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Iowa State Daily

Here’s the memo: Applying for graduation, commencement

David Boschwitz/Iowa State Daily
Cy the cardinal, dressed in a graduation cap and gown, looks over the graduating seniors during fall 2018 graduation on Dec. 15.

In just over a month, members of the Iowa State spring class of 2024 will walk across the stage, caps on heads, diplomas in hand. Getting to the point of graduating involves, for many, sleepless nights of studying, friends made in class and unforgettable memories made.

Students who have completed the requirements for the desired degrees must submit an application for graduation through AccessPlus. 

The deadline to submit undergraduate graduation applications is May 10 for those graduating in the spring and Aug. 2 for those graduating in the summer. 

Students also must sign up to attend university ceremonies and college convocations. The sign-up for those events, as well as diploma delivery options, is located under the graduation tab in AccessPlus. 

According to Ben Noack, an academic advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, everything for this spring is the same as in previous years, and the process will change in the fall with the new information system, Workday. 

Official diplomas will be delivered about two months after graduation. 

Students are permitted to walk across the stage even if they have not completed all their degree requirements. Graduates may walk early for several reasons, according to Abbie Suntken, a specialist with the Office of the Registrar, including student teaching, early job or intern start dates or return trips home for international students. 

Students who fall sick or miss commencement for another reason are welcome to walk across the stage at a later commencement.  

Suntken and Noack said a common reminder or misconception that students can miss is the multiple forms required rather than the application itself for graduation. 

“Most students go, ‘I’ve applied for graduation. I got my status. I’m good,’” Suntken said. “Well, there’s a separate form called the diploma ceremony form in AccessPlus that students who want to attend a university commencement ceremony, a college convocation or reception want to put in their diploma mailing information, all that is done on this form.”

Noack and Suntken emphasized that anything graduating students or families could need to know is listed on the registrar’s website

“Anything that we can think of that might be helpful for students the day of we try to put on our website and also send out an email multiple times throughout the semester,” Suntken said. 

Times of graduation ceremonies can be found here, as can the links to livestream the ceremonies. 

  • Graduate College: Thursday, May 9 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Veterinary Medicine: Friday, May 10 at 1:00 p.m.
  • Undergraduate Ceremony #1 (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Business): Saturday, May 11 at 9:00 a.m.
  • Undergraduate Ceremony #2 (College of Design and College of Engineering): Saturday, May 11 at 2:00 p.m.
  • Undergraduate Ceremony #3 (College of Human Sciences and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences): Saturday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m.

The undergraduate ceremonies are expected to each last approximately 2.5 hours. There are no tickets for graduation ceremonies. 


Graduation gowns and hats are to be black, with other attire permitted for religious, cultural or military distinction. 

According to the Office of the Registrar website, the bookstore “will always have product in stock to purchase without wait.”

Cap and gowns can be pre-ordered through the ISU Bookstore or purchased in-store. 

Students who earn cords will receive emails with more details. 

Tassel colors are expected to be consistent with the college of graduation, with the colleges assigned the following colors: 

  • Masters: Black
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Maize
  • College of Business: Drab
  • College of Design: Brown
  • College of Engineering: Orange
  • College of Human Sciences: Maroon
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences bachelor’s of art and bachelor’s of liberal studies: White
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences bachelor’s of science: Gold
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Music): Pink

Students with questions regarding the graduation progress and application requirements can visit the Undergraduate Graduation Checklist

Noack said one thing that he finds students may worry about approaching graduation day is the acceptance of their transfer credits. 

“Something that worries students for a while is if they have transfer credits that haven’t transferred in yet,” Noack said. “They will continue to get warning messages about not meeting their graduation requirements until those transfer credits come in. As long as those transfer credits come in the spring, everything works out fine.”

Students who received financial aid or certain loans are required to do exit interviews to have their transcripts officially released. Learn more from the registrar.

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