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Graduation and Commencement FAQ

Application for Graduation

Q. I think that I will be eligible to graduate soon. What do I do?

A. You will want to make an appointment with your academic advisor to go over your degree plan and advising worksheet and make sure you are on track to graduate. If you think you will be eligible for an upcoming graduation you will need to complete a graduation application. To be eligible to graduate a student must have a minimum 120 semester hours, have met all General Education, Major, Upper Level and Writing Intensive requirements and have a minimum cumulative (career) grade point average of 2.0 and a major grade point average of 2.0.

Q. Do I have to complete any paper work to graduate?

A. You must submit an Application for Graduation according to the following dates – August Graduation: April 1 – June 15; December Graduation and Commencement: July 1 – September 15; May Graduation and Commencement: November 15 – January 15. The graduation application fee is $100.00. This fee is non-refundable but only has to be paid one time.

Q. Does the Graduation Fee change if I won’t be attending the ceremony?

A. No. All graduates are required to pay the fee.

Q. What does the graduation fee cover?

A. The graduation fee covers your cap and gown, diploma and diploma cover. It also helps defray the costs of printing the commencement bulletin, printing tickets and ticket vouchers, honor cords, mailing of diplomas to graduates not attending the commencement ceremony, the extra security required for the ceremony of this type.

Q. Can I order a replacement diploma?

A. Yes, you can order a replacement diploma for $30.00. Diploma fees are non-refundable and do not carry over to a later graduation date.

Q. Can a student participate in commencement but not be eligible to graduate?

A. A student may march in the Commencement Ceremony only if he or she has completed all requirements for the degree and has a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher and a GPA in the major of 2.0 or higher at the time of Commencement. A student whose application for graduation was approved but, due to failing a course or receiving an incomplete grade in coursework for the current semester, may be permitted to march in the Commencement Ceremony as a "participant" if the student has no more than six (6) semester hours of credit remaining to be earned for degree completion.

Q. What is the deadline to have all my coursework completed in order to graduate?

A. In order to graduate, the Registrar’s Office must have all grades, final transcripts and official DSST/CLEP score reports no later than 9:00 a.m. on the day before Commencement. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Q. What correspondence concerning graduation will I be receiving from the college?

A1. If the Registrar’s Office determines that you have outstanding requirements that are not detailed on the “Remaining Requirements” section of the graduation application at the time you apply for graduation you will be contacted either by the Registrar’s Office or your academic advisor. Please note that the final responsibility for meeting all academic and graduation requirements rests with the student.

A2. You will receive a Dear Degree Candidate letter from the Office of the President that will outline Commencement Guest Information, Information for the Graduate, and Commencement Weekend Events. This information is also posted on the college’s web page.

A3. You will be contacted by Student Accounts if you have an outstanding balance. The college will not release official transcripts or diplomas to students with an outstanding balance. Graduates can participate in the ceremony but will not be able to receive their diploma or official transcript until all outstanding balances to the college are paid. 

Commencement Information for Graduates and Guests

Q. How many guests may I bring?

A. Each graduate may request up to 3 vouchers for the reserved seating of their guests. Ticket vouchers may be picked up at Graduation Fairs. The deadline for voucher pickup is usually two weeks before commencement. The College is not responsible for lost or misplaced vouchers. Replacement vouchers will not be available. Vouchers will be accepted for tickets the day of Commencement. Vouchers will not be accepted for entrance. There is no overflow seating.

Q. May I bring my children?

A. We discourage bringing children who are younger than 5 years old.  The college does not provide nursery or childcare facilities. If you bring children under five, they do not have to have a ticket, but they must sit in someone’s lap. Children six years and older must have a ticket. As a courtesy to others, if your child begins to cry or otherwise distract audience members during the ceremony, please escort the child to the lobby.

Q. When do I order my cap and gown?

A. Cap and gown packages can be picked up during the Graduation Fair or from the College Store.

Q. What time should the graduates arrive for the Commencement ceremony?

A. The candidates for graduation should arrive at the Dunn Center – Carlton Board Room (South Entrance) no later than one hour prior to the start of the commencement ceremony. At that time, you will pick up your Name Card, commencement program, seat number for the Carlton Board Room and honors cord, if eligible. Your Name Card will indicate if you will be receiving honors. Do not lose the Name Card; you will need this card for the ceremony. Please note that only graduates will be allowed to enter the Dunn Center at this entrance.

Q. What time should the guests arrive?

A. Guests may pick up ticket vouchers two hours prior to commencement. Dunn Center doors will open one hour prior to the start of the commencement ceremony and all guests should be seated 15 minutes prior to the start of the commencement ceremony.

Q. Can my guests take pictures?

A. Yes, with the following caveats: Guests are not allowed to enter the graduate seating or staging area, are asked not to interrupt the flow of the processional by having their graduates stop and pose for pictures, may not use tripods, and must stay in the upper seating area. A professional photographer will take your picture as you walk across the stage during Commencement. This picture will be available for purchase from the photography agency. 

Q. I will be in a wheelchair or on crutches; can I still participate in the ceremony?

A. Absolutely. Just contact the Registrar’s Office in the weeks prior to the ceremony so that we are aware of your needs. At the ceremony, you will be given specific instructions on where to sit and when to enter the line to cross the stage.

Q. Is special seating available for handicapped guests?

A. If you have guests who require handicapped seating, please contact the President’s Office at 252-985-5140 no later than one month prior to commencement. There is handicapped parking available on the north and south sides of the Dunn Center.

