FAQs - Graduation/Commencement

Index:

What is the difference between Graduation and Commencement?

When is Commencement?

Does Commencement mean that is when I graduate?

Are students required to participate in Commencement?

Am I ready to apply to graduate?

I can’t remember if I submitted a graduation application

How do I know if I have been approved to graduate?

I do not see the program I want to graduate from when I run my DARS

Do I need to apply for graduation if I am not participating in Commencement?

Commencement tickets

How do I get my Commencement tickets?

Where do I get a cap & gown for Commencement?

What if I already have a cap & gown to use for Commencement?

Should I purchase a cord or stole?

What are the requirements to earn honors distinction?

How do I get my name on the Commencement List to be announced on stage?

How do I get my name in the Commencement Program?

Do I need to register to watch the Commencement ceremony online?

What if I am unable to watch the Commencement ceremony live online?

When are degrees awarded?

Why does it take so long to award my degree?

When are diplomas mailed to students?

Where are diplomas mailed to?

What is the difference between a diploma and an official transcript?

Who is the Commencement Coordinator?

 

What is the difference between Graduation and Commencement?

Graduation is the successful completion of all degree, diploma or certificate requirements and it is recorded on an official transcript. Students must apply to graduate. 
The graduation “date” is the semester and year that the student will complete all of the required courses and graduation requirements for their declared program. 

Commencement is the ceremony to celebrate the completion (or pending completion) of a degree, diploma or certificate. Riverland holds commencement in Spring every year for that academic year's Fall, Spring and Summer graduates.

When is Commencement?

Riverland holds commencement in Spring every year for that academic year’s graduates (Fall, Spring, Summer).

Commencement is held at Austin High School in the Knowlton Auditorium. Seating is limited. Ticket is required for auditorium seating. 1 person per ticket. 

Additional seating will be available in the Ove Berven Gym. A ticket is not required for gym seating. 

You can also watch online at www.riverland.edu/commencement

The ceremony will be recorded to watch at a later time if you are not able to watch live. Recordings are available until December of that graduation year. 

Does Commencement mean that is when I graduate?

No. The student’s graduation “date” is the semester and year that the student will complete all of the required courses and graduation requirements for their declared program – so attending commencement does not necessarily mean that you have graduated. Final grades need to be reviewed. (i.e. Students completing courses for their declared program in Summer can walk at Spring commencement, but do not graduate until Summer. Students that completed the courses for their declared program in Fall can walk at commencement in Spring, but they graduated in Fall.)

Are students required to participate in Commencement?

Commencement is not required to graduate, but we encourage all students to participate.

Am I ready to apply to graduate?

Run and review your Degree Audit Report (DARS) in e-services to see if you meet the requirements to apply for graduation. Here are instructions on How to Run your DARS

If your DARS indicates: ALL REQUIREMENTS COMPLETED--IN PROGRESS COURSES USED, you need to submit a graduation application.

If your DARS indicates: AT LEAST ONE REQUIREMENT HAS NOT BEEN SATISFIED, you do not meet the requirements to graduate and you should not submit a graduation application. Contact your academic advisor to discuss what you need to do to complete your program.  

Advisors' contact information is available on the Academic Advising Webpage.

I can’t remember if I submitted a graduation application

Check your Riverland email. Search for an email from No-Reply-RiverlandCC@mnsu.edu or search the words Application for Graduation. You can also ask your academic advisor to check into this for you.

How do I know if I have been approved to graduate?

You would have received an email from the Records and Registration Office after they reviewed your graduation application. Click here to make sure you are on the list to Graduate.

If you do not see your name on the list, but you believe you should be graduating, you may not have submitted a graduation application.

I do not see the program I want to graduate from when I run my DARS

You do not have the program declared. You must have the program declared to graduate. Do not submit a graduation application. Please submit the Change of Major form to declare the intended program.

You will get an email once the Change of Major form has been processed.

Run and review the DARS in e-services for the new program. If that DARS runs clean, you should then submit the graduation application for that program. If the DARS does not run clean, contact your Academic Advisor

Do I need to apply for graduation if I am not participating in Commencement?

