Need to apply for graduation? Here is what you have to know


Grant Tetmeyer/Iowa State Daily

President Wendy Wintersteen addresses the graduates at the Spring 2019 Graduate Commencement ceremony at Hilton Coliseum on May 9. The ceremony was for students graduating with a Master or PhD degree. 

For students who are nearing the end of their college career the actual process behind applying for graduation can often be overlooked.

The Iowa State Daily met up with Abbie Suntken, interim assistant registrar for certification and eligibility, to discuss everything students need to know about graduation.

Where can students apply?

To begin the application process, students must go through Access Plus on the graduation tab, then click the application tab to apply.

Suntken said students will get access to apply for the term before their graduation. Spring graduates have had access since fall 2022 and can apply up until the last date of the term.

Megan Langel, a marketing student who graduated in fall 2022, stated in an email response that even though she could not attend the fall ceremony, her experience with preparing to graduate was very simple.

“Applying for graduation was super quick and simple,” Langel stated in an email to the Iowa State Daily. “I received an email, followed the instructions and quickly applied for graduation. If I can remember, I think I was approved within a couple of weeks.”

Suntken said students will receive an email stating that their application was approved within a couple of weeks or sooner.

Where can students pick up their cap and gowns, cords and diplomas?

Students can preorder their cap and gown through the ISU Bookstore website or get their cap and gown at the bookstore without ordering.

Each college has a different color tassel that students can get at the ISU Bookstore when they get their cap and gown.

Colleges and their respective tassel colors:

  • Agriculture and Life Sciences students wear maize tassels.
  • Business students wear drab tassels.
  • Design students wear brown tassels.
  • Engineering students wear orange tassels.
  • Human Sciences students wear maroon tassels.
  • Students with Liberal Arts and Sciences Bachelor of Liberal Studies and Bachelor of Arts degrees wear white tassels.
  • Students with Liberal Arts and Sciences Bachelor of Sciences degrees wear gold tassels.
  • Music majors wear pink tassels.
  • Graduate students wear black tassels.

Suntken said students that receive cords should receive an email from the department they are receiving it from stating where and when they can pick them up.

Diplomas will be issued three weeks after graduation and received in the mail a month after they are issued.

Where and when is graduation and what if students can not attend?

There are three ceremonies for undergraduate graduation, with separate ceremonies for veterinary medicine as well as graduate school. Dates and times for each college are listed below:

  • May 13 at 9 a.m.: Agriculture and Business
  • May 13 at 2 p.m.: Engineering and Design
  • May 13 at 7 p.m.: LAS and Human Sciences
  • May 11 at 7 p.m.: Masters and Doctoral
  • May 12 at 1 p.m.: Vet Med

Suntken said no rehearsal is held before graduation, adding that all information regarding topics such as parking, time and date will be sent through email.

If a student cannot attend their graduation ceremony, they are welcome to attend the next term’s graduation. To do so, students should notify graduation services at [email protected].

If students do not want to attend a graduation ceremony, Suntken says there is no requirement to walk.

For more information, visit or email [email protected]