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What should I do to prepare for Graduation?

There are a number of things you must do to prepare for graduation. Some of these are printed below:

- Work closely with your advisor to make certain you have taken all required courses.
- Pay the graduation fee.
- Obtain letters of support from the OISSS for family members needing visitor visas to enter the United States to attend your graduation ceremony.
- Contemplate the future:

Will you return home?
- Remember that you have a 60 day grace period in which to leave the country after graduation.

Will you continue your education at Norfolk State?
- Complete the Program Competition form and return it to the DSO along with new financial documents so a new
I-20 can be issued to you.

Will you continue your education at another institution?
- Complete the Program Completion Form as well as the Transfer Out form so that the ISS office can coordinate the
transfer of your SEVIS record.

Will you work under optional practical training?
- Apply for optional practical training (OPT) three months prior to program completion.
- Plan to travel outside the United States before OPT is approved or after you have obtained employment.
- See Travel and OPT for more information.

Do you need to obtain licensure in your field of work?
- Talk to your academic advisor about what is required.
- Notify the DSO of your plans after graduation by completing a Program Completion Form.
- Complete a Program Evaluation Form so that OISSS can improve its services.
- Go over the checklist on this page to organize your departure.

Graduation Checklist

Whether you are departing the United States after graduation or practical training, please consider some of the following suggestions for organizing your documents and possessions.

Housing and Household Goods

If you are housed on campus: Review the Office of Residence Life and Housing’s procedures and policies for preparing your room for departure.

If you live off campus:

Notify your landlord, in writing, of your departure date, giving at least one month’s notice unless otherwise specified by your lease. If you have paid a security deposit, ask for a checklist of all that must be done in order to secure the full return of your deposit. Make clear arrangements as to when and to whom the deposit will be returned.

Notify all utility companies---telephone, gas, electric, cable, internet--- of your departure date and arrange for final payment and refund of any deposit.

Make arrangements for temporary storage of personal items. See the Yellow Pages under “Storage” for small rental units.

Donate reusable items such as clothing, furniture, appliances, and dishes to charitable resale shops such as Goodwill Industries or the Salvation Army. Many of these organizations will pick up your donations if you call ahead of your departure.


Leave a forwarding address/notification of address change with the International Student Services, the Registrar, and the post office. If you plan to be away for only a few weeks or months, you may ask the post office to hold your mail for you until your return. Companies from which you expect a bill should be notified individually, as well.

Determine whether your medical insurance will cover travel or health care emergencies encountered during travel within and outside the United States, and check dates of coverage.

Settle your University account. Return all library materials and other borrowed items.

Obtain official copies of your transcript, diploma, and other important documents such as medical, dental, and children’s school records if you are leaving the United States.

Close your bank account officially rather than allowing the balance to drop to zero. You should do this in writing!

Arrange to ship your personal items. Check with your particular air carrier regarding the maximum weight allowed for luggage. You should retain a packing list of items that you mail, and it is suggested that you insure any difficult-to-replace items. Check with UPS, the US Postal Service to determine the least expensive and/or most convenient way to ship your belongings. Mail and package delivery services offer various rates (US Postal Service discounts for a box of all books, for example) for particular items if you pack your boxes according to their guidelines.

Discuss with the IRS any income tax obligations you must fulfill after your departure if you are graduating or will be away from the University in the year ahead.

Arrange for the sale or transfer of your vehicle. Consult the Bureau of Motor Vehicles about the transfer of legal documents if someone else will complete the transaction after your departure. Do not leave your old license plates on any car you sell!

Get complete address, fax and telephone numbers, and email for faculty, staff, and friends.

Contact the Alumni Association to establish yourself within the network of NSU graduates.