College of Community & Public Service Advising Center
Graduation vs. Commencement
There is often confusion that the two terms mean the same thing...they don't.
Graduation is the completion of all of your degree requirements... including internships, incomplete grades, or any of those "little" things that you are going to "finish up". You will not be able to earn your degree (or graduate) until all of those things are completed and you have satisfied all of the GVSU degree criteria.
Commencement is the ceremony that celebrates the completion (or near completion) of your degree. You may participate in the ceremony appropriate for the semester you will earn your degree. April and August degree candidates typically commence in April and December degree candidates commence in December.
Commencement Ceremony Information is released by the Dean of Students Office at www.gvsu.edu/commencement
Applying for Graduation
You must submit an Application for Undergraduate Diploma to the records office for your official degree audit to be completed. You should continue to monitor your myPath after making any changes or upon completion of a semester to ensure you are meeting all degree requirements. Seek assistance if you have questions!
When to Apply
Students who believe they are ready to graduate should apply for graduation upon REGISTERING for the final course requirements. This will allow the most time for a graduation audit to be processed and a student notified of any deficiencies. This could be as far as a year in advance. However, you should also be reviewing your own records to ensure that your requirements are met after registering for courses.
The application for degree MUST be submitted the semester prior to the semester the student intends to graduate. If you are applying for August graduation you should submit your application by February to be included in the April commencement ceremony.
Here's the breakdown of what to circle on the application:
Plan to Graduate in April and Commence in April - apply for Winter
Plan to Graduate in August and Commence in April - apply for Summer
Plan to Graduate in December and Commence in December - Apply for Fall
You may also wish to check in with the CCPS Undergraduate Advising Center to review your requirements and ensure you are on track to graduate.
Page last modified March 12, 2014