What Does it Mean to Matriculate?

To matriculate is to enter into a school’s degree program and register for a specific degree with the aim of completing the academic requirements to be conferred with that degree. In other words, to matriculate means a student who has been accepted for admission to the college  and is pursuing courses toward their degree. Most US-based universities and colleges don’t involve any special matriculation ceremonies. However, a handful of older institutions continue to host more formal matriculation ceremonies, where arriving students are occasionally made to sign matriculation registers. Such registers hold the signature of every other matriculating student in a particular year. Some medical schools too may have special matriculation ceremonies, like the white coat ceremonies for first-year medical students at the UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) School of Medicine.

The term “matriculate” is often confused with “graduate” as some believe both to mean the same. However, they’re different. The term “matriculate” is typically used to describe the act of enrolling or registering as a student at a college  or university. In contrast, a student who finishes his degree course and is awarded the degree is a graduate.

It’s important For students to know why they should or shouldn’t go to a college  and the difference between matriculated and non-matriculated status. Someone who just wants to take a few classes for fun or plans to learn a particular skill by taking a course or two can decide to be a non-matriculated student. However, someone who wants to further their knowledge and position themselves better in the job market by working towards a degree should get matriculated.

Even when a student isn’t fairly sure that they want to earn a degree, which specific course of study they should ideally pursue, or which majors to choose, becoming a matriculated student is their best bet. Career counselors or academic advisors at their chosen colleges and universities can help students get clarity about their career paths and even weigh available choices, thus helping them find the right direction in life. This means students who haven’t yet decided on or figured the nitty-gritty of their future degree courses too should try to get matriculated.

When it comes to financial aid to cover study-related expenses, matriculated students can get it easily, provided they’re able to prove their financial need and meet other conditions of eligibility. However, non-matriculated students often find it harder to receive such aids.

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