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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: On the other hand, if you are not graduating this year, Swarthmore encourages spring-semester seniors who are almost finished with their degrees or otherwise do not intend to graduate, to stay on campus as "social seniors" and celebrate their successes as well as the successes of their classmates.

Here's how it works being a social senior:

  • Social seniors are normally welcome to participate in senior week, and to attend commencement as a member of the audience at LPAC. 
  • For the commencement ceremonies, social seniors are not allowed to robe, process, sit with the class, cross the stage, or sit in the amphitheater.  The commencement marching order and seating order is fixed for graduates only, and amphitheater space is limited to graduates and their ticketed guests.
  • Social seniors and their families are welcome to participate in other Commencement weekend events, including Baccalaureate, at which social seniors may process and sit with graduating seniors.
  • Social seniors must obtain the permission of the senior class dean if they wish to attend senior week, etc.
  • Social seniors follow the residence life guidelines for seniors.
    • For more information about residence life options for social seniors, please contact that office directly.
  • 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.

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.