The Commencement Ceremony

Q. How long does the ceremony usually last?

A. Approximately two hours depending on the number of graduates.

Q. Will there be any kind of rehearsal?

A. No. However, the Registrar will review the procedures of the ceremony with the graduates prior to the processional.

Q. What if I am running late?

A. Please make every effort to be on time, as the logistics of the day require the coordination of a large number of people and resources. If you are late, you may be seated at the Registrar’s discretion. 

Q. Where do I put my purse or other valuables during the ceremony? 

A. The college does not provide a secure location to leave purses, bags, coats and is not responsible for items left unattended.

Q. Do I have to wear stockings and closed toe shoes or a suit jacket?

A. No. You should dress comfortably but in a fashion suitable for the dignity of the day. There is lots of walking up and down steps so we would not recommend high heels for the ladies. Black shoes are recommended.

Q. May I decorate my hat?

A. No. To keep with the unified look of the regalia, and dignity of the day, we ask that you not append or modify your cap or gown.

Q. What if I cannot attend the ceremony?

A. Graduates in Absentia will have their diplomas mailed to their permanent address the week after the ceremony. Please be sure that the college has your correct address.

Q. When do I get my diploma?

A. Diplomas are handed out during the ceremony. When you walk across the stage, those students that have completed all graduation requirements will receive their diploma from the President.

Q. What are the procedures for walking across the stage to receive a diploma?

A. Graduate will be seated in the front of the auditorium.   When the time for awarding of the degrees arrives, the marshals will instruct the first row of graduates to stand and move towards the stage. The graduate goes up the steps and hands the Name Card to the Dean, the graduate then turns and faces the audience to be hooded. The Dean then announces the graduate’s name. The graduate then walks across the stage, shakes hands with the President, is handed a diploma case, shakes the hand of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, goes off the stage, back to their seat and sits down.

Graduation is a joyous and special occasion. It is a time for celebration and merriment. You are reminded, however, that Commencement is a formal College function. You and your guests are requested to maintain the order and solemnity of the proceedings. It is a courtesy we owe to each other and our guests.

Q. Hooded?

A. A hood is a component of academic dress that is ceremoniously placed over the graduate’s head by one of the Divisional Chairs during the commencement ceremony.

Q. When do graduates turn the tassel?

A. Undergraduates wear their tassel on the right side. During the ceremony the President of the Alumni Society will instruct the graduates to ceremoniously move their tassel from the right to the left.

Q. What if I find out at the last minute that I cannot attend the commencement ceremony?

A. Please contact the Registrar’s Office as soon as possible to let them know you will not be able to attend.

Q. What other events are held for graduates?

A. A Senior Celebration Reception is usually held on the Friday night before commencement. Information on this events is included in this section of the webpage.

Degrees with Distinction

Q. What are the criteria for graduating with distinction?

A. Degrees with distinction are determined by cumulative (career) grade point average. A student must have earned a minimum of 60 semester hours of credit with Wesleyan, of which at least 48 are on the “A-F” grading system, to qualify for honors. Semester hours awarded from standardized exams, such as CLEP and DSST, are not included in the calculation of the 60 semester hours.

  • SUMMA CUM LAUDE: A degree candidate must attain a cumulative average of not less than 3.8, with no “F” grades.
  • MAGNA CUM LAUDE: A degree candidate must attain a cumulative average of not less than 3.60, with no “F” grades.
  • CUM LAUDE: A degree candidate must attain a cumulative average of not less than 3.40. 
  • TRANSER HONORS: To qualify for honors as a transfer student, 30-59 semester hours on the “A-F” grading system with Wesleyan are required. A student must attain a 3.50 grade point average at Wesleyan, with no “F” grades.

Q. What do distinctive graduates receive?

A. Distinctive graduates wear a cord over their gown and are recognized as they cross the stage. Their honor is posted on their diploma and transcript. Honor cords are distributed during graduate check-in prior to the ceremony.


Q. How will my name appear on my diploma?

A. The name on your diploma is determined by the name you posted on your graduation application. This is also the name printed in the commencement bulletin and used for check-in.

Q. Will my major(s) be listed on my diploma?

A. Yes. However, minors are not listed on a diploma.

Q. Can I order additional diplomas after graduation?

A. Yes. Replacement diplomas can be ordered by completing a Replacement Diploma form from the Office of the Academic Dean – Faculty Secretary. There is a $30.00 fee for replacement diplomas.

Q. I did not attend the ceremony. When will I receive my diploma?

A. Graduates in Absentia will have their diplomas mailed to their permanent address the week after the ceremony. Please be sure that the college has your correct address.

Q. I am graduating in August. When will I receive my diploma since there is not a commencement ceremony in August?

A. Those who have their degrees conferred in August will have their diplomas processed after August 31st. Allow six to eight weeks to reciever your diploma; please be sure that the college has your correct address.

Institutional Assessment and Effectiveness

Q. Are there any other requirements a graduate must meet?

A. The Office of Institutional Assessment conducts exit testing of all graduates. This usually consists of a Major Exit Exam. This exam does not affect your academic status but all students are required to participate in assessment activities to determine how well the institution is achieving its mission of preparing students for careers and advance study and to assess the academic discipline for possible improvements in the content and/or delivery of courses in the major.


Q. How can I order official transcripts?

A. There are instructions for requesting official transcripts on the left-hand menu of the Registrar’s homepage. In order to prevent release to unauthorized parties and to adhere to Federal law, telephone and email requests are not accepted.

Q. When can I order a transcript that shows my graduation?

A. Degrees earned are posted to transcripts the week after commencement.