It’s a wrap

Tami Olivares
May 10, 2002
Filed under News

Less than half of students who apply for graduation at Bakersfield College actually attend the commencement ceremony.

Sue Vaughn, director of enrollment services, said the college has been accepting applications for graduation since Jan. 1 through April 1. She said she has had a little more than 800 applicants but normally only about 300 attend commencement.

Although numbers show that school enrollment increases every year, graduation numbers do not increase as quickly, said Vaugh.

“An awful lot of people come to BC without the intention of getting a degree. Many are preparing to transfer, others come for certificates, and lots of people come from the work force to get new skills,” she said.

Commencement will be held on Thursday, May 23. It will include students who have graduated last summer, fall and this spring semester. BC only has one commencement per year but students are eligible for graduation in May and December.

Eulalie Woolfork, a native of the Virgin Islands, has been attending BC for two years full-time. She plans to cross the stage this semester.

“It’s my turn, I saw my children walk across the stage, now they are ready to watch me,” she said.

Woolfork is majoring in sociology and psychology and works part-time in the EOP&S center as a peer mentor. She said she hasn’t worried about finals because she is ready to move on.

Manuel Gonzales, director of EOP&S, said he does not see an increase in students seeking pre-graduation advice. Instead, he sees more students asking questions regarding enrollment issues. He said students who are aware they are ready to graduate have usually taken care of business by now. The only concerns students have is that classes they are attending now will determine their eligibility for graduation.

“People are pretty positive things are going to work out,” he said.

Gonzales advises students not to put off the application for graduation but instead they should apply as soon as they know they are into their last semester.

While there are students who will be taking finals on the same week as they graduate, there are some students who have been absent from college classes or have already transferred and are returning just to walk across the stage.

Terrie Bracamonte, said she received her A.A. degree in psychology last December but was short two pre requisite classes in order to transfer to California State University, Bakersfield. She plans to attend the graduation ceremony this spring.

“I love being here (BC). I want to return someday and be a counselor,” she said.

Commencement has always been held on the last week of finals, on a Thursday, said Vaughn. Because it happens on the same week that students might be studying for finals, some students might find the last week of finals very busy.

Heidi Rohrback, liberal studies major, said she is very excited to be graduating. She admits going to school can be stressful and time consuming at times but was glad to achieve her two-year degree and go on to CSUB, she said.

“I’ve been attending (BC) for five years. Three of those years were part-time. It’s very exciting to finally graduate,” she said.

Rohrback was unsure if she was going to attend the graduation ceremony. She said she has been concentrating so much on finals that she has had little time to think about

graduation.

Vaughn agrees that finals and graduation run close together but sees it as closure to a student’s academic achievements.

“It gives an opportunity for those that are leaving on vacation or transferring out of town a chance to wrap it all up and get it over with,” she said.

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