Academic InformationFAQ

Graduation & Commencement Frequently Asked Questions

Graduation Eligibility

  • How do I know if I am eligible to graduate?
    Candidates for graduation must meet all academic requirements. All graduation candidates must complete a written application to graduate.
  • How do I apply for graduation?
    Degree Applications are available in the Admissions Office on the main campus and at all outreach centers.  An electronic copy of the Degree Application can also be downloaded and submitted to the Enrollment Center nearest you.
  • Is there a deadline to submit my degree application?
    Yes, degree applications must be submitted by the following dates; October 1 for fall degree completion, March 1 for spring degree completion and July 1 for summer degree completion.
  • Do I have to pay a fee to graduate?
    No. Cowley College does not charge a fee to graduate. 


About Commencement

  • What is Commencement?
    Commencement is the formal ceremony which recognizes and celebrates graduation candidates. Students, who completed degree requirements in July and December, as well as those who expect to complete their requirements in May and July, will be invited to participate in the Spring Commencement Ceremony.
  • When is Commencement?
    Commencement is typically scheduled for a Saturday in May. AA & AGS degrees are awarded at 10:00 a.m., and AAS, AS, and Certificates are awarded at 2:00 p.m.
  • What if I am awarded multiple degrees?

    Students awarded multiple degrees but are split between commencement ceremonies must choose one ceremony to participate. Please notify the registrar's office when you plan to participate.

  • Where will Commencement be held?
    Commencement will be held at the W.S. Scott Auditorium located at the corner of 2nd Street and Fifth Avenue on the main campus in Arkansas City. Check the master calendar for the exact date.
  • Are tickets required for graduates or guests?
    Tickets are not required of graduates or their guests. You may invite as many guests as you wish to the Commencement Ceremony, seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Doors will open to the public one hour and thirty minutes prior to a ceremony. Individuals needing special parking and seating accommodations, should plan to arrive 30 minutes before a ceremony as this space is limited. All guests should be seated 10 minutes prior to the start of the academic procession which begins promptly at 5 minutes before a ceremony.
  • How long does the Commencement Ceremony last?
    The Commencement Ceremony will last at least one hour.


Participating in Commencement

  • Is there a fee to participate in the Commencement Ceremony?
    Graduation candidates who choose to participate in the Commencement Ceremony are not required to pay an additional fee.
  • Will there be a rehearsal for the Commencement Ceremony?
    No. Candidates for graduation will receive instructions immediately preceding the Commencement Ceremony. 
  • When and where do I go for the processional line-up?
    Report to the Brown Center Theatre 45 minutes prior to a ceremony. College staff will be on hand to assist you with finding your assigned seat. ONLY graduates will be allowed to enter the theatre. All graduates must be in their seats 20 minutes before a ceremony for final announcements and instructions. The academic procession will begin promptly at 5 minutes before a ceremony, leading all graduates to the W.S. Scott Auditorium for the Commencement Ceremony.
  • Where can I leave my belongings during the Commencement ceremony?
    Please be aware that Cowley College is unable to provide storage space to hold candidates' personal belongings on the day of Commencement. Please only bring your cap, gown and tassel.
  • Will I be recognized individually at Commencement?
    All graduation candidates will process across the stage to be recognized individually. Actual diplomas will be mailed at a later date.
  • Will my name be in the Commencement Program?
    The program will list the names of all students who have completed the degree application and been approved for graduation. Your name will be listed as it exists in your student record.  If you have changes to your name, please contact the Registrar’s Office to be sure the correct information was included on your Degree Application. The Commencement Program is sent to the printer several weeks prior to the ceremony, and changes to the program will not be accepted after that time.
  • Will my picture be taken at Commencement?
    Cowley College has contracted with an independent photography company that will take pictures of graduates as they receive their diploma covers. Following graduation, graduates will receive information directly from the photography company about the option to purchase photos.


Cap, Gown and Tassel

  • How do I order my cap, gown and tassel?
    When you submit your degree application, you will be asked to indicate whether or not you plan to participate in the Commencement Ceremony. If you answer YES to this question, a cap, gown and tassel will be automatically ordered for you.
  • What is the cost for my cap, gown and tassel?
    For those students who choose to participate in the Commencement Ceremony, there is no additional charge for the cap, gown and tassel.
  • When and where can I pick up my cap, gown and tassel?
    Commencement apparel will be available for pickup two weeks preceding the Commencement Ceremony.  Your apparel will be available for pickup at the Bookstore location you requested on your degree application; either the Ark City Bookstore or the Wichita Downtown Bookstore. Please contact the Cowley Bookstore if you are unsure where your apparel will be available for pickup.
  • Which side do I wear my tassel on?
    Before graduating, your tassel should be placed on your right. After all graduates are individually recognized, you will be instructed to move your tassel to the left.
  • Am I required to return my cap, gown and tassel after the Commencement Ceremony?
    No. Graduates are not required to return their cap, gown and tassel following the Commencement Ceremony.


Special Accommodations

Graduates attending the Commencement Ceremony who need special accommodations should contact the Student Accessibility manager. Individuals needing special parking and seating accommodations, should plan to arrive before 9:30 a.m. as this space is limited.



  • How do I determine if I am eligible to graduate with honors?
    Honor Graduates are those Associate Degree candidates who have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.75 or better and have completed at least 30 credit hours of Cowley College course work. All honor graduates will receive their honor cords with their cap, gown and tassel. If you have questions concerning your eligibility to graduate with honors, please contact the Registrar’s Office.
  • How do I obtain an honor stole for the honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, of which I am a member?
    Graduating members of Phi Theta Kappa who have maintained a 3.25 grade point average are given the honor of wearing the Phi Theta Kappa honor stole at graduation. You may purchase your own personal stole to keep at or rent the stole from the local Phi Theta Kappa chapter for a $25 deposit check. After graduation, if the stole is returned in the same condition in which it was rented out, the $25 check is returned to the student. See PTK Sponsors Deborah Layton or Scott Layton  to reserve your stole.


Graduation Announcements

  • Are graduation announcements available to purchase?
    The Cowley Bookstore has contracted with CB Announcements to provide graduates with quality personalized graduation announcements. Graduates may order by phone at (800) 433-0296 or online at For your convenience, announcement samples are on display at the Ark City Bookstore, Wichita Downtown Center, Mulvane Center and can also be viewed online.



  • When will I receive my diploma?
    Graduates will NOT receive a diploma at the Commencement Ceremony. All diplomas will be mailed approximately 4-6 weeks after degree completion. ALL ACCOUNTS MUST BE SETTLED IN FULL BEFORE DIPLOMAS CAN BE RELEASED AND TRANSCRIPTS SENT.



  • Who can I contact if I have questions about Commencement?
    If you have additional questions about Commencement that have not been addressed on this page, feel free to e-mail the Registrar’s Office.