8 Steps to Commencement

Commencement at the Quarry, c/o 2004

Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

UCSC Quarry Amphitheater 

8 Steps to Oakes Commencement


Step 1: 
Know the difference between GRADUATION and COMMENCEMENT!
Step 2: 
Register online for Oakes Commencement
Step 3: 
Check Your “Public Information” Status

Step 4: 
Order Your Cap & Gown
Step 5: 
Submit Disability Accommodation Requests
Step 6: 
Pick Up 2 Commencement Parking Passes
Step 7: 
Mandatory Commencement Rehearsal
Step 8: 
Check-in at the Oakes Commencement Ceremony

Additional Ways to Get Involved

Step 1: Know the Difference Between GRADUATION and COMMENCEMENT

Your college commencement ceremony and graduation from UCSC are two separate things.

  • At UCSC, graduation is the act of conferring an academic degree – receiving your degree or diploma.
  • Commencement is a ceremony, where you walk across the stage, symbolizing the end of your undergraduate career.

Graduation and commencement have separate online processes and timelines.


Apply to graduate (degree completion and diploma) for the quarter in which you will be finishing your graduation requirements. DO NOT apply to graduate for Spring if you will be finishing your final graduation requirements in a subsequent quarter.

To apply to graduate, you must submit an application via your Student Portal by the posted deadlines to announce candidacy. There is more information about how to apply to graduate on the Registrar’s Office website.


This page includes all 8 steps for you to prepare to participate in the Oakes College Commencement Ceremony. Please keep reading to learn how to register, where to order your cap and gown, and all other related information. 

Step 2: 
Register Online for Oakes Commencement by: Friday, May 4th at 11:30 PM

Oakes Affiliates, register online here. If you register past the deadline, your name will not be printed in the program. For any questions contact the Oakes Programs Office at (831) 459-5602 or oakesprograms@ucsc.edu.


Step 3: 
Check Your “Public Information” Status

All students have a "Public Information" status (a.k.a. Directory Restriction, FERPA or NRI) with the Office of the Registrar. The status of your personal information is currently set as either "Releasable" or "Restricted." Some students set their status to "RESTRICTED" without being aware of the implications. It is imperative that you check your status and confirm it is set as you wish, in light of the following:

  • If your status is set to "RESTRICTED" Oakes is required by law to NOT print your name in the print program, regardless of your wishes.

  • If your status is set to "RELEASABLE" we can and will print your name in the program (provided you have registered via Step 2).

Check your status now at my.ucsc.edu. If you have a special circumstance and wish to retain the NRI status but also wish to have your name printed in the program, please contact the Oakes CPC, Mary Simms, (831) 459-5619 or oakesprograms@ucsc.edu, to review the necessary steps.


Step 4: 
Order Your Cap & Gown

Caps and gowns are strongly encouraged for the commencement ceremony. By ordering through the bookstore you will receive a keepsake cap and tassle in addition to the rented gown. Announcements, stoles, diploma frames and other custom items are also available at the Bay Tree Bookstore Online Graduation Center by purchase.

Immediately after the ceremony, rented gowns can be dropped off on-site.


Step 5: 
Submit Disability Accommodation Requests by Friday, May 4th

American Sign Language

If you or a guest will require sign language interpretation, please contact Mary Simms (oakesprograms@ucsc.edu, 831-459-5619) no later than Friday, May 4. Though we will make every effort, we cannot guarantee assistance if a request is made after May 4, due to the high demand for university-approved interpreters during the commencement season.

Disability Lot Parking Pass

Each student registered for the Oakes ceremony can pick up their two parking passes from the Student Life Office beginning Monday, June 11, 2018. Students may swap out one or both of these event parking permits for a disability lot parking permit (no special request or advance notice is needed).

The only benefit of a disability pass is that the lot is serviced by UCSC vans that have wheelchair-lift capabilities. Please obtain a disability pass only if your guest will benefit because they:

  • Use a wheelchair or electric scooter, or
  • Are physically unable to board the steps up into a campus shuttle, or
  • Will be driving themselves and are unable to walk from a parked car to the parking lot shuttle stop (those that are not driving themselves can be dropped at the internal shuttle stop and wait while the driver parks).

Guests with a regular commencement pass can shuttle from their designated parking area and will disembark in the same location as the vans from disability parking. The wait for a shuttle from the main parking area is significantly shorter than the wait at the disability lot (because there are far more shuttles than disability vans), which is why a disability lot permit should only be acquired in the above circumstances. 

Staff will be available with wheelchairs and electric carts at both the shuttle and van drop-off areas to provide further assistance to seating locations.

Wheelchair Seating

There is a limited amount of wheelchair accessible seating available in the Quarry Amphitheater. Please help us accommodate everyone's needs by:
1) noting in your registration form if you or your guest will need wheelchair accessible seat 
2) planning to have no more than 1-2 people accompany a guest in a wheelchair in the accessible seating area. 

For more information on parking and accessibile transportation options, please visit:

Commencement Parking and Transportation Information


Step 6: 
Pick up 2 Commencement Parking Passes, Monday, June 11th - Friday, June 15th

In order to receive your 2 parking passes for commencement, you must FIRST register online for the Oakes Commencement Ceremony by Friday, May 4th. After commencement registration closes, you will receive an email notifying you when parking passes are ready for pick up. You will need to come to the Oakes Housing/Student Life Office in person to pick up your passes during normal business hours. A photo ID is required.  If you do not live in Santa Cruz and cannot pick up your parking passes, we recommend you find a friend or classmate who can come and pick up your passes for you. Please notify the Oakes Programs Office at oakesprograms@ucsc.edu of your intentions so that we can verify we are giving the right passes to the right person. Parking passes will not be available for pickup on the day of commencement.


Step 7: 
Commencement Rehearsal, Thursday, June 14th at 11:00 a.m.

A brief (60 minute) Commencement Rehearsal will be held, meeting at the Quarry Amphitheater. We will do a “walk through” of the ceremony procedures and answer any last-minute questions. This is a crucial part of your commencement experience and ensures you know what to do on commencement day! DON'T MISS IT!


Step 8: 
Oakes Commencement Ceremony, Saturday, June 16th 

  • Grads arrive and check in at least one hour early
  • Quarry Amphitheater opens to guests at 9:00 a.m.
  • Graduates line-up at 10:00 a.m.
  • Graduate procession into the amphitheater begins at 10:20 a.m.
  • Ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 12 p.m. noon

A Few Tips to Enjoy the Day

  • If your guests will be using your 2 parking passes, it is recommended you take a bus or carpool with other grads. The grad drop-off area for Lyft/Uber rides is the Student Health Center Parking Lot.
  • Don't forget to bring your cap, gown, tassle, and sunscreen!
  • Arrive to check in at least one hour before the ceremony. 
  • When you check in you will pick up your Photo & Reader Card. These cards will be created using the information you provide online when you registered. The photo card is given to the photographer. The reader card is given to an Academic adviser and read while you cross the stage.
  • Please remember that there will be uneven & sloped ground leading to the ceremony site. Stiletto heels are not recommended. 
  • At the end of the ceremony, there will be a designated area in the Quarry to return your gown.


 Additional Ways to Get Involved

Join Senior Committee

Nominate a Student Speaker

Nominate an Oakes Graduate for the Oakes College Service/Community Service Award