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Attend college graduation for another perspective on your chosen school


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

As a graduating high school senior, your commencement ceremony may still be a few weeks off. However, now is the time for college graduations, and attending this event could give you another perspective on a potential college. While indoor ceremonies are usually ticketed events, you should be able to attend outdoor graduations. And even if you can't gain access to the ceremony, you can usually find video on the college's Web site or postings on YouTube.

See a college's extended community
By visiting a college's Web site or social media page you can get a sense of what types of students attend the school. The campus tour allows you to interact with some of these students while observing others as they attend class, participate in sports or relax in the student center. At a graduation ceremony, however, you receive a much broader picture of the college's student community. In addition to the seniors in their caps and gowns, there will be many other students lending their support to their schoolmates. There will also be members of the faculty and the college administration in attendance.

At the same time, you can look around the audience and see the families of the graduating class. All of these people make up the college community. Do you see yourself as a part of it?

Who's graduating with what degree
As graduates walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, you will notice that the tassels on the hood are different colors. The color denotes the wearer's academic specialization, such as liberal arts, business, engineering, or health fields. By observing the colored tassels and scanning the printed commencement program you can make a rough assessment of the popularity of certain majors. Is your potential program of study in the majority? If not, you may want to do additional research about that major at the college.

Hear inspiring speakers
Part of the thrill of attending a graduation ceremony is the chance to hear an inspirational speech from a well-known person. There certainly has not been a shortage of big-name speakers this graduation season.

On May 5, President Barack Obama addressed the graduating class at The Ohio State University. Obama delivered another commencement speech at Morehouse College in Georgia on May 19. On May 11, former president Bill Clinton took the stage at Howard University in Washington, D.C., to offer advice to the graduating class.

Of course, politicians are not the only recognizable faces invited to speak to graduating college students. Comedian and TV host Stephen Colbert addressed the Class of 2013 at the University of Virginia on May 18.

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