eight credits and has met the residency requirement may request approval of Finish Away status from the conservatory associate dean for student academic affairs in order to complete these credits at another institution. If any of these credits are requirements for the student’s major, the major department must also approve completion of requirements for Finish Away status. 

Permission to complete more than eight credits away from Oberlin will be granted only after careful consideration of educational or personal reasons by the conservatory associate dean for student academic affairs, provided all other graduation requirements have been met and the total number of credits transferred to Oberlin does not exceed the post-matriculation transfer-of-credit limit.

Double Degree Program: Finish Away Status
Normally double-degree students complete both degrees at the same time. However, under certain circumstances, a student may request permission to finish degree requirements off campus. The double-degree student who is considering completion of the BA degree away from campus after completion of the BM should consult the finish away policies for students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The double-degree student who is considering completion of the BM degree after completion of the BA degree should consult the finish away policies for the conservatory.

Update Your Address

If your address or your parent’s/family’s address has changed, then please send email to degreeaudit@oberlin.edu so that we can send Commencement-related materials to the correct address. You can also change your commencement mailing address through the online graduation website.

Address change forms are also available in the Office of the Registrar.

Check Student Account Balances

Check your student account balance in OberView and make any necessary payments. Students with outstanding balances will not receive diplomas during the Commencement ceremonies. Additionally, any requests for degree verifications or transcripts will be denied until all outstanding payments have been received.

Office of Student Accounts

Complete Federal Perkins or International Loan Exit Interview

If you received Federal Perkins or International loans, you must complete the appropriate exit interview. Students who have not completed their exit interview will not receive diplomas during the Commencement ceremonies.

Loan Information for Oberlin Graduates

Marching at Commencement

Oberlin College has one Commencement ceremony each May. In general, students who have completed their final requirements anytime from the day after the previous Commencement to the current Commencement may march in the ceremony.

Mid-year graduates and their families are also invited to participate in all Commencement exercises and events.

Students interested in attending Commencement should make sure to check the ‘Yes’ box on the graduation application. If you change your mind about your participation in the Commencement ceremony, please contact DegreeAudit@Oberlin.edu. Changes to the Commencement program may not be possible after April 1.

Marching Eligibility
  • Students must be registered at Oberlin for the final semester in residence. This registration must be for all remaining course requirements for the degree(s) sought; and all non-course requirements must also be completed by the end of classes.
  • Students who have permission to finish their work away from Oberlin may participate in Commencement exercises at the end of their final semester in residence at Oberlin.
  • Students who have completed their degree requirements away from Oberlin and who have never participated in a previous commencement may also participate.

Be sure to check the Commencement website for updated information.

Commencement website

Graduation Timeline

Task December Graduation January Graduation May Graduation
Students invited to Apply Late August Late August Late August
Review Your Academic Record First Week of Fall Semester First Week of Fall Semester First Week of Spring Semester
Grad Application Opens Apr. 15, 2019 (for Dec. 2019) Apr. 15, 2019 (for Jan. 2020) Nov. 5, 2018 (for May 2019)
Grad Application Closes Oct. 19, 2018 Oct. 19, 2018 Feb. 13, 2019
Deadline to Declare Major/Minor/Conc Oct. 19, 2018 Oct. 19, 2018 Mar. 4, 2019
Deadline to submit Transfer of Credit Oct. 19, 2018 Oct. 19, 2018 Mar. 22, 2019
Degree Auditors will email students whose records are incomplete Nov. 2, 2018 Nov. 2, 2018 Jan.- Feb. 13, 2019
Degree Auditors will email students who are not eligible to graduate Nov. 2, 2018 Nov. 2, 2018 Apr. 1, 2019
Blackboard Commencement site goes live December December December
Preliminary schedule of Commencement events mailed to parents/families of December graduates. December - -
Final schedule of Commencement events mailed to all attending the ceremonies March March March
Commencement May 27, 2019  May 27, 2019 May 27, 2019

Graduation FAQs

What's the difference between "graduation" and "commencement"?

Graduation is the term used when a student is awarded their degree. Students are awarded their degree when they have met all necessary requirements. Commencement is the formal ceremony held in May. This is a celebration of your accomplishments.  

Participation in the Commencement ceremony does not necessarily constitute graduation.

Who can March in Commencement?
  • Students must be registered at Oberlin for the final semester in residence. This registration must be for all remaining course requirements for the degree(s) sought, and all non-course requirements must also be completed by the end of classes.
  • Students who have permission to finish their work away from Oberlin may participate in Commencement exercises at the end of their final semester in residence at Oberlin.
  • Students who have completed their degree requirements away from Oberlin and who have never participated in a previous commencement may also participate.
Is there a way to check the status of my application?

Yes, you may access your application for graduation at any time after submitting it for review. Go to OberView and click on View My Graduation Application.

How long will it take for my application to be approved?

The degree auditors within the Office of the Registrar will review your application to ensure that all requirements are complete or in-progress. Due to the volume of applications received and the detail required for each review, a timeframe is difficult to determine. Our goal is to complete your graduation review as quickly as possible following the receipt of your application.

How will I know that my graduation application has been approved?

You can view the status of your graduation application through DegreeWorks. DegreeWorks can be accessed through OberView

Where can I go to see my graduation requirements?

You will need to refer to your degree audit in DegreeWorks for specific requirements remaining to be met for graduation.

What if I think that DegreeWorks is incorrect? Is this the only way for me to see my academic progress towards graduation?

If your degree audit is incorrect, the most likely reason is the Office of the Registrar has not received the appropriate documentation from the department to update your missing requirements. Documentation is required for exceptions, substitutions, waivers, transfer of credit and final grades. It is the student's responsibility to follow up with the appropriate academic department so as not to delay the awarding of your degree. You can also request an official degree audit of your academic record. Simply email DegreeAudit.

I do not see my graduation term in the drop-down box on Curriculum Term Selection form.

You need to be registered for at least one course in the term you intend to graduate. If you intend to complete your academic requirements while you are on Academic Leave, you will need to notify the Office of the Registrar of your intentions.

I tried to apply to graduate, but I got the following error message. “No curricula available for graduation application."

You receive this message due to one of the following reasons:

  1. A graduation application has already been submitted. Please select the "View Graduation Application" link at the bottom of this page to see if you have already submitted a Graduation Application.
  2. Sufficient eligibility requirements (i.e., minimum G.P.A and/or minimum hours) have not been met.
I tried to apply to graduate but I have a hold.

Select "View Holds" link at the bottom of the page for information regarding the hold. The Hold will have an office that is an "Originator"; please contact that office for details regarding the hold. Once the hold has been removed, you will then be able to submit a Graduation Application.

The curriculum listed is not my current curriculum (major, minor, concentration).

If the information listed is incorrect, please submit a Change of Major Form to the Registrar's Office. After the Change of Major form has been processed, the Rregistrar's Office will contact you, then you will be able to submit your Graduation Application with the correct curriculum information.

What if I change my major or add a minor after I have submitted the graduation application?

The Office of the Registrar will process your change of major/minor/concentration until the deadline (see Graduation Timeline) and update your application.

I changed my mind about attending commencement. How can I update my decision?

Send an email to Degree Audit indicating your decision to march at commencement. Changes to the Commencement program may not be possible after April 1st.