Yes. All students must apply to graduate after they have registered for their final semester and have reviewed their DARS to be sure it runs clean. (See: How do I know if I have been approved to graduate above)

Commencement tickets

Each graduating student participating in commencement is provided with 5 tickets for up to 5 guests to sit in the auditorium during the commencement ceremony. Tickets are limited to 5 per participating student due to limited seating in the auditorium. All guests must have a ticket to enter the auditorium the day of Commencement. 1 person per ticket.   

Additional seating will be available in the gymnasium - no ticket is required for additional seating. 

We do stream and record the ceremony so you can watch it live online or at a later time.

How do I get my Commencement tickets?

When you purchase your cap & gown, you will receive 5 tickets for up to 5 guests to sit in the auditorium during the Commencement Ceremony. 

Where do I get a cap & gown for Commencement?

You purchase your cap & gown from the Austin East Bookstore or online. Deadline date to purchase must be met. (2024 fee for cap, gown and 1 tassel is $30.00 - price is subject to change) 

What if I already have a cap & gown to use for Commencement?

You must take the cap & gown to the Austin East Bookstore to get it approved for Commencement. You must get it approved before the deadline date to purchase a cap and gown in case it is not approved. 

Should I purchase a cord or stole?

Students who have achieved honors distinction as indicated by the GPA on their transcript may also purchase a cord or stole accordingly. Deadline date to purchase must be met. (2024 cost is $15.00 for a stole and $10.00 for a cord - price is subject to change)

The Bookstore will have a list indicating which students meet honors status. Student must be on this honor's list to purchase a cord or stole. 

What are the requirements to earn honors distinction?

High Distinction: 3.75 – 4.00 cumulative GPA - gold stole

Distinction: 3.25 – 3.74 cumulative GPA - gold cord

For Commencement purposes only: we will use the cumulative GPA from the student’s most recently completed term (typically the previous Fall semester) to determine who will be recognized at Commencement as a Distinction or High Distinction graduate.

Once final grades post, honors status may change either way – meet it or no longer meet it.

The GPA that will determine if honors status is printed on the student’s transcript or not is the cumulative gpa after ALL final grades have been posted for the student’s final semester and all courses are complete for all programs the student is graduating from.

How do I get my name on the Commencement List to be announced on stage?

When you purchase your cap & gown at the Bookstore, they will put your name on the Commencement List. Deadline date must be met. 

How do I get my name in the Commencement Program?

By submitting a graduation application by the deadline date. The application must be approved/meet graduation requirements to have your name listed in the program. You do not need to participate in Commencement to get your name in the program.

Do I need to register to watch the Commencement ceremony online?

No, you do not need to register. Simply go to www.riverland.edu/commencement to watch the ceremony live on the day of commencement or watch it later. 

What if I am unable to watch the Commencement ceremony live online?

The commencement ceremony is recorded and will be accessible at www.riverland.edu/commencement until December of that graduation year.

When are degrees awarded?

We start awarding degrees approximately 1 week after the semester ends and it takes roughly 3-4 days to get all of the eligible degrees awarded.

Why does it take so long to award my degree?

After the semester ends, faculty have 2 business days to post final grades. After final grades have been posted, the Records and Registration Office needs to run semester-end reports and then they can start awarding degrees. Nothing can be awarded until these steps have been taken.

When are diplomas mailed to students?

After degrees have been awarded, we need to order the diplomas.

  • Fall diplomas are mailed in January
  • Spring diplomas are mailed in June
  • Summer diplomas are mailed in September

Diplomas are then ordered and mailed out within approximately 6-8 weeks. 

Where are diplomas mailed to?

Diplomas are sent to the student’s permanent address listed on file with Riverland. Please check your permanent address in e-services under the Account Management tab, then Name and Address Info tab to be sure your permanent address is accurate. If it isn’t correct, please use the edit option to update it.

What is the difference between a diploma and an official transcript?

The diploma is an acknowledgement of your accomplishment and is something that you can frame and hang on the wall.

The official transcript is the document that potential employers will ask for to verify that your degree is official and has been awarded. There is a charge to order an official transcript and it must remain sealed in the envelope to remain official.
(Students can run an unofficial transcript in e-services under the Academic Records tab.)

Who is the Commencement Coordinator?

Haley Bauer
haley.bauer@riverland.edu