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Advice to Social Seniors

Related Link: Instructions for Remote Degree Finishers

Procession Rule: Swarthmore tradition and policy holds that in order to participate in Commencement exercises -- including robing, processing, and crossing the stage -- a senior must be completely finished with degree requirements and be approved by vote of the faculty, and graduate in the given year.

Social Seniors: Students who meet the following three criteria:  

  • will finish their academic requirements after this year's commencement in the Summer or Fall 
  • are in good academic and judicial standing
  • and are currently living on campus

may request to stay on campus as "social seniors" for Senior Week to celebrate their successes as well as the successes of their classmates.  If Senior Week housing must be requested through by no later than May 1st.
** Important Note: These students may not participate in the commencement ceremony. 


Here's how it works being a social senior:

  • Approved social seniors are  welcome to participate in senior week. 
  • For the in-person celebration, social seniors are not allowed to robe, process, sit with the class, or cross the stage.  The commencement seating area is open to graduates only, and the guest area is limited to their college approved  invited guests.
  • Social seniors must obtain the permission of the Student Affairs Division if they wish to attend senior week, etc. Use this form to request social senior status. For more information, please contact Michelle D. Ray, Associate Dean and Director of Case Management.
  • Social seniors follow the student conduct and Garnet Pledge guidelines for seniors.
  • Social seniors who violate policy during Senior Week may be asked by the College to leave campus.
  • Spring seniors who want to defer graduation in order to take advantage of a scholarship opportunity that requires they not be graduated follow the rules for social seniors. To defer graduation, email the registrar the intended date of graduation and obtain approval of the new date from your major chairs.
  • When you are completely finished, hopefully next year, you are welcome to return to robe and march at the commencement honoring your completion.
  • As soon as you become completely finished and this is documented for the registrar, the registrar can write an official letter certifying degree completion, and this letter normally has the force of the diploma with regard to employment and graduate school admission. In this way, we can acknowledge your fulfillment as soon as possible, even though technically you won't be graduated by the College until the next commencement after you are done.
  • Once graduated, you are welcome to inform the Alumni Office that you would like to be associated with your social class, and so invited to their events and so on. From many perspectives you will be the year of your social class, although technically your graduation year will be different.
  • Seniors meeting all academic requirements in the December prior to commencement are not considered social seniors and do not need approval to attend senior events, but if senior week and commencement housing is needed, you must apply through by no later than May 1st.

Remember to stay in touch with the registrar as you finish your degree. We look forward to your finishing and we are here to help as needed.