Students graduating this year have been given mixed messages by Graduation Services and photography company Ede & Ravenscroft, after the company introduced a time slot bookings service halfway through the booking period.
Students received an email on April 19 inviting them to book their photography and robes. It was advised they book these in advance to avoid missing out.
An email was then received on June 13, advising students to book a time slot when purchasing their photography order. When asked how to amend an order to include a time slot, students were informed they could not add a time slot if they had booked before the “brand new service” was created.
An Ede & Ravescroft sales assistant seemed unaware of the change in booking, however, and informed some students there was no time slot booking service available.
When questioned on this, the Graduation Services team advised this was not the case, and Ede & Ranescroft has now said time slots cannot be added to existing orders.
One student, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Well, to begin with, given how ridiculously expensive the hiring of the robes and pictures is, I would have expected that there wouldn’t be any problems. Yet, as this is Stirling University and every minor event is multiplied into a chaotic frenzy, I wasn’t surprised to be honest.”
Graduation Services gave a “top tip” to those who booked early and missed out on booking a time slot, to arrive before their ceremony to avoid queuing for photographs after their ceremony.
However, students graduating at the morning ceremonies have complained this would mean relatives and guests arriving at an extremely early time.
The university has asked for those graduating at morning ceremonies to pick up their robes between 8am and 9am, and to be at the Cramond Sports Hall at 9am for their 10am ceremony.
Jacqueline Boland, a journalism student, said: “I couldn’t even consider getting photographs because I simply cannot pay for it. It would be a nice thing to share with my family, but after already paying up to £200 on graduation costs on top of £50,000 of debt for going to university, it just wasn’t an option.”
Some students have had success in amending their order by reviewing their order on Ede & Ravenscroft’s website, however many remain bewildered as to what the current situation is.
Kirsty Grossart, a graduand, said: “It is annoying that the people who were trying to be organised and book photography early weren’t given the option to book time slots, and now it seems like we’re going to have to jump through hoops to get a time slot organised.”
At the time of writing, Ede & Ravenscroft’s website states on the issue of time slots: “Due to the nature of the day, it is impossible to offer a booking system. We operate on a first come first served basis, so it is advisable to arrive early.
“If you pre-order you will avoid queuing for the sales desk. It tends to get busy just before and just after a ceremony. It also gets busy in between ceremonies held on the same day.
“If you intend to have family photography taken as well as those of yourself, please make sure all your family is with you when you attend – they cannot be taken at different times. We will provide you with a scroll to hold.”
Suzie Higgins, head of events at Stirling University, apologised for the communication breakdown, and assured students there would be “multiple” studios available on the day for students who had time slots booked, and for early bookings without time slots.
She also assured those who had not booked ahead there would be a first come first served studio for those students.
In total, cost for graduating as an undergraduate is over £100; robes cost just over £40, with the photography costing between £30 and £395. On top of that is the £50 cost for graduating at the ceremony.
Students will be hoping the situation is fixed before graduation on June 28 and 29.