Graduation season is a hectic time for any college campus. Between organizing commencement activities and processing a pile of forms,college administrators are busy with a handful of tasks. Graduations occur twice a year on college campuses. While the summer ceremonies are a much bigger to-do, many students graduate at the end of fall semester in the month of December. USA Today pointed out that there are many benefits to this early graduation date. Students receiving their diplomas in December can improve job opportunities, save money on tuition expenses and earn themselves some extra time to prep for grad school.

Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that college offices across the country are prepping for their December graduates. The completion of a degree requires many forms for both students and administrators. Some forms are needed before graduation and others may be required years down the road. As we've pointed out with transfer and academic forms, college graduation forms are a big potential market for distributors: Between the forms themselves and the actual diplomas, print suppliers can find a steady source of business during graduation periods. Without further ado, here are the top five most common graduation forms (pre and post) on college campuses.

  • Application for graduation: Before graduation even begins all students are expected to apply for graduation. While most schools offer an online version of this form, almost every college has a print option. The form essentially lays out the details of graduation. From the semester a student plans to graduate to the way they want their name to appear on their diplomas, this form takes care of the little details. Schools that don't actually provide diplomas on graduation day will require students to specify where they want their diploma mailed.
  • Change of expected graduation date: There a million and one reasons why a student might have to change their graduation date. Whether it is unexpectedly fulfilling their degree requirements early or an unforeseen missing credit, every graduating class as a handful of students that need to make a change. This form requires a few crucial bits of information, including the initially expected graduation date, the new one, student ID number and reasoning. The student then needs to get the form signed by the relevant administrators. Most often, these forms require an advisor and dean's signature.
  • Walkthrough petition: Walking in a college graduation is the official "I-made-it" moment of a student's academic career. Many students want to be able to enjoy the event with their classmates by their side. As such, undergrads who are forced to take a later graduation date often submit requests to walk with their original class. The student would not receive their diploma; however, they would get to experience their graduation day with their peers. Different schools have different requirements for this petition. Some schools require a certain amount of credits. Others require varying levels of approval. All forms have basic traits such as student information, current degree or degrees and the ceremony they are requesting to walk in.
  • Transcript request forms: Transcripts can be required for a variety of reasons. Whether students are thinking or pursuing grad school or just want records to prove their academic achievements to future employers, transcripts are a recurring necessity in post-grad life. Thus, the transcript request form exists. The form requires the requester to identify him or herself via Social Security number or student ID number. From there, the form asks for information about the pupil's time at the institution and specifies the restrictions on the delivery of these files. Graduates can choose to pick the form up from the college or have the forms sent to their current address.
  • Request for replacement/duplicate diploma: The fruits of all academic efforts lie in a single piece of paper: the graduation diploma. While we hope no one loses this pricey piece of paper, it definitely happens. As such, colleges created a request form for replacement diplomas. The new diploma usually costs alumni a small fee and the form requires information necessary for a verification process. There are sections designated for dates of attendance, the degree received and honors. Applicant must then provide information regarding where they would like their new diploma shipped. Colleges usually provide some clarification about when they should expect to receive their diplomas.

Clearly, the college market can be a fruitful target for print industry leaders looking to generate new business. Graduation forms are not the only print product in demand. As we mentioned in the first two posts in this series, academic forms and transcripts are high-volume, repeatable products for print distributors as well. In the volatile digital era, print salespeople can garner steady new business by looking to college markets.